It’s time to wish upon a star for a happy ending. The Once Upon a Time TV show will end after seven seasons on ABC. Last month, during TCA winter press tour, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said she was “cautiously optimistic” about a season eight renewal. While no one is outright saying Once Upon a Time is cancelled, it is ending, and the network seems to have made the decision, not creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis.
An ABC fairy tale drama, the seventh season of Once Upon a Time stars original cast members Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle, and Colin O’Donoghue, alongside newcomers Andrew J. West, Gabrielle Anwar, Dania Ramirez, Alison Fernandez, and Mekia Cox. It is a reboot of the story fans watched during the series’ first six installments, which also featured Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan, with Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas as her parents Snow White/Mary Margaret and Prince Charming/David. Emilie de Ravin, Rebecca Mader, and Jared Gilmore also starred.
Once Upon a Time: A Look at the Ratings
The seventh season of Once Upon a Time is averaging a 0.54 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 2.49 million viewers. Compared to season six, that’s down by 42% and 21%, respectively. After spending six seasons on Sunday nights, ABC moved Once to Fridays this year, which accounts for some of the drop. For some fans, though, the story ended last year, with the exits of Emma, Snow, and Charming.
Out of the 18 scripted ABC TV shows we’ve been tracking during the 2017-18 television season, Once ranks 17th in terms of its demo numbers and only rises one spot to 16th place, in terms of total audience size. When this season ends it will have a nice, fat syndication package, so the cancellation (or decision to end the series) makes sense.
ABC and the Creators Address the Decision to End Once Upon a Time
EW published statements from ABC execs on the end of Once Upon a Time. Check it out.
Here’s Dungey’s statement on the end of OUAT: “When we first heard Adam and Eddy’s pitch for Once Upon a Time, we knew it was something incredibly special. For seven years, they have captivated us with their creativity and passion while reimagining some of our most beloved Disney fairytales, creating an undeniable global hit. Saying goodbye will be bittersweet, but Once Upon a Time will forever be part of the ABC legacy and we can’t wait for fans to join us in this epic final chapter.”
Added Patrick Moran, president of ABC Studios: “Once Upon a Time has been an amazing journey for all of us at ABC Studios and for fans around the world. We’re so proud and appreciative of the hard work and creative talent that Eddy Kitsis, Adam Horowitz and their cast and crew brought to this show for seven magical seasons.”
The news outlet also published an official statement from Kitsis and Horowitz:
Seven years ago, we set out to create a show about hope, where even in the darkest of times, a happy ending would always be possible. But we never imagined the happy ending that was actually in store for all of us – years and years of adventure, romance, magic and hope. We’re so grateful to our brilliant collaborators – the cast, crew, and writers – as well as our partners at the studio and network for making this journey possible. But most of all, we want to thank the fans. Their fierce loyalty and devotion was the real magic behind Once Upon a Time. We hope they join us for these last few hours as we journey to the Enchanted Forrest for one more adventure.
EW then talked to the duo about the end of their long-running fantasy drama. Here’s more:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What came with the decision to end the show? Was that ABC’s decision or yours?
EDWARD KITSIS: Listen, we love this show, we were happy to continue going on, but collectively they felt that, after seven years and 156 episodes, it was time. For us, we’re like, “It’s a hell of a run.” We never thought we’d get to seven episodes, let alone seven years.
ADAM HOROWITZ: It wasn’t like it was a shocking phone call. We’ve had conversations for a while about what this year would be, and whether it would go on or not, and if this could be the end, so we’ve been prepared for this for a while. The network has been incredible partners with us the whole way, as has the studio. Ultimately, it’s also a business, so it becomes about, “Is it financially viable to keep going forward?” so there’s all that kind of stuff, stuff that we generally don’t deal with because we’re just focused mostly on the creative. We reached that point where it’s like, “Okay, now it’s time to wrap it up. This has been an amazing 156 episode-run, and let’s all be proud of what we’ve done and try to wrap it up.”
KITSIS: It’s time to declare victory and go home.
What was your first reaction when you found out OUAT was going to be wrapping up this year?
KITSIS: We felt grateful for the opportunity. Obviously, we felt sad that, after seven years of living in this universe, [it’s over]. It has been so creatively rewarding, but at the same time, we have got everything out of Once that we ever dreamt of and we really can’t complain, and we really can’t feel sad. We just feel really grateful for what we accomplished — 156 episodes, seven years is a good run.
HOROWITZ: It’s funny because it wasn’t like it was a shock. When we spoke on the phone with them about it, it was like more like, “Okay, it’s time. This feels right. This feels like we’ve had a great run, let’s try to end the show in a way that will leave the fans with a good feeling about what Once was that will stay with them past the end of the show.”
Has ABC given you enough notice to be able to properly wrap things up?
KITSIS: Yes, I would say that we did not go into this season assuming there would be a season 8, so we had two paths for the finale — one where it was closed-ended, one where it was open-ended. We had been building toward it the whole year anyways, so instead of a cliffhanger, it will just be a closed-ended story that wraps it up. But we’re prepared and ready, so we weren’t shocked by it.
HOROWITZ: Yeah, these are conversations, again, that we’ve had for many months with the network about the possibility of this, so we’ve been preparing and always known this was a real possibility.
Horowitz and Kitsis also said to expect some old familiar faces in the Once Upon a Time TV series finale, but didn’t name names. Finally, while they’re ready to move on, they remain open to a spin-off, reboot, or revival sometime in the future.
What do you think? Did you expect Once Upon a Time to be cancelled or renewed for season eight? Now that this ABC TV series is ending with season seven, does it feel like the right time to you? Sound off, in the comments.