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A Showtime series, “The First Lady,” was canceled after only one season due to poor reviews.
The show highlighted the lives of three former first ladies. The most recent first lady was Michelle Obama, played by Violet Davis.
First lady Eleanor Roosevelt was played by Gillian Anderson, and First Lady Betty Ford was played by Michelle Pfeiffer.
The show debuted on the network more than six weeks ago.
Viewers harshly criticized the show for its portrayal of characters and its formatting of the show.
Viola Davis on playing Michelle Obama in #TheFirstLady:
“There’s a lot of fear that I messed up my portrayal. I’m mostly terrified about what she will think. I don’t want to insult her & have her calling me. I gotta make the sister look good. I just hope that it lands with her.” pic.twitter.com/wVaZJx7lQL
— Film Updates (@FilmUpdates) April 17, 2022
A spokesperson told Variety, “Showtime can confirm that the anthology series ‘The First Lady’ will not be moving forward with another season.”
‘The First Lady’ Canceled at Showtime After One Season https://t.co/UjxtL6s7Ky
— Variety (@Variety) August 2, 2022
More on this story via Daily Wire:
“We would like to applaud the artistry and commitment of our showrunner Cathy Schulman, director Susanne Bier, their fellow executive producers, our amazing cast, led by executive producer Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson, and our studio partner Lionsgate for their dedicated work in telling the unique stories of three remarkable leaders.”
The show was about the story of three former first ladies — Eleanor Roosevelt, played by Gillian Anderson, Betty Ford, played by actress Michelle Pfeiffer, and Michelle Obama, played by Viola Davis.
The series told the first ladies’ stories with cuts between their different eras in the White House. Variety’s chief television critic Caroline Framke noted this format of squeezing their stories “together doesn’t just make for confusing television, but does them all a disservice in the process.”
Several wrote about how upsetting they found Obama’s character. “Really upset with Michelle Obama character played by Viola Davis I’ve never seen Michelle look so strange with the awful eyebrows and wiggly mounts?” one person wrote.
Another wrote that they had a problem with the “switching back and forth” in the timeline and wrote that “I would have preferred watching more of a single timeline. In fact, 3 separate series, starting with Eleanor, then Betty, and lastly Michelle would have been better. Viola Davis always pursing her lips was extremely distracting.”
“I really enjoy this series,” a third shared. “My favorites are Gillian Anderson and Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayals. Viola Davis’s portrayal annoys me because she purses her lips constantly along with odd facial expressions that I don’t ever recall Michelle Obama ever doing.”