All Rise Doesn’t Deserve To Be Canceled By OWN

Deadline is reporting that All rise is about to be cut short again. The cast of the OWN drama has been told their options for Season 4 will not be picked up — meaning they’re free to pursue other projects. While that’s not an automatic end (the studio would just have to negotiate new contracts), it’s a very bad sign that Warner Bros. has. Television is making them available. And it’s very disappointing for a series and a fan base that has already beaten the odds once.

When All rise Was canceled by CBS after two seasons, OWN scooped up the drama and sorted out new contracts that brought back the entire original cast. It was the kind of saving most TV shows can only dream of. Yet after only half a season on its new home, the series is on the chopping block again — and there are so many reasons why it deserves better.

RELATED: All Rise’s ‘Truth Hurts’ Is the Season 3 Episode Fans Were Waiting For

All Rise Deserves More Attention Than It’s Ever Gotten

All rise has never been a ratings hit — its success has come from word of mouth. As such, it hasn’t gotten a huge amount of promotion on either of its networks. Season 3 in particular could benefit from more advertising. The series moved from a broadcast channel that every TV viewer could find to a cable network that some fans didn’t have. Many didn’t know new episodes were also available on Hulu. On top of that, OWN is primarily known for its unscripted shows, so even among its existing audience, All rise had to find its place. Ten episodes is a start but not enough time to make that transition, especially when OWN viewers were jumping into the middle of the show. It further hurts that the second batch of episodes isn’t expected to air until Fall 2023, which would be an entire year since Season 3A ended. Building an audience on a new network with a year-long break is a challenge even Lola Carmichael would be nervous about.

And people should be talking about this series a lot more than they are. It has the best ensemble on American television. Lindsay Mendez’s work in Merrily We Roll Along will likely win her a second Tony Award. Ruthie Ann Miles can steal a scene in one line. J. Alex Brinson gives solid performances even as his character Luke Watkins changes jobs (and therefore roles in the story) seemingly every handful of episodes. Lindsey Gort and Jessica Camacho lend their defense attorneys so much personality when Amy Quinn and Emily Lopez would just be one-dimensional antagonists on other shows. And Simone Missick is a true leading lady with an incredible screen presence. These actors clearly give it their all every time out, and every single one of them can take an important story and tell it with grace. Once people watch the show, they get how wonderful this group is — but people have to find them.

RELATED: All Rise Has Made Wilson Bethel’s Mark Callan An Aspirational Hero

All Rise Season 3 Still Has Room to Grow and Improve

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It’s fair to say that All rise Season 3 has also changed creatively from Seasons 1 and 2. It’s playing to a different audience on OWN, which has meant more focus on characters’ personal lives and more dramatic storylines overall. The Season 3A finale “Fire & Rain,” which literally destroyed Courtroom 302, might have been a series finale on CBS. The major subplot was Lola’s attraction to her ex Andre — a story that fans either loved or hated, and which took up considerable space including All rise‘s first dream episode. Plus, the season recast Lola’s husband Robin Taylor and adapted to Marg Helgenberger splitting her time between All rise and CSI: Vegas. That’s a lot of moving parts, but all things that can be ironed out in the remaining episodes.

And when the series works to its strengths, it’s as incredible as it’s ever been. The Nicole Feste-written and Wilson Bethel-directed “Truth Hurts” was an amazing installment that got viewers talking about real-life issues. Season 3A added Hawaii Five-0‘s Ian Anthony Dale as a new foil who pushed the District Attorney’s Office plots further, and Bethel’s Mark Callan had a great arc in which he had to face up to his potential. There’s seasons of potential development just in Mark becoming Head Deputy DA and how he matures into the next part of his life. Lola is one of TV’s best female characters and only needs to put Andre behind her. If Luke sticks with a career path, the sky’s the limit for him. And those are just a few directions in which the show can still walk.

The All rise Writers are capable of crafting plots that are more reflective of today’s world than any other show. They’ve just been trying new things for a new chapter in the show’s history. Season 3’s first ten episodes made clear what works and what doesn’t, and the answer isn’t to cancel All rise again. It’s to let the series finish the stories it’s set up and fix the ones that haven’t landed — because with all the changes, it still hasn’t fully tapped into the potential OWN saw in it. And when it does, it’s going to blow the doors off.

All Rise Season 3 returns to OWN in Fall 2023. Season 3A is currently streaming on Hulu.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo

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