Good Trouble Boss Talks Surprising Cancellation, Supersized Series Finale and If Hulu Could Rescue the Show

The writing was not on the Coterie wall for Good Trouble showrunner Joanna Johnson with regards to the Freeform drama’s cancellation in early December 2023.

“After the writers’ strike ended, we were making schedules to get up and running, and I got a call from the network… saying, ‘Just a head’s up, a lot of things are changing in the business right now, and so, we kind of don’t know if we’re, for sure, going to get to pick the show up,'” Johnson tells TVLine. “We were all very surprised because we had left Season 5 99.9% sure we were coming back for Season 6.”

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But the combined writers and actors’ strikes, coupled with budget tightening at Disney, ultimately led to the end of a franchise that first began with The Fosters on ABC Family in 2013.

“The strikes were long and bruising,” Johnson explains. “And all the networks and studios are scrambling because they’re losing money. They have to make cuts in different places. And Freeform was not part of the Spectrum cable deal, and so, they lost a lot of their viewers. So just a lot of things kind of happened.”

To that end, Johnson doesn’t see Good Trouble’s end as a typical cancellation or an indictment on the spinoff itself.

“I don’t feel like the show was cancelled,” she says. “I feel like things changed, and the landscape changed, and they just couldn’t afford to do the show.”

Johnson singles out the support she received from network execs like Simran Sethi, EVP of Programming and Content Strategy for ABC Entertainment and Freeform, who “fought so hard for us, trying to get us that Season 6. She’s been phenomenal, and so has [President of Disney Television Group] Craig Erwich.”

“They all tried. But I really understand it comes down to business decisions, and those are hard,” Johnson continues.

Johnson notes that execs even approached Hulu, the streaming home of Good Trouble, “to see if they would be willing to finance the show. I just think everybody’s cutting their budgets, and it’s just really tough,” she adds.

The higher-ups did, however, come through when Johnson reached out about giving the long-running drama a proper conclusion. As a result, this Tuesday’s series finale will be a supersized 90-minute episode, airing at a special time of 9:30/8:30c.

“We had a little bit of savings left from Season 5, and I said, ‘Could we please use that money and try to shoot some new scenes so that it felt like a real series finale?’ and [Simran] went to bat for us,” Johnson shares, “and we were able to do that, and I really appreciate that from Disney and [network] and her and Craig, because they didn’t have to do that. That doesn’t happen very often. Once the show is already shot and in the can, they don’t usually let you open up the finale and shoot more scenes. So I was super grateful for that.”

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