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All American: The Real Reason Spencer James Actor Daniel Ezra Left The Series

The CW's "All American" is short one lead. April Blair's football drama has been experiencing a serious cast shakeup since "All American" main character Spencer James (Daniel Ezra) announced his departure from the show. Fortunately for fans of the series, Spencer wasn't abruptly written out because of some behind-the-scenes turmoil. Instead, Ezra and showrunner Nketchi Okoro Carroll are in full agreement about the exit, and the actor has confirmed that the decision to part ways was ultimately his.

"After making the difficult decision to leave 'All American,' my sole focus became completing the journey of the most life-affirming character I've ever played in the manner he deserves," Ezra told Deadline. "Thanks to Nkechi and the writers, I got my wish. Season 6 is 'Spencer's goodbye.' I'll miss him. I'll miss our cast and crew. I hope it's been as fun to watch him as it has been to play him."

As Ezra's statement suggests, "All American" Season 6 is effectively Spencer's swan song — and indeed, the season finale, "Victory Lap," sees him finally get drafted into the NFL after the previous episode crushed his dreams. However, he's not just suddenly disappearing into the bright lights after Season 6. Instead, he's set to return for a currently unknown number of Season 7 guest appearances.

Spencer's arc is over, but All American may have more stories to tell

The inspiration behind "All American" is Spencer Paysinger, the former NFL player that Daniel Ezra's Spencer James is based on. Knowing this, the Season 6 finale feels a lot like a big, happy ending with its emotional wedding and Spencer getting a shot with the New York Bobcats — not to mention the time skip that shows him leading the team to a Super Bowl victory during his rookie season. For all intents and purposes, Spencer has finally made it, and the story of his struggles is over.

Against this background, it's not exactly a surprise that Daniel Ezra and Nketchi Okoro Carroll have agreed to move Spencer out of the show's spotlight for "All-American" Season 7, especially since his story is getting increasingly glamorous and the upcoming season will likely have a smaller budget due to The CW's behind-the-scenes changes in the wake of Nexstar Media Group becoming a majority owner in October 2022.

Due to this, there's a strong possibility that "All-American" will introduce a new, younger cast of characters and focus on their struggles, with Spencer and possibly other members of the old guard turning up every once in a while to connect the newcomers to the larger narrative. Who knows? Since "All American" doesn't tell you everything about its true story origins, the show's next central character could even continue to be inspired by the as-yet uncovered aspects of Paysinger's life.