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Will there be a season 4 Shades of Blue?

Will there be a season 4 Shades of Blue?

Shades of Blue is an American crime drama television series that aired on NBC from January 17, 2016 to August 19, 2018. The show starred Jennifer Lopez as Harlee Santos, a single mother and detective who gets recruited by the FBI to work undercover to take down members of her own NYPD unit who are engaged in corruption.

The series ran for a total of 3 seasons before being cancelled by NBC in 2018. Season 1 premiered in January 2016 with 13 episodes, season 2 premiered in March 2017 with 13 episodes, and the third and final season premiered in June 2018 with 10 episodes.

While the show had moderate viewership, its ratings declined each season leading to NBC’s decision to cancel it. Fans were disappointed to see the show end after the season 3 finale left things open-ended. This has led many to wonder if a season 4 of Shades of Blue could still potentially happen.

Performance of Shades of Blue

Here are some key stats on the performance of Shades of Blue across its 3 seasons:

Season Premiere Date Episodes Viewers (Millions)
1 January 17, 2016 13 9.88
2 March 5, 2017 13 5.37
3 June 17, 2018 10 3.77

As you can see, the viewership declined each season, going from nearly 10 million viewers for the season 1 premiere down to only 3.77 million by the season 3 premiere.

The ratings dropped most significantly from season 1 to 2 after the show was moved to Sunday nights. Sundays tend to be a more competitive night for TV viewership.

Despite the declining viewership, Shades of Blue maintained a core audience throughout its 3 season run. And the show was a launching pad for Jennifer Lopez into scripted TV acting, garnering her critical praise.

Why Was Shades of Blue Cancelled?

There were a few key factors that contributed to NBC’s decision to cancel Shades of Blue after season 3:

– Declining ratings – As noted above, the ratings dropped each season, making it more difficult for NBC to justify renewing an underperforming show. Network TV relies heavily on advertising revenue which is tied to viewership.

– High production costs – Shades of Blue was an expensive show to produce given its New York City setting and ensemble cast led by major star Jennifer Lopez. The diminishing viewership made those high costs harder to justify.

– Shift in NBC strategy – During the time Shades of Blue was on the air, NBC was shifting its programming strategy to focus on sports, unscripted shows, and Chicago-set dramas like Chicago Fire. Shades of Blue no longer fit that vision.

– Syndication prospects – NBC produces many shows with the intent of getting to 100 episodes so they can be sold into syndication. But at only 36 episodes, Shades of Blue had little syndication value.

So in summary, with the ratings down, costs up, and no syndication potential, NBC decided the business case for continuing Shades of Blue beyond season 3 no longer made sense. The storylines were left open, but the show was brought to an end.

Could Netflix Pick Up Shades of Blue?

When a show is cancelled by its original network, fans often hold out hope it could get revived by another outlet. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video have rescued other cancelled shows in the past.

So could Netflix potentially pick up Shades of Blue for a season 4? It seems unlikely for a few reasons:

– Netflix passed on it before – Back when Shades of Blue was first being shopped around in 2014, Netflix had the chance to pick up the distribution rights but passed in favor of other shows. This indicates limited interest.

– Declining viewership – While Shades of Blue had a loyal core audience, its overall ratings were on the decline. That doesn’t align with Netflix’s model which relies on shows having strong growth potential.

– Jennifer Lopez’s busy schedule – As one of the biggest stars in the entertainment industry, Jennifer Lopez has many other commitments now including films, music projects, and business ventures. Finding time for a Shades of Blue season 4 may be difficult.

– Lack of buzz and social media engagement – Compared to other shows, Shades of Blue did not generate a lot of buzz or social media chatter during its run. That type of engagement is something Netflix wants for its originals.

So unfortunately for fans hoping to see more, the odds of Netflix or another platform resurrecting the show seem low at this point given these factors. But never say never!

Should Shades of Blue Have Ended After Season 3?

Looking at the storylines, many fans felt frustrated that season 3 of Shades of Blue ended without providing resolution. Harlee’s corruption was exposed, but the future of her character and others was left ambiguous.

Arguments can be made both for and against ending the show after season 3:

**Reasons to end after season 3**

– Declining ratings suggested limited viewer interest going forward

– The core storyline around Harlee working as an undercover FBI informant was essentially played out

– Allowed the show to end while still airing on NBC rather than being abruptly cancelled later

– Jennifer Lopez may have wanted to move on to other projects

**Reasons to continue past season 3**

– Could have rebooted the show with a refreshed storyline for Harlee

– More time to wrap up unresolved character arcs and plotlines

– Fans were still engaged and wanting more based on social media reactions

– Opportunity to turn ratings around on a new night or streaming service

Ideally, the showrunners would have gotten advanced notice from NBC in order to properly wrap up all ongoing storylines. But based on the circumstances, ending after season 3 was likely the prudent choice even if it left fans unsatisfied.

Will Jennifer Lopez Do More Scripted TV?

Prior to Shades of Blue, Jennifer Lopez had only minor acting roles in television shows early in her career. Starring on Shades of Blue marked her big move into leading a primetime network scripted series.

By all accounts, Lopez enjoyed the experience and earned strong reviews for her performance as Harlee Santos. The question is whether she would consider doing another TV series role again in the future?

There are a few factors that suggest Lopez may be open to more TV work:

– Positive experience on Shades of Blue – She seemed to appreciate the steady schedule and acting challenge of an ongoing TV show versus intermittent films.

– Shift in prestige TV – In the past decade, TV has become a more prestigious medium attracting major film actors. Lopez may be drawn to that.

– Flexible shooting schedules – Modern TV production allows for shorter episode orders and shooting schedules that can accommodate a pop star’s touring and music release calendar.

– Opportunity to produce – Lopez is interested in having ownership and creative input over projects which is more common in TV versus films.

On the other hand, at 53 years old with a very active career, taking on another grueling lead TV role may not be appealing. Lopez likely values having the freedom to pursue multiple projects.

While it’s not guaranteed, there’s a good chance viewers may see Jennifer Lopez return to a starring TV role again soon. Her time on Shades of Blue seems to have opened her up to the possibilities of scripted television.


In the end, while its run was relatively short at just 3 seasons, Shades of Blue established itself as a compelling police drama anchored by Jennifer Lopez’s praised performance. It’s understandable why fans were disappointed not to get more closure in a potential season 4.

Unfortunately, the declining ratings and shifts in NBC’s programming strategy signaled that season 3 would be the end of the road. But the show served as an excellent return to scripted acting for Lopez. And with the boom in quality TV, this likely won’t be the last audiences see of JLo on the small screen.

Even without a fourth season, Shades of Blue remains an entertaining crime drama featuring timely themes of corruption and morality. For those looking to re-watch or discover the show, all 3 seasons are currently available streaming on Netflix and NBC’s Peacock service.