Scream Queens co-creator Brad Falchuk gets candid about why the show was canceled after just two seasons. The horror TV show premiered in 2015 and boasted an ensemble cast, including Emma Roberts, Glen Powell, Keke Palmer, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Billie Lourd. It followed the story of Kappa Kappa Tau, a sorority at Wallace Universe led by a bunch of mean girls who rule campus. However, their hold over Wallace is challenged when the members find themselves targeted by a serial killer.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Falchuk opened up about what happened to Scream Queens. Part of the problem was simply that people weren’t watching it. Meanwhile, Falchuk chalked up the lack of interest in the show to it being a bit ahead of its time, resulting in audiences potentially not understanding the satirical premise. Check out his statement below:
I truly think so. I mean, it wasn’t working. People weren’t watching it. But I’ve never had more fun. Fox might not have been the right place for it, and I think it was a little ahead of its time. It probably belonged on a streamer. We were hitting on narcissism – that’s what the show is about – and, a few years later, people would’ve recognized it a little bit more. It was hard because viewers were like, ‘Why are these people all so terrible?’ They were all terrible! That’s what we were trying to say.
The demise of Scream Queens is quite an intriguing mystery. After all, it seemed to have the workings of a successful TV series with a star-studded cast, a hilarious Mean Girls and Heathers-reminiscent plot, and reviews from critics that leaned positive. Even today, the series has maintained a cult following, and there are arguments that it was underrated and deserved better than its short-lived run.
Falchuk isn’t the only one who has expressed that Scream Queens was ahead of its time and might fare better now. Although Fox’s official reason for canceling the show was that co-creator Ryan Murphy wanted it to end, Murphy has since expressed interest in returning to the show. He even confirmed in 2020 that he was developing a third season, though the lack of updates since then has made viewers skeptical of whether a revival will ever happen. Similarly, lead star Emma Roberts also suggested in 2022 that now was the perfect time for the show to return.
The show did struggle because, as Falchuk pointed out, it was very misunderstood, as viewers didn’t understand that the characters were supposed to be terrible because many had very offensive qualities and attitudes. Nowadays, satirical dark comedies are becoming more popular, with shows like Succession, The Boys, and Barry becoming popular thanks to such depictions. As such, Murphy’s and Falchuk’s unique blend of edginess, campiness, and horror would be far less foreign today. The story and thoughts behind Scream Queens‘ cancelation and potential compatibility with today’s society raise an interesting discussion about the importance of timing in addition to quality.
A dark satirical comedy-horror series, Scream Queens follows a college sorority group at Wallace University where an unsolved murder case is resurrected following a string of new murders. When the school’s mascot, the Red Devil, begins murdering sorority members, the girls fight against the potential closure of their home while trying to stay alive.