Award-winning actress Tracee Ellis Ross sat down with Deadline columnist Pete Hammond during his video series The Acto’s Side and shared surprising details regarding her hit series Girlfriends.
The awe-inspiring sitcom, which premiered in 2000 on the UPN network, was about four Black women in their late 20s navigating through life while tackling real-life issues regarding love & relationships, careers, and maintaining friendships. Girlfriends undoubtedly became a staple in Black television, providing viewers with storylines they could relate to while choosing which girlfriend they identified with the most.
After eight seasons, the show surprisingly ended in 2008 with only 13 episodes left in the final season. However, according to Ellis, none of the cast or crew knew the series was canceled after directing the last episode.
“Our last episode that we shot was during the writers’ strike, and I actually directed it,” the 49-year-old said. “It was my first time directing; it was not fun because it was really bizarre. It was surreal. Um, but then we just kinda faded away.”
Ellis said the show was canceled without warning, depriving the cast and crew of having a wrap party or a “ceremonial end” to the show’s success.
The CW network decided to cancel the series during a writer’s strike, claiming it did not want to dish out money to re-air it for an official finale.
“We had 13 more episodes to do–we never did them. We didn’t have a wrap party. We didn’t know we were ending. The last moment wasn’t with all our writers and everybody. It was not sort of a ceremonial end,” she said. “We were just gone.”
The Hollywood actress also talked about ABC’s Black-ish, which ended on April 19 after eight seasons on the network, her singing debut in the 2020 musical film High Note, and Pattern, her hair care product line that is now available in the UK.
“We are at Ulta, Sephora, Target, moving into other retail platforms in the near future, and then globally moving to the UK, which is very exciting,” Ellis said.