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The Real Reason Hart Of Dixie Was Cancelled

For four seasons, "Hart of Dixie" allowed viewers to escape to the quirky small town of Bluebell, Alabama where the mayor has an alligator named Burt Reynolds, and the town square hosts a different festival every single week. The CW show was an unapologetic throwback to the days of The WB, when earnest small town shows like "Gilmore Girls," "Everwood," and "Dawson's Creek" reigned supreme. And while it was never a mega hit, the Rachel Bilson-led series still has a passionate and vocal fanbase.

The series follows Bilson's Dr. Zoe Hart, who leaves New York City for the small town of Bluebell after being informed she needs to work on her bedside manner if she wants to be a successful surgeon. Soon, Zoe finds herself entangled in the lives of Bluebell's residents, including the town's charming lawyer George (Scott Porter), bad boy bartender Wade (Wilson Bethel), former pro football star turned mayor Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams), and the Breelands — true Southern belle Lemon (Jaime King) and her father, the town doctor, Brick (Tim Matheson).

By the time Season 4 premiered, Zoe was fully entrenched in the world of Bluebell, and expecting a baby with Wade, much to the delight of fans. However, with the show's resident will they or won't they couple officially together, the writing was on the wall for "Hart of Dixie." But just because the cancellation seemed inevitable, that doesn't mean fans weren't left wondering why the charming small town show didn't get a Season 5 order from The CW.

Hart of Dixie's cancellation had nothing to do with Rachel Bilson's real life pregnancy

At the time of the show's cancellation, Bilson was pregnant with her daughter, Briar Rose, which led to some speculation the actress was ready to exit the series to focus on being a mom full-time. However, she quickly squashed those rumors with a post on Instagram. In 2015, Bilson posted a behind-the-scenes photo of herself alongside the show's set costumer on Instagram with a caption that made it clear she wasn't ready for "Hart of Dixie" to end.

"Missing the #zoehart #hartofdixie days, especially this outfit and this lady," the actress wrote. "Just wanted to clear something up, the cancellation of HOD had nothing to do with me or my pregnancy. I loved my show and loved playing Zoe Hart, thanks to everyone who watched."

It seems the real reason for the show's cancellation was far more mundane: The linear ratings just weren't up to par for The CW. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Hart of Dixie" was bounced to Fridays for Seasons 3 and 4, and as a result, the show's ratings declined. Interestingly, the dramedy was one of the network's top performers on Hulu at the time. These days, low-rated The CW shows are often declared hits thanks to their performance on Netflix and the network's app, but alas, "Hart of Dixie" was simply ahead of its time on that front.

Hart of Dixie creator Leila Gerstein was still able to give the series a proper ending

Ultimately, the cancellation may have felt abrupt, but the arc of Season 4 makes it clear series creator Leila Gerstein had some idea the show wouldn't be returning for a Season 5. In a 2014 interview with E!, the showrunner said: "I will say that there is a lot of closure in the season finale and there is a definite feeling of celebration at the end of the season. Everyone is going to be satisfied that by the end of the 10 episodes, all the central love triangles have been resolved, all the central questions have been answered and we're going to have a lot of fun along the way. We have been saving a lot of stuff for each of the stories and we decided to burn through it all this year."

But despite giving the characters and fans the closure they deserved, Gerstein also left plenty of doors open for a Season 5, just in case The CW continued with the series. In the end, "Hart of Dixie" still had a satisfying ending, even though the show's ratings (and its older-skewing stories) didn't make it feasible for The CW to keep the series going past Season 4. That's not the same as seeing the show run for five, six, or even seven seasons, but at the very least, "Hart of Dixie" fans weren't left hanging when the curtains came down on the drama in Bluebell.