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All American: Homecoming's Cancellation Is a Loss for More Than Just Fans

The CW's new "big-tent" strategy has not only come at the cost of teen dramas and superhero shows, but also important representation.
  • Martin Bobb-Semple and Geffri Maya in All American: Homecoming (Photo: Kevin Estrada/The CW)
    Martin Bobb-Semple and Geffri Maya in All American: Homecoming (Photo: Kevin Estrada/The CW)

    Another scripted series at The CW is no more — today the network announced that All American: Homecoming will not be renewed for a fourth season. A spin-off of All American (which was recently renewed for a seventh season), the sports drama centers on Simone Hicks (Geffri Maya), an aspiring pro tennis player who attends Bringston University, a historically Black college (HBCU) in Atlanta, Georgia. The show’s third, and now final, season is set to premiere July 8 on The CW.

    “I’m devastated to learn that All American: Homecoming will not be moving forward with more episodes and that this new season premiering in July will be our final one,” creator and executive producer Nkechi Okoro Carroll said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “We made this show for the culture and thank our loyal audience and fans for taking this ride with us. We made this show so that our community, our kids (and their dreams), could be seen and celebrated every week.”

    All American: Homecoming isn’t just one of the only teen shows left on The CW, but one of the last scripted shows period. As we’ve previously written about, the network has largely traded its brand of teen dramas and superhero shows in favor of chasing “big-tent” audiences. 

    Given The CW’s focus on cost-cutting, it’s unfortunately not too surprising that All American: Homecoming won’t get the chance to continue after Season 3. However, the cancellation isn’t just disappointing news for fans of the show or a bummer for teen drama enthusiasts — it also marks the loss of important representation. 

    While All American: Homecoming is a fun teen show about sports, love, and figuring out who you are, it also notably centers the experience of students at HBCUs. College-focused shows in general are few and far between, but shows that take place at historically Black institutions are even rarer, despite there being over 100 HBCUs in the U.S., attended by approximately 228,000 students. “I'm hoping that people feel seen,” Carroll said of the series in an interview with Teen Vogue in 2022. 

    The CW’s brand may have been built on seemingly silly teen dramas and superhero shows, but it was also much more than that. The original ethos of the network provided a space for shows like All American: Homecoming — that center underrepresented voices and experiences,  and speak to young people of color and LGBTQ+ viewers and make them feel genuinely seen — to shine. Supergirl introduced TV's first transgender superhero, and Batwoman centered a Black sapphic couple in Season 2. The 100 fumbled the bag with Lexa’s death, but her character and relationship with Clarke was still formative for so many young queer viewers. Even Riverdale, for all of its ridiculousness, had a diverse cast (including Vanessa Morgan) and a ton of LGBTQ+ representation.

    By focusing solely on “big-tent” audiences, The CW is leaving these important stories, from the HBCU experience on All American: Homecoming to pansexual lead character Josie on Legacies, behind. It’s not that well-written representation can’t also exist in procedurals and sitcoms — after all, Grey’s Anatomy gave us Callie and Arizona — but the notion that shows need to appeal to literally everyone can make it harder for marginalized voices to tell their stories. Everyone absolutely can and should watch All American: Homecoming, but the show also specifically speaks to the Black experience, and it should be able to do that without needing to be relatable to every single viewer

    As networks focus on being profitable above all, it feels like authentic representation is becoming more of an afterthought. It’s nice if a show has something “for everyone,” but marginalized people also deserve to have stories that speak to them specifically. A queer character merely existing on a family sitcom just isn’t the same as a teen drama that centers their coming-out journey. 

    All American: Homecoming will be back for its third season next month, but it’s disappointing that the series didn’t get the chance to carry on until its natural conclusion — in the past, CW shows ran for seasons and seasons and were rarely prematurely canceled. While that may have resulted in some ridiculous plotlines, it also gave shows the chance to take risks and make space to tell stories that mattered. The CW may have changed direction, but the legacy of shows like All American: Homecoming will remain.

    Kelly Martinez is a TV Reporter based in Los Angeles. Her previous work can be found at BuzzFeed and People Magazine, among other outlets. She enjoys reading, spending time with her cat, and explaining the plot of Riverdale to people.

    TOPICS: All American: Homecoming, The CW, All American, Geffri Maya, Martin Bobb-Semple, Nkechi Okoro Carroll, Berlanti Productions