Why was Magnum PI canceled by CBS after four seasons?

Magnum PIWhy was Magnum PI canceled today by CBS? No doubt, the end of this show was the biggest surprise in a particularly surprising day.

On paper, it was easy to assume that the Jay Hernandez series would be coming back. This is a show based on a beloved property with reasonably solid numbers — and that’s without even getting into its international reach. The cast and crew seemed optimistic that they would get another season, and then the news came out today like a sudden record-scratch.

So what happened? Why was a show so many were hopeful about suddenly sent off to the guillotine? It’d be easy to write about its demise in dramatic terms, but the real reason is rather boring: Money.

As reported by Deadline, the end of Magnum PI was brought about after difficult negotiations between CBS and its lead studio Universal Television. This same studio is behind the FBI franchise and The Equalizer, and yet those shows were all brought back? Why not Magnum? Once again, money. The Equalizer generates stronger ratings by and large, whereas the FBI franchise basically occupies a full night of TV and generates a lot of viewership.

Let’s try to put a long-winded explanation into easy terms here. In order to get a show like Magnum PI on the air, CBS pays a license fee to Universal. However, with broadcast ratings dropping across the board, it is becoming harder and harder for networks to pay said license fees. Often, they prefer to just air programs they own directly. CBS did not want to spend what Universal wanted for the show; you can blame it on the network, or on the studio for asking for too much. It all depends on what narrative you want to follow.

The end result here is still the same: Magnum PI is done largely because parties could not sign on the dotted line.

Is there hope for a pickup elsewhere?

In theory, it’s possible Universal could try to shop the show elsewhere … but is there a good fit anywhere else? NBC’s schedule is already pretty packed other than a whole potentially on Tuesdays. We suppose that Fox could look at it, but then they’d have to pick the license fee. Peacock would be intriguing since they’re already tied to Universal Television, but they’ve been more invested these days on developing their own stuff.

We’ll let you know if anything changes, but before you even get into any of that you have to hear that a studio is looking to shop a show around — we haven’t heard that as of now.

Are you still stunned by the Magnum PI cancellation?

Let us know right now in the comments, and remember to stay put for other news as we hear more. (Photo: CBS.)

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!