Gargoyles is one of the crown jewels in the realm of Disney’s animated series. Premiering in 1994, it garnered praise for its heavy themes as well as its long-form story arcs and its cancelation came as a surprise to all. The reason behind it has never been revealed until now.
In an interview with Polygon, series creator Greg Weisman discussed the major event hat led to the show’s cancellation: the murder trial of former football star O.J. Simpson. “The OJ Simpson trial meant we were constantly being preempted for trial coverage, because we were on syndicated stations, and syndicated stations still primarily lived off local news in the 1990’s,” Weisman stated, going on to explain, “Every day it ran, we were being preempted, and in any given city, people were missing episodes of Gargoyles, and falling out of the habit of watching it.”
Weisman also said that when the Power Rangers franchise took off, Gargoyles was left in second place. The series creator stated, “That show was a blockbuster. So in season 1, we were the number 1 show in our afternoon slot, and in season 2, we were consistently number 2.” He continued, “We weren’t a failure, but we’d gone from being a home run to being a double. Power Rangers was the big news and the home run.” In the end, according to Weisman, the viewership was “fractured.”
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers made its debut in 1993 and has spawned a multimedia franchise including films and the current ongoing series from BOOM! Studios. The franchise is recognized worldwide. The combination of its success and the Simpson trial ensured the demise of Gargoyles. Weisman concluded, “It sounds bizarre that OJ Simpson helped destroy Gargoyles, but it’s true.”
The entire Gargoyles series is currently available to stream on Disney+.
Gargoyles creator Greg Weisman spoke at length about how the OJ Simpson trial and Power Rangers' popularity led to the show's cancellation.