COVID-19 has taken ‘Glow’ from Netflix a little earlier than anticipated.
The decision came more than a year after the show was renewed by the streaming network for a fourth and final season, which had already begun production.
“We’ve made the difficult decision not to do a fourth season of GLOW due to COVID, which makes shooting this physically intimate show with its large ensemble cast especially challenging,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “We are so grateful to creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, Jenji Kohan and all the writers, cast and crew for sharing this story about the incredible women of GLOW with us and the world.”
Co-creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch also addressed the show’s cancellation, saying in a joint statement: “COVID has killed actual humans. It’s a national tragedy and should be our focus. COVID also apparently took down our show. Netflix has decided not to finish filming the final season of GLOW. We were handed the creative freedom to make a complicated comedy about women and tell their stories. And wrestle. And now that’s gone. There’s a lot of s—– things happening in the world that are much bigger than this right now. But it still sucks that we don’t get to see these 15 women in a frame together again. We’ll miss our cast of weirdo clowns and our heroic crew. It was the best job. Register to vote. And please vote.”
GLOW tells the story of Ruth (Brie), an out-of-work actress who gets her last chance at stardom through female professional wrestling in 1980s Los Angeles. It follows the trials and tribulations of a diverse group of women who throw themselves into the ring — and into the spotlight.
In September 2019, Netflix announced that the show would be ending with season 4.
“All good things must come to a GLOWing end,” read the announcement from the show’s official Twitter account. “We’re coming back for a fourth and final season!”
Along with the announcement, Netflix released a video montage looking back at some of the most memorable moments from the show.
“Seeing these women struggle to use their bodies and learn something new — and we did,” Ruth said in the clip. “It saved me.”
“I feel like a goddamn superhero,” added Giplin’s Debbie.
GLOW had just begun production on season 4 when COVID-19 shut down Hollywood in March. The large ensemble cast of 20 people and the physicality of wrestling made it too risky to resume shooting.
Although season 4 was originally expected to be released in 2020, the earliest it could have returned would have been 2022 — nearly three years after season 3. Given the uncertainty of the global health crisis combined with the challenges of resuming production on the series, Netflix didn’t want to hold the cast members and crew indefinitely and prevent them from securing other jobs.
The show was an instant hit among fans and critics, earning 18 Emmy nominations and scoring three wins from the Television Academy.
In July, Brie, 37, opened up to PEOPLE about GLOW, predicting that it would be one of the last TV series to go back to work.
“We’re a really physical show,” Brie said. “When we shut down, I was in a wrestling ring and was in mid-sweat on another person as we were gearing up to shoot a match. We definitely taste each other’s sweat fairly often.”
The actress said they filmed the first two episodes of the fourth and final season before they were forced to stop. “I don’t think we want to compromise creatively, given that it’s our final season. So I don’t think we’re going to be one of the first shows going back,” she said.
GLOW isn’t the only Netflix show canned thanks to COVID-19. In August, the streaming giant canceled The Society and I Am Not Okay With This, despite second seasons for both being greenlit prior to the pandemic.
If it were that big of a hit, we’re sure Netflix (and those counting on that check) would’ve been just fine waiting for production to resume.