'A Black Lady Sketch Show' Ending After Four Seasons

The Emmy-winning HBO series' fourth and final season debuted in April and concluded in May.

After four seasons, A Black Lady Sketch Show is coming to an end.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of the HBO series' cancellation on Thursday, two months after the fourth season concluded its six-episode run.

Creator, showrunner, writer and star Robin Thede issued a statement about the move, which is being characterized as a mutual decision to end on a creative high note.

"Thank you to all the immensely talented cast members, guest stars, writers, directors, editors and crew members who have made A Black Lady Sketch Show an Emmy-winning success," Thede wrote. "I especially want to recognize the Black women and other women of color who excelled in every department at ABLSS. I am also eternally grateful for the support of Issa Rae and Jax Media, Amy Gravitt, Casey Bloys and the entire team at HBO, Max and Warner Bros. Discovery."

HBO said the following: "Robin Thede is a visionary comedic talent, and for four exceptional seasons of A Black Lady Sketch Show we've been thrilled to partner with her on this groundbreaking, hilarious series. Robin, alongside HOORAE, Jax Media and the incredible cast and crew, leave an indelible legacy not only in sketch, but in television comedy, and we look forward to continued creative collaboration under her deal with us."

The show's official Instagram page addressed the news by posting a video compilation of the latest season's top scenes. "Thank you for everything #ABLSS fam 💖," the caption reads.

Thede also took to her Instagram page to pen a message to the show's fans. 

"Although #ABLSS has come to an end, this show and its impact will outlive us all. Thank you to all the immensely talented cast members, guest stars, writers, directors, editors and crew members who have made this show an Emmy-winning success story. I am so grateful to everyone, and especially want to recognize the Black women and other women of color who excelled in every department at ABLSS. The joy of seeing their success, knowing it has forever changed the perceptions of what we can do, will never diminish," she wrote.

She continued: "For fans of the show, please know that your support and love for ABLSS has always been so blippity appreciated. Thank you for sharing the videos, posting the memes, and yelling the catchphrases at us when you saw us in the streets! Please continue to support these amazing comedians as they go on to more greatness in their careers outside of the Black Lady Courtroom (clap, clap)!"

"I am eternally grateful for the support of Issa Rae and Jax Media, who believed in this series sight unseen. Finally, I have immense gratitude for my partnership with Amy Gravitt, Casey Bloys and the entire team at HBO, Max, and WarnerDiscovery and look forward to creating more magic together," her caption concluded.

The HBO series, which debuted in August 2019, is widely seen as the first of its kind -- a sketch comedy series written, produced by, and starring Black women. Its singularity in the world of comedy is matched by the show's undeniable gift of meshing universal and culturally specific humor. 

The series concluded its third season on May 2022 and was renewed the next month. It's received 13 Primetime Emmy nominations -- becoming the first Black women-led sketch show to receive a nomination for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series -- and three Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series.

Thede, Gabrielle Dennis and Skye Townsend returned for season 4 of the Emmy-winning series, which featured a plethora of surprises, including new sketches, three new featured players -- DaMya Gurley, Tamara Jade, and Angel Laketa Moore -- and nearly 30 celebrity guest stars, including Omarion, Bobby Brown, Tracee Ellis Ross, Colman Domingo, Kyla Pratt, Sam Richardson, Yvette Nicole Brown, Tank, Jay Ellis and Kel Mitchell. 

Thede previously told ET ahead of last season's premiere that the new installment is more extensive than previous installments because of how many more people and better circumstances production had to play with. "We knew we had six cast members to play with this year, which is more than we've ever had. So we got to create more and more characters this season and we're coming out of Covid so we could do more," she said. "There are so many people in so many of the sketches and so much going on and so many guest stars. We just want to keep topping ourselves every year!"

Of the three new cast members, Thede shared that she originally intended on hiring one person for the new season but had to take all three actors. "I've been a huge fan of Angel Laketa Moore forever, so I'm really, really excited. She does some crazy characters that the world is just going to eat up," she said, admitting that she watched Tamara Jade during her time on The Voice as a member of John Legend's team. 

"And then she came in to audition for us, did all these characters and I was like, 'What can't you do?'" Thede recalled. "And then DaMya, my little Baby D! She turned 24 on the day of her final audition and had just come out of conservatory school before she blew up on TikTok. So she's a real trained actor, who has this hard-comic sensibility and was already editing and shooting all her own videos. So, we just get so lucky. I was only gonna cast one other person, but I was like, 'I need all three.'"

The showrunner shared that she could have easily cast "12 more" actors because of the sheer amount of talented women that came in to audition to join season 4. "There were so many, so many great Black women that came -- I literally wrote tearful letters to the ones who didn't get it," she added. "I was like, 'It could have been you. It really could have, it's not your fault.' It's heartbreaking for me to tell Black women 'no' on this show because it's literally named for them, you know? So it's hard for me to turn our sisters away, but we'll get 'em in there eventually."

Thede shared that she purposely includes Black writers with various backgrounds to keep the series fresh and their perspectives diverse. "I like to hire Black women writers who have all sorts of different experiences. Some went to Ivy League schools, some grew up in a hood, some did both, and of all ages as well," she explained. "And I think that's really critical because it's so important to show the breadth of what we can be, right? If I was writing every single sketch, it would just be The Robin Thede Sketch Show, and nobody wants that."

ABLSS was the first television series to have a writers' room entirely composed of Black women. The production had grown to include all women of color in the seasons following its freshman entry. Season 2 earned Daysha Broadway, Stephanie Filo, and Jessica Hernández the Emmy Award for Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming, making them the first all-women of color ensemble to receive the award in Emmy history.

"Everyone that I've put around me is smarter than me, is better than me," Thede insisted, adding that the only credit she deserves is one for having good taste. "I wanted Hollywood to know that finding talented women of color is not hard. I'm literally just picking and choosing out of an endless selection of talented women of color. My production design team is like Asian women and Latinx women. My editors are all women of color, mostly Black. My writers are all Black women. My cast is all Black women. Every producer who works on the ground, day-to-day, on my show, is a woman of color."

Under her three-year overall deal, Thede is developing a new half-hour comedy series at HBO titled Disengagement.