The Real Reason Star Was Canceled

The hit Fox series Empire was a scripted music drama that grabbed people's attention as much as any reality show. Premiering in 2015, the show centered around a musically talented family that built an award-winning recording label on lies, deceit, murder, and scandalous romantic interests. Its star-studded cast, over-the-top plot lines, questionable acting, and intense cliffhangers had fans tuning in week after week for six seasons. Following its success, creator Lee Daniels went on to write and produce a spin-off of sorts called Star.

Debuting in 2016, Star focused on two sisters with a messy past (played by Jude Demorest and Brittany O'Grady) who meet a fellow singer and musical protege (Ryan Destiny) on Instagram and then travel to Atlanta to try to land their big break as part of an R&B girl group. Though the show attracted a growing audience, its abrupt cancellation in 2019 left fans with a serious cliffhanger. Here's the real reason Star suddenly disappeared.

The network wanted to prioritize Empire over Star

Star was essentially the little sister of the hit show Empire, so much of its success and fan following stemmed from its predecessor. Perhaps too much. 

According to Deadline, Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier wanted to make Empire the priority as it approached its sixth and final season in 2020. Collier said he wanted to give the show "the send-off it deserves," and that included shifting its time slot to 9 p.m. "Star was always the lead-out from Empire," he explained, but the network couldn't push Star to 10 p.m. At the end of the day, there was solid space for the spin-off.

The almighty dollar may have also played a role in the show's cancellation. Similar to Empire, whose cast included big names like Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard (pictured above), Star also featured a star-studded musical cast — including Queen Latifah, Lenny Kravitz, Gladys Knight, Tyrese Gibson, and more — which made producing the show expensive. Even though the series attracted high viewership, Deadline reported that its international sales were still challenging.

Star fans may get some closure in the future

Star premiered its final episode May 8, 2019, with the ultimate cliffhanger. At the wedding of main characters Alexandra Crane and Derek (played by Ryan Destiny and Diddy's son, Quincy Brown), there was a shootout initiated by a neighborhood gang. The dramatic episode left many questions hanging in the air and robbed audiences of any sense of closure. 

Creator Lee Daniels revealed on Instagram in July 2019 that the show will eventually have a proper conclusion with a 2-hour movie special, per The Wrap. "We're gonna make something real special for you to scream about with all of our cast members, even the dead ones," he said in the video. 

At the time of this writing, the status of that highly-anticipated movie remains up in the air, but we did check in with some members of the cast.

Where are the Star cast members now?

While fans wait for the movie special to put a period on this show's unfinished business, the stars of Star are keeping busy, even during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Jude Morest, who plays the show's main character and namesake Star Davis, is actively working on her music. She released a trendy quarantine-style music video for a single titled "Forget about God."

Fellow on-screen bandmate Ryan Destiny (who plays the privileged and angsty Alexandra Crane) is also working on her music and acting. Similar to her character, Destiny is also the child of a music star, and following the show's cancellation, she landed a recurring role in ABC's grown-Ish. She will also be playing Clarissa Shields, the first woman in history to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing, in the forthcoming biopic Flint Strong, according to Teen Vogue.

Brittany O'Grady, who plays Morest's younger sister in the show, took her talents to the big screen and was booked in the 2019 holiday horror movie Black Christmas. O'Grady plays a "happy-and-go-lucky" sorority girl who fights for her life against a masked serial killer. 

While the actresses are busy with their other endeavors, let's hope they'll all be available for the highly-anticipated Star movie special.