Showtime's 'The First Lady' Will Not Be Coming Back For A Second Season

Showtime's 'The First Lady' Will Not Be Coming Back For A Second Season

After receiving scathing reviews from well-known publications and lukewarm reception from critics, the show is set to close its chapter with the stories of Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Never has a show gotten turned down as fast as The First Lady did on Showtime. Recently, the network informed Deadline that the anthology series will not be coming back for a second season, six weeks after the finale of the first season. After receiving lukewarm support from critics, the show wasn’t doing well enough to continue. 


In a statement, Showtime said, “We would like to applaud the artistry and commitment of our showrunner Cathy Schulman, director Susanne Bier, their fellow executive producers, our amazing cast—led by executive producer Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson—and our studio partner Lionsgate for their dedicated work in telling the unique stories of three remarkable leaders,” Entertainment Weekly reported.


The show followed the three First Ladies, Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, and Eleanor Roosevelt, with Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Gillian Anderson playing their roles respectively. IMDb’s description of the show reads, “In the East Wing of the White House, many of history's most impactful and world-changing decisions have been hidden from view, made by America's charismatic, complex and dynamic first ladies.” Aaron Cooley created and wrote the show. He was joined by Oscar Winner and Executive producer Schulman for Welle Entertainment, Oscar and Emmy Award-winning director Bier and other executive producers including Julius Tennon, Andrew Wang, Pavlina Hatoupis, Alyson Feltes, Jeff Gaspin, and Brad Kaplan


Previously, at the TCA panel, director Bier and EP Schulman said that they were exploring ideas for future seasons that could center on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Hillary Clinton, Melania Trump, Dolly Madison, Edith Wilson, Martha Washington, or Rosalynn Carter. At the time, Anderson said, "I think the hope is that there's going to be future seasons so they'll have the opportunity to have more First Ladies represented. So maybe not just four but maybe 104."


However, these ideas won’t be coming to fruition, especially after some scathing reviews left by Caroline Framke for Variety who said, “But not even they, nor showrunner Cathy Schulman (Crash) or director Susanne Bier (The Undoing), can make up for the fact that the series often feels like a dramatization of several Wikipedia pages all at once.” Kristen Baldwin for Entertainment Weekly mentioned, “This injustice [of being not good enough to keep going] is the entire foundation upon which The First Lady's reason for being is built—yet for some reason, the folks behind the project decided that none of these fascinating First Ladies could carry their own show.” 



The New Yorker’s Doreen St. Félix added, “Cooley’s cast has been sealed in an enclosure, given no freedom to roam beyond the barrier of impersonation. Style, too, has been banished. The First Lady refuses any hint of irony, satire, glamour, or scandal.” So, while the show is led by many acclaimed creators, it did not resonate with audiences or critics, a rare occurrence but here nonetheless. 


Season 1 of The First Lady is streaming on Showtime. 

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