When showrunners are deciding to pull the plug on a TV series, there are usually some telltale signs. It might start with scheduling changes, where new episodes are made to air at strange times, like a Sunday morning, or during the "graveyard" hours when the only people watching are folks who are tired of staring at infomercials.
But there are other "hints" that audiences often pick up on, which is why many fans of The Blacklist worried that their beloved NBC series was being canceled.
Is 'The Blacklist' getting canceled? No, but here's why people thought it would be.
First and foremost, we need to get the obvious out of the way: COVID-19 has hit a variety of businesses (that aren't Amazon and Zoom) especially hard, and this is very, very true of film and TV productions. The large number of people required to be in a single space while filming anything makes social distancing extremely difficult.
Then, there are a ton of new health and safety protocols that need to be implemented: COVID-19 tests for everyone involved with shooting, catering businesses also need to follow new guidelines, the number of people allowed in closed sets have to be policed, COVID-19 compliance officers need to be hired, etc.
This has invariably caused delays in filming everything, even the most long-running and profitable shows, including The Blacklist.
Plus, the series is primarily shot in NYC, which had a comparatively high number of COVID-19 outbreaks to deal with compared to the rest of the country, which is why regulations were more stringent when it came to filming.
Fans knew that the large-scale production was being delayed and feared that NBC may have temporarily, or indefinitely, pulled the plug on the show, as it's fairly expensive to produce.
Speaking from a personal perspective, I had a speaking part on the show (pre-COVID) and saw how big of a production the show was, so it made sense to me that Netflix dropped a whopping $2 million per episode for the NBC series.
But there's another reason fans thought The Blacklist was being canceled.
A slower turnaround time means fewer episodes make it to TV, but another telling sign that a show is going to get pulled is when long-time stars mysteriously vanish from episodes. It happened when Natascha McElhone left Designated Survivor and America Ferrera parted ways with Superstore, so the rumor mill started churning once Megan Boone was curiously missing from a recent episode.
But no, Megan Boone isn't leaving 'The Blacklist' and the series isn't canceled.
Hollywood Reporter recently confirmed that the series would be coming back for a ninth season, set to be released sometime between 2021 and 2022. That makes the show the third-longest-running series on the network after Law & Order: SVU and Chicago Fire. The Blacklist is not only crushing ratings for NBC, but the program is making a killing on Netflix too; it's consistently one of the streaming platform's most-watched series.
So fret not, Blacklist-ers, you'll still get to see James Spader and company in the popular crime thriller.