ABC chief Karey Burke talks her ‘anguish’ over canceling ‘Speechless’

Karey Burke is just as upset as you are over the cancellation of comedy “Speechless.”

Responding to a question from NPR’s Eric Deggans about the online “anguish” over the decision to cancel the show after three seasons, the ABC Entertainment chairman said there was “a lot of anguish for me, also, and all of us at ABC.” The comedy was part of seven shows that ABC decided not to bring back for next season.

“We loved ‘Speechless.’ And personally for me, it was a very tough decision — Scott Silveri is a former producing partner of mine,” Burke said on Tuesday during parent company Disney’s upfront press briefing. “It was not without great, great, gut-wrenching consideration that we ultimately made that call.”

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ABC show Speechless season 3
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ABC show Speechless season 3
SPEECHLESS - "U-N-R-- UNREALISTIC" - Maya braces for JJ's high school graduation and departure for college, but tough news from NYU changes everything. Dylan teaches Jimmy a "Dad lesson" as he gets ready for a big job interview. Kenneth pressures JJ to prepare for a grand finale to their time together, and Ray uses his class trip to Catalina to examine his bad luck in love on the season finale of "Speechless," airing FRIDAY, APRIL 12 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images) KYLA KENEDY, MICAH FOWLER, MARIN HINKLE
SPEECHLESS - "U-N-R-- UNREALISTIC" - Maya braces for JJ's high school graduation and departure for college, but tough news from NYU changes everything. Dylan teaches Jimmy a "Dad lesson" as he gets ready for a big job interview. Kenneth pressures JJ to prepare for a grand finale to their time together, and Ray uses his class trip to Catalina to examine his bad luck in love on the season finale of "Speechless," airing FRIDAY, APRIL 12 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images) MARIN HINKLE, JOHN ROSS BOWIE, MINNIE DRIVER, MASON COOK, MICAH FOWLER, KYLA KENEDY, CEDRIC YARBROUGH
SPEECHLESS - "P-R-O-M-P--PROMPOSAL" - Outraged that JJ's girlfriend, Izzy, declines his invitation to prom, Dylan and Ray swing for the fences with a bold plan to make her jealous. Jimmy, Kenneth and Melanie coach Maya through accepting criticism for the good of her company, and one of the DiMeos takes a big step into a new life, on an all-new episode of "Speechless," airing FRIDAY, MARCH 22 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EDT), as part of the new TGIF programming block on The ABC Television Network. (Rick Rowell via Getty Images) BELLA THORNE, MICAH FOWLER
SPEECHLESS - "U-N-R-- UNREALISTIC" - Maya braces for JJ's high school graduation and departure for college, but tough news from NYU changes everything. Dylan teaches Jimmy a "Dad lesson" as he gets ready for a big job interview. Kenneth pressures JJ to prepare for a grand finale to their time together, and Ray uses his class trip to Catalina to examine his bad luck in love on the season finale of "Speechless," airing FRIDAY, APRIL 12 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images) KAYLA MAISONET, MICAH FOWLER
SPEECHLESS - "U-N-R-- UNREALISTIC" - Maya braces for JJ's high school graduation and departure for college, but tough news from NYU changes everything. Dylan teaches Jimmy a "Dad lesson" as he gets ready for a big job interview. Kenneth pressures JJ to prepare for a grand finale to their time together, and Ray uses his class trip to Catalina to examine his bad luck in love on the season finale of "Speechless," airing FRIDAY, APRIL 12 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images) MICAH FOWLER
SPEECHLESS - "ON THE R-O-- ROAD A-G-- AGAIN" - The DiMeos set out for one last "JJ Adventure" before he heads to college, but things get bumpy when the family takes an ill-advised shortcut. Maya and Kenneth's relationship is tested when they disagree over who knows JJ's needs best. Meanwhile, Jimmy, JJ and Dylan find fun they shouldn't be having, and Ray tests his wilderness mettle, on an all-new episode of "Speechless," airing FRIDAY, MARCH 29 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EDT), as part of the new TGIF programming block on The ABC Television Network. (Rick Rowell/ABC via Getty Images) KYLA KENEDY, MICAH FOWLER, JOHN ROSS BOWIE
SPEECHLESS - "P-R-O-M-P--PROMPOSAL" - Outraged that JJ's girlfriend, Izzy, declines his invitation to prom, Dylan and Ray swing for the fences with a bold plan to make her jealous. Jimmy, Kenneth and Melanie coach Maya through accepting criticism for the good of her company, and one of the DiMeos takes a big step into a new life, on an all-new episode of "Speechless," airing FRIDAY, MARCH 22 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EDT), as part of the new TGIF programming block on The ABC Television Network. (Rick Rowell via Getty Images) MASON COOK, KYLA KENEDY
SPEECHLESS - "W-H-- WHEELCHAIR P-L-- PLANET" - The DiMeos come together to help JJ shoot a last-minute film for his college application, working against the clock and Maya's own best interests. Jimmy makes an embarrassing gaffe with JJ's beloved, and Kenneth and Ray scramble to suppress embarrassing secrets on an all-new episode of "Speechless," airing FRIDAY, MARCH 1 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EST), as part of the new TGIF programming block on The ABC Television Network. (Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images) MINNIE DRIVER, MARIN HINKLE
SPEECHLESS - "G-A-- GAME N-I-- NIGHT" - When Maya insists that it's time to meet Izzy, a reluctant JJ arranges a game night for his family and new girlfriend. Ray tries to help on the big night, but his attention to detail puts a major crimp in JJ's evening. Meanwhile, Dylan and Kenneth let their appetites get the better of them on an all-new episode of "Speechless," airing FRIDAY, FEB. 22 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EST), as part of the new TGIF programming block on The ABC Television Network. (Richard Carrwright/ABC via Getty Images) MINNIE DRIVER, CEDRIC YARBROUGH
SPEECHLESS - "J-I-- JIMMY V-A-L-- VALENTINE" - JJ's love-match with Izzy becomes a cage match with Kenneth. Maya and Jimmy dismiss Valentine's Day as a holiday for suckers until they find a way to profit from it. Unable to find a date to a prepaid romantic night out, Ray brings Dylan, on an all-new episode of "Speechless," airing FRIDAY, FEB. 15 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EST), as part of the new TGIF programming block on The ABC Television Network. (John Fleenor/ABC via Getty Images) JOHN ROSS BOWIE, MINNIE DRIVER
SPEECHLESS - "J-I--JINGLE T-H--THON" - A Christmas tree fire leads Maya to tell a small lie with big consequences. Meanwhile, Ray struggles to live in Pepper's shadow as Dylan twists the knife, and JJ encourages Kenneth to stand up to his sisters (guest stars Niecy Nash and Lisa Leslie), on the holiday episode of "Speechless," airing FRIDAY, DEC. 14 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EST), as part of the new TGIF programming block on The ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless via Getty Images) JOHN ROSS BOWIE, MINNIE DRIVER
SPEECHLESS - "S-T-- STAGE MOM" - Seeing the kids believe she exists to solely serve at their pleasure, Maya takes the stage to prove she has so much more to offer. Kenneth finds JJ a job, and JJ finds an unlikely rival. Ray goes undercover informing parents on his classmates' social lives and gets in too deep on "Speechless," FRIDAY, NOV. 9 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EST), as part of the new TGIF programming block on The ABC Television Network. (Richard Carwright/ABC via Getty Images) MINNIE DRIVER
SPEECHLESS - "I-N-- INTO THE W-O-- WOODS" - Maya's Halloween becomes truly terrifying when JJ attends a rave in the woods. Ray joins Dylan's Halloween heist determined to prove he's more than a do-gooder. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Kenneth turn the DiMeo home into the neighborhood's haunted house, on the all-new Halloween episode of "Speechless," FRIDAY, OCT. 19 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EDT), as part of the new TGIF programming block on The ABC Television Network. (Rick Rowell/ABC via Getty Images) CEDRIC YARBROUGH, MICAH FOWLER, KYLA KENEDY, JOHN ROSS BOWIE, MINNIE DRIVER, MASON COOK
SPEECHLESS - "L-O-N-- LONDON" (Part 1) - The DiMeos cross the pond so Maya can ask her estranged father, the challenging Martin, for a loan to save their house. Meanwhile, Jimmy puts on his "fun dad" hat to ensure JJ has a great trip, Ray digs deep to summon Californian vibes to endear himself to British girls, and Kenneth reveals a love for all things royal, on the season premiere of "Speechless," FRIDAY, OCT. 5 (8:30-9:00 p.m. EDT), as part of the new TGIF programming block on The ABC Television Network. (Angus Young/ABC via Getty Images) MINNIE DRIVER
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“We looked at a lot of factors, ultimately, primarily it came down to numbers and feeling like we could shore up the night more strongly with ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ at 8:30 leading into those 2020 [series].”

“Speechless” starred Minnie Driver as a wife and mother who is fiercely protective of her husband, Jimmy, and their three children, Ray, Dylan, and J.J. — who has a condition that leaves him with unique mobility and communication challenges.

ABC is adding six new series for next season — and only three in the fall — and also announced that Tiffany Haddish would host a revival of “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” which will air on Sundays.

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