Why is Magnum PI canceled again? (Why did NBC end the reboot?)

MAGNUM P.I. -- "Charlie Foxtrot" Episode 510 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum, Perdita Weeks as Juliet Higgins -- (Photo by: Zack Dougan/NBC)
MAGNUM P.I. -- "Charlie Foxtrot" Episode 510 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum, Perdita Weeks as Juliet Higgins -- (Photo by: Zack Dougan/NBC) /

It’s the end of Magnum PI…..again.

In a surprise move, NBC has announced that the reboot of the Tom Selleck series will be coming to an end with the second half of Season 5. This makes Magnum PI the rare show to be canceled twice within a year, bringing its run to an unexpected end. But why is this happening?

Premiering in 2018 on CBS, Magnum PI was a reboot of the 1980s TV show that made Tom Selleck a star. Jay Hernandez took on the role of Thomas Magnum, a former Navy SEAL turned private eye in Hawaii. Perdita Weeks played Juliet Higgins, a former spy who was now the manager of the estate of Robin Masters, where Magnum lived and worked out of.

The show was a good success on CBS for four seasons, so it was quite surprising that it was canceled at the end of the 2022 season. Luckily, NBC stepped in to renew the show, with Season 5 premiering earlier in 2023. The plan was for it to take a break and come back for the last ten episodes of the season later this year.

Now, however, NBC has confirmed that Season 5 Part 2 will be the last episodes of the series. So why has the network canceled the show so soon?

The reasons why Magnum PI was canceled again

According to Deadline, a key reason is the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. The strike has already messed with network schedules as it appears unlikely to end soon and might even mean no fall network schedules.

Logically, that should have meant NBC could have the second half of Magnum PI ready to air for some content in the fall. However, the networks have been conservative about season pickups as it’s unsure when shows can actually go into production. Thus, even if Magnum PI got a sixth season, it may not be able to start any production until early 2024 at the earliest.

Another factor is the cast options are set to expire on Friday, June 30. That’s also the day that an agreement has to be reached between the SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP in order to avoid an actors strike. If the actors join the writers on the picket line, then all production in Hollywood stops. It also means that NBC would be stuck extending the options of the actors for an unforeseeable length of time.

With those factors abounding, NBC decided the simplest move (not to mention the less expensive for them) was to cancel the series and let the actors go rather than extend their options. Perhaps without the WGA strike, Magnum might have lived to another season.

Instead, sadly, Magnum PI fans must once more get used to the news the show has come to an end, and this time, unlikely another network steps in to save it again. Thus, it’s once more time for “Aloha” to mean goodbye for the show.

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Magnum PI Season 5 Part 1 streaming on Peacock.