Orange is the New Black: The real reason Netflix is canceling it

Orange Is the New Black fans were shocked when Netflix announced in October 2018 that its hit original series would end after its seventh season. The show premiered in July 2013 and became a small screen staple that paved the way for the culture of TV binge-watching. For years, the program also helped secure its streaming service's spot as a force with which to be reckoned, but alas, all good things must come to an end. "After seven seasons, it's time to be released from prison. I will miss all the bada** ladies of Litchfield and the incredible crew we've worked with," show creator Jenji Kohan said in a statement (via Deadline). "My heart is orange but fade to black."

Why did Netflix cancel its beloved OITNB? There are a few reasons the media giant may have felt it was time to end its relationship with the ladies of Litchfield. Let's take a closer look.

It had to end sometime

Nothing can last forever, and that's something the faces behind this series have known from the start. In Orange Is the New Black's cancellation announcement, Vice President of Original Content for Netflix Cindy Holland remarked on production's journey with the show and its many characters. "Every moment spent with them felt like borrowed time," she said (via Deadline).

Series creator Jenji Kohan had hinted at this moment a 2017 interview with The New York Times. "I haven't made a final decision yet, but I'm leaning toward ending it after seven," she said at the time, "although the nature of the show is one that can go on and on because you can bring in new people." Kohan revealed that she'd already formed an idea about how the beloved series would end, but she remained tight-lipped about its finale. "I will not share it."

Its stars are getting big

When Orange Is the New Black debuted on Netflix in 2013, a large number of its stars were relatively unknown at the time, but as the show took off, so too did the careers of is cast members. Take actress Diane Guerrero, for instance. Since starring as prisoner Maritza Ramos, Guerrero has made big strides in her professional life. She acted as the main character's BFF in Jane the Virgin, played love interest Sofia in Superior Donuts, and was cast as Crazy Jane in Doom Patrol. And let's not forget the memoir she wrote or her activism. Actress Samira Wiley's career opportunities have also expanded. After playing the much loved Poussey Washington on OITNB, she snagged a role in Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, playing Moira. That part scored her an Emmy for outstanding guest actress in a drama series in 2018.

Clearly, being given a role on OITNB was a precursor for great things to come, but that might not have been so great for production. As its once-unknown actors became starlets off the small screen, they may have become increasingly busy or distracted eyeing other opportunities.

Netflix is tightening the purse strings

Considering Orange Is the New Black is set in prison, producers have an easy way for actors to enter and exit the show, but there's more to making — and sustaining — a series than just good casting. According to Wired, Netflix has been cracking down on its shows and trimming away series that either cost too much to produce or just don't live up to the hype anymore because "now that other streaming services are competing with Netflix for Emmys and Golden Globes, Netflix's margin of error is even smaller."

OITNB isn't the only Netflix series that's been canceled. Marvel's Iron Fist and Luke Cage also got the ax in October 2018. It appears Netflix is getting picky about how it spends its money, and while we're not so sure we're ready to say goodbye to OITNB, there may be another good reason for its cancellation…

Make way for new TV

In order to make room for new television shows, older series have to end. It's sad but true, and this could have been a contributing factor in Netflix's decision to terminate Orange Is the New Black. The brains behind the streaming service are certainly thinking of its future programs, considering its already signed contracts with a couple in-demand TV showrunners.

According to Forbes, Shonda Rhimes of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder fame, secured a four-year, $150 million deal with Netflix in 2017, and she has plans for at least eight shows with the video on demand service. Similarly, Ryan Murphy, the man behind TV hits such as Glee, American Horror Story, and Feud, also locked down a deal with Netflix. Deadline reported that he signed a five-year contract that could earn him up to $300 million. With OITNB's cancellation, Netflix's top dogs can now focus on producing new content with big-name talent.

The timing was right

While fans of Orange Is the New Black may not want the series to ever end, its cancellation could not have come at a better time for the show. Warning: Spoilers ahead.

As noted by Vulture, the sixth season of OITNB ended with its main character, Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling), getting released from prison early. The show's final season could presumably follow her as she readjusts to life on the outside and prepares for her incarcerated fiancée Alex Vause, whom she "prison married" before rejoining society, to be released after serving her own sentence. And while there's no doubt more to learn about all of the series' characters, showrunners could very well be able to effectively wrap up their individual stories, as one inevitable event of the series has finally played out. What we need to see, however, is what follows.

Still, there are a few things that OITNB writers need to address in the seventh and final season…

What will Season 7 bring?

Moving past fans' interest in Piper Chapman's future with Alex Vause (played by Lauren Prepon), Orange Is the New Black's final season will also have to shed light on what becomes of Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson, portrayed by Danielle Brooks. Taystee was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murder — a crime she did not commit (via The Daily Express). Then there's Blanca Flores (played by Laura Gómez), who believed she was being released from prison to return to her life with her boyfriend, but instead was transferred to an immigration detention center. Will she be deported? Will she ever be able to grow her family with her beloved Diablo?

We'll all just have to wait and see what happens when Orange Is the New Black's seventh season premieres on Netflix in 2019.