HBO cancels 'A Black Lady Sketch Show' after four seasons
The fourth season of the Emmy-winning comedy series “A Black Lady Sketch Show” will be its last, Variety has learned exclusively.
In a statement confirming the decision to end the show, HBO praised series creator and star Robin Thede as a “visionary comedic talent” and saluted the show’s historic achievements.
“For four exceptional seasons of ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ we’ve been thrilled to partner with her on this groundbreaking, hilarious series,” representatives for the network said of Thede. “Robin, alongside Hoorae, Jax Media, and the incredible cast and crew, leave an indelible legacy not only in sketch, but in television comedy, and we look forward to continued creative collaboration under her deal with us.”
Created by Thede, who also served as showrunner, executive producer and writer, “A Black Lady Sketch Show” framed the world in a Black woman’s point of view with sketches that subverted traditional expectations and riffed on relatable themes — like hair woes, ashy skin and the politics of the Black church. Even when the subject matter had nothing to do with Blackness, the show’s very existence was impactful.
For the series’ fourth season, which debuted in April, Thede starred alongside core cast members Gabrielle Dennis and Skye Townsend, joined by featured players DaMya Gurley, Tamara Jade and Angel Laketa Moore. Veterans of the show include “Abbott Elementary’s” Emmy-winning creator and star Quinta Brunson, “Ted Lasso” Emmy winner Ashley Nicole Black and “iCarly” reboot star Laci Mosley.
“Thank you to all the immensely talented cast members, guest stars, writers, directors, editors and crew members who have made ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ an Emmy-winning success,” Thede said in a statement to Variety. “I especially want to recognize the Black women and other women of color who excelled in every department at ‘ABLSS.’ I am also eternally grateful for the support of Issa Rae and Jax Media, Amy Gravitt, Casey Bloys and the entire team at HBO, Max and Warner Bros. Discovery.”
The series was executive produced by Thede under her For Better or Words, Inc. banner, as well as Rae for Hoorae; Dave Becky and Jonathan Berry for 3 Arts Entertainment; and Tony Hernandez and Brooke Posch for Jax Media.
The critically acclaimed series wraps at a creative high-point with its first three seasons earning 13 Emmy nominations, among them three historic wins for editing and directing. The series won back-to-back trophies for outstanding picture editing for variety programming, with Daysha Broadway, Stephanie Filo and Jessica Hernández as the first team of women of color to earn the prize, and in 2022, Bridget Stokes became the first Black woman to win for directing a variety series. “A Black Lady Sketch Show” has also been lauded with the TCA award for outstanding achievement in sketch/variety shows in 2020, as well as five Black Reel Awards, a HCA award and two NAACP Image Award nominations.
For this year’s Emmys, HBO submitted “A Black Lady Sketch Show” for consideration in 30 categories, including the newly-created outstanding scripted variety series (formerly called variety sketch series, where it was nominated for its first three seasons) and sought overdue nominations for its three main actors (with Thede submitted for lead comedy actress and Dennis and Townsend in the supporting comedy actress category).