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CBS Cancels ‘Doubt,’ the First Primetime Network Drama with a Transgender Series Regular, After Just Two Weeks

The drama, starring Katherine Heigl, Dulé Hill, Elliott Gould, and Laverne Cox, was a quick ratings disappointment.



It took two years and two tries for “Doubt” to make the CBS lineup – but now the show has been canceled after just two weeks.

The Eye network has pulled the plug on the show effective immediately; next week, CBS will air a repeat of “Bull” in the show’s Wednesday 10 p.m. (ET) time slot. The second season of “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” will then slide into the spot permanently on Wednesday, March 8, following a two-hour “Survivor” premiere.

READ MORE: ‘Doubt’ Producers on Their Show’s Transgender Breakthrough – IndieWire’s TURN IT ON Podcast

“Doubt” made headlines for its casting of Laverne Cox in a key role, making her the first transgender series regular on a primetime broadcast drama. Series creators Tony Phelan and Joan Rater are the parents of a transgender son, who inspired them to create the character.

The show starred Katherine Heigl as a successful defense lawyer who falls for her client (Steven Pasquale), much to the chagrin of her boss (Elliott Gould) and fellow law partner (Dulé Hill). Dreama Walker, Kobi Libii and Cox also starred.

Katherine Heigl and Laverne Cox, “Doubt”


It’s a bit of a surprise that CBS would yank “Doubt” off this week, given the high profile of the significance of Cox’s character. Just days ago, Donald Trump dropped protections for transgender students that allowed them to use the restroom of the gender that they identify with. Cox was among the high-profile stars speaking out against the move.

But “Doubt” quickly struggled in the ratings: The show debuted to mixed reviews and 5.3 million viewers. The show’s second episode, which aired this week, dipped to 4 million.

READ MORE: CBS’ Glenn Geller on Diversity: ‘We Need to Do Better, and We Know It’

Among adults 18-49, this week’s episode averaged just a 0.6 rating – dropping more than 50% from its “Criminal Minds” lead-in. The show wound up in third place, behind NBC’s “Chicago P.D.” and ABC’s “Match Game.”

The quick ax of “Doubt” is the exception to the broadcast rule this season, as the networks have shown unusual patience in keeping shows on the air, even ones with so-so ratings. That’s left a crowded bench of midseason shows waiting to still premiere, like “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders,” which may be why CBS opted in this case to pull the trigger.

The show is produced by CBS TV Studios; it’s unclear whether the network will move the remaining “Doubt” episodes to its CBS All Access streaming service or CBS.com.

This was the second go-around for “Doubt,” which was developed during the previous TV season with KaDee Strickland and Teddy Sears in the lead roles.

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