Say goodbye to Tom Swift… at least, at the CW.
Nancy Drew spinoff Tom Swift has been cancelled, according to Deadline. This news comes out with the show only having aired six episodes to date. But, unfortunately, it’s not quite surprising, as the series has been lowly rated since it’s premiere.
Starring Tian Richards as the titular character, Tom Swift followed a rich, gay inventor as he traveled to uncover the disappearance of his father and several sci-fi-themed mysteries. The show’s predominantly Black cast included Ashleigh Murray, April Parker Jones, Marquise Vilson, Christopher B. Duncan, and LeVar Burton.
The CW said that despite liking the show conceptually and creatively, the series’ poor performance led to its cancellation. The show is among the CW’s least watched series with only 535K viewers in Live+7, as well as streaming. But any fans of the series may still have room to hope. While Tom Swift has been cancelled at the CW, CBS Studios, which produced the series, is trying to extend the options of the cast and shop the show around to other channels or platforms.
This cancellation news comes as the CW’s majority control is about to be bought by Nexstar Media Group. And, in fact, Tom Swift isn’t the only show to get cancelled in the past few weeks. In fact, 60% of the channel’s programming has recently been cancelled. This includes Batwoman, Legends of Tomorrow, Dynasty, Charmed, Naomi, Legacies, and more. Deadline also reports speculation that Nexstar’s plan is to create a more “wholesome” lineup of programs.
The news of Tom Swift’s demise is especially hard for Tian Richards, who put so much work and energy into the role. The actor recently talked to EW and shared how he dealt with the pressure of the role.
“I did feel a lot of pressure in that I had to be this thing, this example, this role model, knowing what he meant and what it could be,” he explained. “When I was a kid, if I saw someone that was chocolate like I am, that looked cool, doing these things, it makes you feel, ‘I could be desirable, I could be sexual, and I can also be sturdy and powerful,’ because I didn’t see that. The first time I saw a Black queer man that looked like me was Michael K. Williams in The Wire.“
Richards then adds, “Queer people and Black queer people, we don’t get to see our story portrayed that way — it’s usually by way of trauma or grief or oppression. But to see that just be the identity that you hold in the world and then your problems are something totally separate, I love how all of that comes about. Because even though Tom is of the one percent of the elite culture, he still has human issues. He’s having fun, he’s got the cars and the clothes and the cool tech inventions, but we’re rooted in this heartfelt place. Tom is central, taken seriously, and still fabulous, insecure, broken, messy, and chaotic.”
Tian Richards also shared that playing Tom Swift has helped him to start tackling deeply embedded issues such as toxic masculinity and its impact on his queer Black manhood. He shared that he’s been inspired to “get back into therapy to tackle these issues head-on and really move forward so I can live a more free and full life. It’s definitely given me that, and the confidence to feel like I can be at the center of something and lead.”