Once Upon a Time is about to reach its happily ever after: The long-running ABC fairy tale drama will end its run after seven seasons, EW has learned.
Created by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, the series debuted in 2011 with an ambitious premise: OUAT would transplant the fairy tale characters viewers had come to know and love to the real world thanks to a Dark Curse, cast by the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla), that could only be broken by the daughter (Jennifer Morrison) of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas).
After six seasons, most of the original cast departed, including Morrison, Goodwin, and Dallas. The series then shifted to follow an adult Henry Mills (Andrew J. West, in the role originated by Jared Gilmore) trapped in the cursed Seattle neighborhood of Hyperion Heights alongside originals Regina and Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), as well as season 2 addition Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue).
In its freshman season, OUAT was the No. 1 new drama in the coveted 18-49 demographic, averaging 11.8 million total viewers and a 4.1 in the demo. Once‘s popularity even led to the short-lived spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland during its third season. The show, which consistently ranked among the top 20 TV shows on broadcast in the demo during each of its first four seasons, dropped in subsequent years, down to an average of 4.5 million and a 1.5 in the demo in season 6. The combination of a major cast overhaul and its move to Fridays led to a ratings average of 3.8 million and a 1.1, season to date, in season 7.
At TCA, ABC boss Channing Dungey had said she was “cautiously optimistic” that both Once Upon a Time and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would return next season, but final decisions had not yet been made. Here’s Dungey’s statement on the end of OUAT: “When we first heard Adam and Eddy’s pitch for Once Upon a Time, we knew it was something incredibly special. For seven years, they have captivated us with their creativity and passion while reimagining some of our most beloved Disney fairytales, creating an undeniable global hit. Saying goodbye will be bittersweet, but Once Upon a Time will forever be part of the ABC legacy and we can’t wait for fans to join us in this epic final chapter.”
Added Patrick Moran, president of ABC Studios: “Once Upon a Time has been an amazing journey for all of us at ABC Studios and for fans around the world. We’re so proud and appreciative of the hard work and creative talent that Eddy Kitsis, Adam Horowitz and their cast and crew brought to this show for seven magical seasons.”
After seven years, 156 episodes, and countless twists on beloved characters, OUAT will officially say farewell in a series finale slated for May. Here’s an official statement from Kitsis and Horowitz: “Seven years ago, we set out to create a show about hope, where even in the darkest of times, a happy ending would always be possible. But we never imagined the happy ending that was actually in store for all of us – years and years of adventure, romance, magic and hope. We’re so grateful to our brilliant collaborators – the cast, crew, and writers – as well as our partners at the studio and network for making this journey possible. But most of all, we want to thank the fans. Their fierce loyalty and devotion was the real magic behind Once Upon a Time. We hope they join us for these last few hours as we journey to the Enchanted Forest for one more adventure.”