‘Half & Half’: Why Did the Black Sitcom End on a Cliffhanger?

Half & Half aired on UPN (now referred to as The CW) from 2002 to 2006. The series followed the lives of two half-sisters named Mona (Rachel True) and DeeDee (Essence Atkins). Despite their estranged relationship from childhood, both women try to form a close friendship in their 20s. Although the show was the second most-watched series on UPN, next to Girlfriends, the show was brought to an abrupt end and left many viewers with a major cliffhanger. So, what contributed to the show’s cancellation?

‘Half & Half’ finds a new home on Netflix

In July 2020, Netflix announced they acquired the rights to seven classic Black sitcoms. Alongside Half & Half, the streaming platform obtained the rights to Moesha, Sister, Sister, Girlfriends, The Parkers, and One on One, as reported by Forbes

Netflix’s Strong Black Lead made the official announcement on their Twitter account. The promotional video featured cast members from the seven shows, including Atkins and True (Half & Half), Shar Jackson and Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha), Tracee Ellis Ross and Jill Marie Jones (Girlfriends), Tamera Mowry-Housley and Jackée Harry (Sister, Sister), Brittany Daniel and Pooch Hall (The Game), Flex Alexander and Robert Ri’chard (One on One), and Jenna Van Oy and Coby Bell (The Parkers).

“We are beyond humbled and honored at how much the fans continue to ride hard for these shows years later and how they made a huge impact on the culture,” the actors said in the two-minute video. “These shows changed the face of television as we know it. And it helps for Black creators both in front and behind the camera, and has provided us with being able to be in the homes of people worldwide.”

The news was praised by fans on social media, with many waiting until midnight for the show to become available on Netflix. 

The sitcom ended on a cliffhanger, leaving fans with questions

Rachel True and Essence Atkins standing side by side for a photo shoot for 'Half & Half'
Rachel True and Essence Atkins | CBS via Getty Images

In the season 4 finale, two of Mona’s exes re-enters her life, Chase and Lorenzo. Both men ask her to choose between them, leaving her with a big decision to make. The whole episode centers around Mona trying to make the right choice. Finally, she settles on who she will pick. Toward the end of the episode, Mona decides to call the man she chose. While on the phone, Mona says: “I finally know where my heart is. You’re the one I want to be with.”

But, viewers never got a chance to see who she chose. The series was canceled after the fourth season and wasn’t renewed for a fifth. So why did the show end with such an abrupt ending? Well, the sitcom was on The WB’s first draft lineup in March 2006, but the show ended production due to The CW’s contractual obligation to resume shows like Reba, All of Us, and The Game. Ultimately, Half & Half was never picked up for another season and left many fans with that unsatisfying cliffhanger.   

The Black sitcom ended too soon

Valarie Pettiford, Telma Hopkins, Rachel True, and Essence Atkins sitting together for a photo shoot for 'Half & Half'
Valarie Pettiford, Telma Hopkins, Rachel True, and Essence Atkins | CBS via Getty Images

Musician and actor MC Lyte starred on the sitcom for a few episodes. Lyte had a recurring role on the show – she played Kai Owens, Mona’s fair but stern boss at the fictitious Delicious Records label.

In an interview with Atlanta Black Star, the rapper shared her thoughts on the show’s cancellation and finding a new home on Netflix. “I think the cast, as well as Yvette Lee Bowser, the creator, was extremely disappointed when it didn’t come back because everybody thought it was coming back for a fifth season,” she explained.

“So to have it cut off immediately like that — it can leave things unsettled,” she continued, referring to the show’s ending. “The idea of having to get to 100 episodes to be in syndication. We never made it to 100 episodes. So to be able to see this go into somewhat of a syndication on a streaming platform is fantastic. Everybody feels like, “Okay, we made it back.”

Half & Half is streaming now on Netflix.

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