ABC boss explains why 'Castle' and 'Nashville' were canceled

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'Nashville' Cast 'Blindsided' By Cancellation

Why did ABC opt to cancel bubble dramas Castle and Nashville?

After publicly firing Castle's Stana Katic and signing new contracts for five other stars, including lead Nathan Fillion, the show's dismissal was seen as the season's most perplexing move. With Nashville, producers Lionsgate Television had already signed respected writers Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (My So-Called Life, thirtysomething) as new showrunners for season five. So what was behind those two major decisions?

"At the end of the day, we didn't feel that even though Castle and Nashville were wonderful shows and good performers for a long time, the future for us didn't lie in those shows," new ABC Entertainment Group president Channing Dungey told reporters during an early conference call ahead of her presentation to Madison Avenue ad buyers Tuesday. She stressed that ABC Studios (Castle) and Lionsgate TV (Nashville) were looking for the best creative and financial ways for both series to work, while the network was examining what was the best fit for everything on its schedule. "Looking at ratings, our own finances and looking at new development, decisions came down to the wire, which is the difficult thing about these jobs as we weigh and measure different things."

See photos from ABC's "Nashville" below:

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ABC's Nashville
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ABC boss explains why 'Castle' and 'Nashville' were canceled
NASHVILLE - 'Baby Come Home' - Rayna and Deacon try everything they can think of to reunite with Maddie and avoid court, even involving Teddy (Eric Close) from jail. Juliette tries to rekindle her relationship with Avery, and her success on tour stokes Layla's jealousy, personally and professionally. Luke Wheeler leverages his own appearance on 'Good Morning America' with Robin Roberts to try to jump start Will Lexington's career, on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) CHARLES ESTEN, CONNIE BRITTON
NASHVILLE - 'Maybe You'll Appreciate Me Someday' - On the season finale, Rayna resorts to drastic measures when she learns that Maddie has crossed paths with a duplicitous figure from her past. Juliette must choose how to publicly reckon with the truth of Jeff Fordham's death-a decision that directly affects Layla. Scarlett and Gunnar consider parting ways as bandmates, and Will finally decides to do what he should have done long ago-step up as the leader of a cause and a community-on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 25 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) CHARLES ESTEN
NASHVILLE - 'Maybe You'll Appreciate Me Someday' - On the season finale, Rayna resorts to drastic measures when she learns that Maddie has crossed paths with a duplicitous figure from her past. Juliette must choose how to publicly reckon with the truth of Jeff Fordham's death-a decision that directly affects Layla. Scarlett and Gunnar consider parting ways as bandmates, and Will finally decides to do what he should have done long ago-step up as the leader of a cause and a community-on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 25 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) CONNIE BRITTON
NASHVILLE - 'Maybe You'll Appreciate Me Someday' - On the season finale, Rayna resorts to drastic measures when she learns that Maddie has crossed paths with a duplicitous figure from her past. Juliette must choose how to publicly reckon with the truth of Jeff Fordham's death-a decision that directly affects Layla. Scarlett and Gunnar consider parting ways as bandmates, and Will finally decides to do what he should have done long ago-step up as the leader of a cause and a community-on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 25 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) CLARE BOWEN, SAM PALLADIO
NASHVILLE - 'It's Sure Gonna Hurt' - After nearly two decades, Rayna and Deacon face the facts of their storied and often tempestuous relationship. Scarlett makes a startling self-discovery in between tour dates while Gunnar performs with one of his idols, rock-music legend Sir Elton John, who guest stars as himself. Luke stops by 'The View' to trumpet a worthy cause-before a family emergency pulls his focus. Elsewhere, Juliette struggles to make a connection, and Layla launches her album at The Bluebird. Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Raven Symon������ and Paula Faris guest star as themselves on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) HAYDEN PANETTIERE
NASHVILLE - 'It's Sure Gonna Hurt' - After nearly two decades, Rayna and Deacon face the facts of their storied and often tempestuous relationship. Scarlett makes a startling self-discovery in between tour dates while Gunnar performs with one of his idols, rock-music legend Sir Elton John, who guest stars as himself. Luke stops by 'The View' to trumpet a worthy cause-before a family emergency pulls his focus. Elsewhere, Juliette struggles to make a connection, and Layla launches her album at The Bluebird. Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Raven Symon������ and Paula Faris guest star as themselves on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) AUBREY PEEPLES
NASHVILLE - 'It's Sure Gonna Hurt' - After nearly two decades, Rayna and Deacon face the facts of their storied and often tempestuous relationship. Scarlett makes a startling self-discovery in between tour dates while Gunnar performs with one of his idols, rock-music legend Sir Elton John, who guest stars as himself. Luke stops by 'The View' to trumpet a worthy cause-before a family emergency pulls his focus. Elsewhere, Juliette struggles to make a connection, and Layla launches her album at The Bluebird. Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Raven Symon������ and Paula Faris guest star as themselves on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) SIR ELTON JOHN, ALICIA WITT, SAM PALLADIO
NASHVILLE - 'It's Sure Gonna Hurt' - After nearly two decades, Rayna and Deacon face the facts of their storied and often tempestuous relationship. Scarlett makes a startling self-discovery in between tour dates while Gunnar performs with one of his idols, rock-music legend Sir Elton John, who guest stars as himself. Luke stops by 'The View' to trumpet a worthy cause-before a family emergency pulls his focus. Elsewhere, Juliette struggles to make a connection, and Layla launches her album at The Bluebird. Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Raven Symon������ and Paula Faris guest star as themselves on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) JONATHAN JACKSON
NASHVILLE - 'It's Sure Gonna Hurt' - After nearly two decades, Rayna and Deacon face the facts of their storied and often tempestuous relationship. Scarlett makes a startling self-discovery in between tour dates while Gunnar performs with one of his idols, rock-music legend Sir Elton John, who guest stars as himself. Luke stops by 'The View' to trumpet a worthy cause-before a family emergency pulls his focus. Elsewhere, Juliette struggles to make a connection, and Layla launches her album at The Bluebird. Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Raven Symon������ and Paula Faris guest star as themselves on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) JONATHAN JACKSON
NASHVILLE - 'It's Sure Gonna Hurt' - After nearly two decades, Rayna and Deacon face the facts of their storied and often tempestuous relationship. Scarlett makes a startling self-discovery in between tour dates while Gunnar performs with one of his idols, rock-music legend Sir Elton John, who guest stars as himself. Luke stops by 'The View' to trumpet a worthy cause-before a family emergency pulls his focus. Elsewhere, Juliette struggles to make a connection, and Layla launches her album at The Bluebird. Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Raven Symon������ and Paula Faris guest star as themselves on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) ALICIA WITT, SAM PALLADIO
NASHVILLE - 'It's Sure Gonna Hurt' - After nearly two decades, Rayna and Deacon face the facts of their storied and often tempestuous relationship. Scarlett makes a startling self-discovery in between tour dates while Gunnar performs with one of his idols, rock-music legend Sir Elton John, who guest stars as himself. Luke stops by 'The View' to trumpet a worthy cause-before a family emergency pulls his focus. Elsewhere, Juliette struggles to make a connection, and Layla launches her album at The Bluebird. Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Raven Symon������ and Paula Faris guest star as themselves on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) SAM PALLADIO
NASHVILLE - 'It's Sure Gonna Hurt' - After nearly two decades, Rayna and Deacon face the facts of their storied and often tempestuous relationship. Scarlett makes a startling self-discovery in between tour dates while Gunnar performs with one of his idols, rock-music legend Sir Elton John, who guest stars as himself. Luke stops by 'The View' to trumpet a worthy cause-before a family emergency pulls his focus. Elsewhere, Juliette struggles to make a connection, and Layla launches her album at The Bluebird. Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Raven Symon������ and Paula Faris guest star as themselves on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) SAM PALLADIO, ALICIA WITT
NASHVILLE - 'It's Sure Gonna Hurt' - After nearly two decades, Rayna and Deacon face the facts of their storied and often tempestuous relationship. Scarlett makes a startling self-discovery in between tour dates while Gunnar performs with one of his idols, rock-music legend Sir Elton John, who guest stars as himself. Luke stops by 'The View' to trumpet a worthy cause-before a family emergency pulls his focus. Elsewhere, Juliette struggles to make a connection, and Layla launches her album at The Bluebird. Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Raven Symon������ and Paula Faris guest star as themselves on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) SAM PALLADIO, ALICIA WITT
NASHVILLE - 'It's Sure Gonna Hurt' - After nearly two decades, Rayna and Deacon face the facts of their storied and often tempestuous relationship. Scarlett makes a startling self-discovery in between tour dates while Gunnar performs with one of his idols, rock-music legend Sir Elton John, who guest stars as himself. Luke stops by 'The View' to trumpet a worthy cause-before a family emergency pulls his focus. Elsewhere, Juliette struggles to make a connection, and Layla launches her album at The Bluebird. Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Raven Symon������ and Paula Faris guest star as themselves on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) CLARE BOWEN
NASHVILLE - 'The Trouble with the Truth' - Rayna and Deacon fight to regain the trust of a determined Maddie as she seeks independence, but their efforts are undermined by someone they thought was an ally. Scarlett and Gunnar disagree on the history of their musical partnership during a press interview. Luke tries to do the right thing for an artist he admires, but it ends up backfiring. Country music star Kelsea Ballerini performs 'Peter Pan' in a guest appearance as herself, on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 4 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) LENNON STELLA
NASHVILLE - 'The Trouble with the Truth' - Rayna and Deacon fight to regain the trust of a determined Maddie as she seeks independence, but their efforts are undermined by someone they thought was an ally. Scarlett and Gunnar disagree on the history of their musical partnership during a press interview. Luke tries to do the right thing for an artist he admires, but it ends up backfiring. Country music star Kelsea Ballerini performs 'Peter Pan' in a guest appearance as herself, on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 4 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) MARK COLLIE
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE - 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' airs every weeknight at 11:35 p.m. EST and features a diverse lineup of guests that include celebrities, athletes, musical acts, comedians and human interest subjects, along with comedy bits and a house band. The guests for Wednesday, March 9 included Louis C.K., Connie Britton ('Nashville') and musical guest The Wild Feathers. (Photo by Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) THE WILD FEATHERS
NASHVILLE - 'The Trouble with the Truth' - Rayna and Deacon fight to regain the trust of a determined Maddie as she seeks independence, but their efforts are undermined by someone they thought was an ally. Scarlett and Gunnar disagree on the history of their musical partnership during a press interview. Luke tries to do the right thing for an artist he admires, but it ends up backfiring. Country music star Kelsea Ballerini performs 'Peter Pan' in a guest appearance as herself, on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, MAY 4 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) PAUL SCHACKMAN, CONNIE BRITTON
NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 15: Sam Pallidio (ABC's Nashville) performs during 'Nashville for Africa' a Benefit for the African Childrens Choir at the Ryman Auditorium on February 15, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 15: Connie Britton and Charles Esten (ABC's Nashville) performs during 'Nashville for Africa' a Benefit for the African Childrens Choir at the Ryman Auditorium on February 15, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 15: Charles Esten and Jonathan Jackson (ABC's Nashville) backstage during 'Nashville for Africa' a benefit for the Africian Childrens Choir at Ryman Auditorium on February 15, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE - 'Baby Come Home' - Rayna and Deacon try everything they can think of to reunite with Maddie and avoid court, even involving Teddy (Eric Close) from jail. Juliette tries to rekindle her relationship with Avery, and her success on tour stokes Layla's jealousy, personally and professionally. Luke Wheeler leverages his own appearance on 'Good Morning America' with Robin Roberts to try to jump start Will Lexington's career, on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) CONNIE BRITTON, T BONE BURNETT
NASHVILLE - 'Didn't Expect It to Go Down This Way ' - Thomas Rhett guest stars as himself, performing his #1 hit, 'Die a Happy Man,' in this all-new episode. Rayna and Deacon are distraught when Maddie runs away from home, and Juliette is threatened by Avery's connection to Layla. Luke is forced to find a new artist when Riff disappears, and Autumn drives a wedge between Gunnar and Scarlett, on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network.' (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) HAYDEN PANETTIERE, CONNIE BRITTON
NASHVILLE - 'Didn't Expect It to Go Down This Way ' - Thomas Rhett guest stars as himself, performing his #1 hit, 'Die a Happy Man,' in this all-new episode. Rayna and Deacon are distraught when Maddie runs away from home, and Juliette is threatened by Avery's connection to Layla. Luke is forced to find a new artist when Riff disappears, and Autumn drives a wedge between Gunnar and Scarlett, on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network.' (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) AUBREY PEEPLES
NASHVILLE - 'Didn't Expect It to Go Down This Way ' - Thomas Rhett guest stars as himself, performing his #1 hit, 'Die a Happy Man,' in this all-new episode. Rayna and Deacon are distraught when Maddie runs away from home, and Juliette is threatened by Avery's connection to Layla. Luke is forced to find a new artist when Riff disappears, and Autumn drives a wedge between Gunnar and Scarlett, on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network.' (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) WILL CHASE
NASHVILLE - 'Didn't Expect It to Go Down This Way ' - Thomas Rhett guest stars as himself, performing his #1 hit, 'Die a Happy Man,' in this all-new episode. Rayna and Deacon are distraught when Maddie runs away from home, and Juliette is threatened by Avery's connection to Layla. Luke is forced to find a new artist when Riff disappears, and Autumn drives a wedge between Gunnar and Scarlett, on 'Nashville,' WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network.' (Photo by Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images) AUBREY PEEPLES, JONATHAN JACKSON
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Sources tell THR that Castle season eight showrunners Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter filmed two versions of what wound up being the May 16 series finale -; one for if the ABC Studios-produced drama was renewed in which Katic's Beckett would have likely been killed off, and the other in which the fan-favorite couple lived happily ever after. Many industry observers had noted talks were under way for a 13-episode final season after cutting costs (the likely reason behind Katic's dismissal).

Read More'Castle': Who Died in the Series Finale?

In its eighth season, Castle had been a sturdy performer for ABC on Mondays. With seven days of DVR, the drama has averaged a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49 and 10 million total viewers. Monday's series ender scored a season high. A final season would have allowed the network as well as returning showrunners Winter and Hawley -; who boarded in season eight -; to properly close out what had been a profitable series for the studio. For their part, the showrunners said in a statement Monday night that they were "still trying to process all the emotions stirred up by recent events" and called Beckett and Rick Castle a "love story for the ages." (Unlike The Good Wife creators, Winter and Hawley canceled a round of press calls for Tuesday following news of Castle's cancellation.)

Read MoreInside Stana Katic's Shocking 'Castle' Exit

Sources told THR in April, following Katic's dismissal -- which caught most of the cast and crew by surprise -- that ABC considered writing out Beckett at the end of season seven but balked when the network faced backlash after Patrick Dempsey's Derek Shepherd was shockingly killed off and written out of Grey's Anatomy with a year remaining on his contract. Insiders note that Katic and Fillion did not get along and clashed repeatedly with the duo having limited scenes together.

Read MoreCritic's Notebook: 'Castle' Series Finale Strikes a Sour Note

For Nashville's part, the drama was one of the few not included in ABC's 15-show renewal spree in March, and also one of the network's only dramas from an outside studio. However, the decision to cancel the Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere starrer was still surprising. The series enjoyed a sizable DVR boost, up to a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49, and enjoyed ancillary profits from soundtracks and concert tours.

See More: Canceled TV Shows from the 2016-17 Season

ABC instead will launch Hayley Atwell drama Conviction in Castle's home on Mondays at 10 p.m., while Kiefer Sutherland's Designated Survivor will take over Nashville's slot on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

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