Code Black Season 2

Code Black Creator on Season 2 Cast Cuts: 'Nobody Enjoyed This'

The instant backlash surrounding Code Black‘s Season 2 cast overhaul prompted the show’s creator to make the Twitter rounds on Saturday.

In an impromptu Q&A with fans, many of whom were fuming over news that Bonnie Somerville (Christa) and Raza Jaffrey (Neal) had been let go, exec producer Michael Seitzman conceded that losing both actors “sucks for sure,” before adding, “But I’m still excited about the new characters we haven’t talked about yet!”

Seitzman went on to write, “No answer I give will be satisfying…. It sucks. Nobody — nobody — enjoyed this.” The EP then urged fans not to play the blame game, noting, “Decisions like this aren’t easy and are very complex.”

Seitzman also defended the decision to promote recurring players Boris Kodjoe (Will) and Jillian Murray (Heather) to full-fledged series regulars. When one fan remarked that Will and Heather “don’t gel” with the rest of the team as well as Christa and Neal did, the EP replied, “Two things to remember. They didn’t appear ’til late in season, and they’re in the OR not ER. I have some ideas.”

The medical drama, which snagged an 11th hour renewal last month, will produce a full-season’s worth of episodes, Seitzman all but confirmed. “[We’re] told we’re slotted for 22,” he said. He even dropped an “unofficial” Season 2 premiere date: “I think it’s now Sept 21.”

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  1. Bah, that’s still not an answer about why the two leads were let go. The characters of Heather and Will are both unlikeable while Neal and Christa were part of the moral core of the show. So not interested in watching S2.

    • SUe D says:

      So agree! This is really inexcusable! Probably not tuning in for the 2nd season.

      • Deklyn says:


        • Stacy says:

          So, they cut an Indian guy to make room for a black guy? I guess that nixes your race mixing accusation.

        • Just A Guess says:

          It’s money. The show was probably renewed with a mandate to come in at a cheaper budget. I’d guess that they cut the two actors to hire two cheaper people in their place.

          • Boris Cujo’s character is just an awful personality, and I don’t even remember who Heather was/is, that’s how impactful that character was. This was one of my favorite new shows last year, but I am so angry at the EP, I may not watch this season in protest. I can’t believe it was due to economics that these decisions were made. I bet Cujo commands as much salary as Raza did, and Christa was probably working for little more than Heather, whom I will refer to as Natasha from here on out.

          • Nancy Farkas says:

            That is most likely it. These shows are expensive to produce. That is why many shows like the Night Shift go elsewhere to film. It’s cheaper.These things happen. People whining how they are not watching the show again because they were let go is absurd. At least it’s only season 2. Had they got rid of them after several years that would be different.

        • fiberlicious says:

          You clicked on the wrong link – this isn’t the KKK Bigot Board.

      • Mariana Trench says:

        Totally agree. I was jazzed by the renewal and now they’ve axed the reasons I enjoyed the show, namely Raza’s character, who was so complex and interesting.
        Oh well.. now I have an open TV slot!

        • Tony says:

          You’re clearly not a fan of the show if you’ll not watch without even trying the new format.

        • Jane says:

          I enjoy watching Marcia Gay Harden & I like the man who plays the head nurse but I mostly liked the interaction between Dr. Neal & Christa. I have limited time to watch TV so I won’t be watching Code Black for Season 2. This has pretty much ruined it for me. I also didn’t like when Harden’s character was promoted out of the ER so this was the deciding factor.

        • Audriana says:


          • Leanne says:

            they cut characters in criminal minds and got such a backlash they brought them back.. maybe they will see how stupid they were and bring them back and get their head where the sun don’t shine.. guess they never heard DONT FIX WHATS NOT BROKE.
            I really liked the show.

    • Lexi says:

      As someone in another comment stated this decision is a CASTLE STUPID decision. The EPs d explanation was a non-explanation.. I have never given up on a show but Adios Code Black… Hello Netflix and Amazon Prime…

    • Pedro says:

      Budget cuts. Let go some more experienced actors and replace them with cheaper ones. Grey’s Anatomy season 9.

    • Nancy Farkas says:

      Well like he said “No answer I give will be satisfying”. Maybe the actors quit? I don’t know. But these things happen. On the Night shift, two of the actors quit. It happens.Please it’s only season 2. It’s not like on Royal Pains where they axed Jill after 4 years.

    • Temperance says:

      Yup. Ditch two of the four faves and bring up the two least faves? Ugh.

    • Butter says:

      I don’t think the article”explained” the decision to cut them out

      • Leanne says:

        I agree. They cut the wrong characters. I started watching the show because Marcia Gay Harden was in the cast but once I started watching the others characters made the show. Basically the 4..wrong people cut

  2. Anne says:

    I still don’t understand why they had to get rid of two popular leads, promote two less popular characters and then bring on some unknown characters. Like how is that going to help get new viewers? It’ll certainly push away the viewers they had in s1

  3. Mimi says:

    It’s their show, they can do what they want. I’m not going to be outraged, I’m not going to protest, I’m not going to even demand an explanation. I’m just going to do the most deadly thing a viewer of a TV show can do: STOP WATCHING. I encourage others to join me.

  4. Donna Salvi says:

    Anxiously waited for news of a renewal and was so happy when it came. Sadly, cutting two of my favorite characters has dampened my excitement. You better not mess with “mama”!!

  5. Robin Evans says:

    Why can’t Bonnie & Raza appear on a limited basis instead of giving them the boot completely????

  6. Will Q says:

    I never watched this show but I would start if they cut every storyline and all the medical stuff and just had Luis Guzman walk around the hospital trying to make polite conversation with everyone.

    • I KNOW RIGHT? Loterally, they could cut everyone off and just leave him and I’d still watch it! I do watch the show, and the whole Neil/Christa thing was becoming too much into a romance mess. I liked Code Black because it’s more cutthroat than the usual medical shows, so, hopefully, with the lovey doveys gone they’ll go back to that! Also: THEY ARE NOT LEADS! Marcia Gay Harden and Luis Guzman are!

      Thank you for this comment <3

    • J Riley says:

      Haha. Luis is the only reason why I started watching the show in the first place. Everyone else is expendable on the show besides him and Marcia Gay Harden, IMHO.

  7. Bwhit says:

    It seems like they didn’t expect there to be this much of a backlash….. Boy were they wrong!

  8. wrstlgirl says:

    Still excited for season two. Yeah I’m disappointed that those actors were let go but I’m not going to boycott the show because of it.

  9. pammiesioux says:

    I watched this show for three reasons, Marcia Gay Harden and the two actors who were cut. As good as she is, I don’t know if Marcia can do it all alone.

  10. Kailani says:

    Keep shoveling, dude. Fan revolt, and nothing you say or do will change it, other than rescinding the decision and let them stay. Too bad; it was a great show, and now it’s off my DVR list.

  11. Kathie says:

    Surprised at the cuts, but Christa’s character was kind of snotty at times. I liked Neal. I was glad it got renewed and watched it this week without realizing either of them was missing. I had to Google them to see what they looked like.

    • Laura says:

      Neither of them would be missing yet since season 2 won’t air until September, so I’m not sure what you’re watching but both actors appear regularly in season 1.

    • I was the opposite, while I liked Christa as a doctor, not personally as a person, I mostly couldn’t stand Neil. I’m more bummed about Boris staying than them leaving. I hated him. Heather is okay.

  12. glen says:

    I like the both of them. Sorry to see this happen, but that’s show biz..I’ll get over it.

  13. BarbC says:

    I’m not excited about it !!! Keep Neal and Christa !!

  14. MzTeaze says:

    Yeah I think this show might be toast. I like Marcia Gay Harden but I would less sad for her departure over Raza.

    • Nancy Farkas says:

      Oh please. Grey’s Anatomy killed Derek Sheppard. One of their most popular characters and the show is still going. Plus they lost callie now too. Shows change. It sucks but it happens.

      • Ashbash says:

        Grey’s Anatomy has also been on for 10+ years and has a built in fan base that has stretched that long. You can’t really compare Code Black to Grey’s Anatomy. Code Black is in only going into its second season of its show and is cutting out two popular characters. If Grey’s would have given Derek the ax going into season two and just decided to bring on Addison as a series regular the show would have been cancelled. So it’s not really in Code Black’s best interest to cut two popular characters going into a season two they almost didn’t get.

        • Nancy Farkas says:

          Actually I can. It does not matter how long a show has been on. Getting rid of a character is a risk. They may be popular to YOU but they were not popular to everyone and some are glad to see them go. Please I have seen shows cut characters sooner then this and the show does fine. But all you WHINERS don’t want to even give it a chance. Your loss. Room for new fans then.You don’t run the show so who are you to say what is in the shows “best interest”?

  15. Kate Tibbs says:

    And they were let go because….?
    No good reason, that’s why the flimflamming *smh*.

  16. Gabrielle Carteris needs to be brought in for more episodes.

  17. KLS says:

    “Budgetary reasons”? (sounds familiar)

  18. George H. says:

    As someone else said earlier… they sure Castled up this show, lol.

  19. vp says:

    Don’t watch the stupid show, don’t care. there is a great medical show on NBC with a MUCH better looking and acting cast.

  20. Luis says:

    In truth, Christa and Neal were my least favorite characters. The on/off romance was a generic story line and I wasn’t looking forward to watching them working together in S2.

  21. tallsy says:

    They cancelled Limitless for this???

  22. amanda says:

    Wtf why did they get rid of Neal? I loved that character, he kept me watching. This is very disappointing.

  23. herman1959 says:

    I really liked this show early on, then I got lost some how. I was planning to come back, but not now. I feel like CBS is going to try to turn this into Grey’s Anatomy and I’m not interested.

  24. Crc says:

    Hope they enjoy season two cause they keep bs like this up there won’t be a season 3……I liked this show and was excited it got renewed but now that Neal and Christa are gone I won’t be watching.

  25. Lala says:

    Gosh, fans are so entitled…the show would not just get rid of lovable characters without good cause & obviously the EP cannot be open about what the actual reason is. This is a ‘new-ish’ show, pretty sure it will survive. Who knows, maybe the new creative direction may bring in more viewers.

    • KLS says:

      I disagree. Shows get rid of fan favorites for bad reasons all of the time. Yes, the EP/creators can’t say why and they probably hate doing it, but most of the time it isn’t their decision. I think CB is on a short leash for Season 2. It is up against “Designated Survivor” and “Chicago PD” in the Fall. A tough slot. Survival is not guaranteed.

      • Well, that makes it easier. I had already decided that the lone new show that I wanted to check out was “Designated Survivor,” and until they debut “Chicago Animal Shelter,” I won’t be watching any of that second city generic humdrum. I will miss Marcia Gay and Luis, but they weren’t enough to carry the show, and I found Boris Cujo’s character repulsive, especially when they tried to set him up with Marcia Gay’s character.

        • KLS says:

          I am personally waiting for “Chicago: Deep Pan Pizza”.

        • Laura says:

          They never tried to set MGH’s character up with Kodjoe, you’re thinking of Cress Williams who played Dr. Guthrie’s son, Cole. He was also a surgeon, but he left abruptly. I actually thought their pairing was cute. But they never tried to put Boris Kodjoe with Marcia’s character.

    • Laura says:

      Well yeah, viewers feel entitled because the shows are made for US, for our viewing pleasure and entertainment. I presume that the natural mandate is to please us, hence the sense of (rightful) entitlement. And yes, shows get rid of adored characters all the time for a multitude of ridiculous reasons. Whether or not this change is for the better remains to be seen, but it seems to have alienated a very large portion of people who otherwise might have remained loyal viewers, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for a season 3

      • Lala says:

        Everytime someone sneezes on a TV show, there’s always a chunk of the audience who will oppose…so yeah while TV shows are for entertainment, they do not owe the viewers anything. They had a creative route in mind and went with that. If Christa and Neal did not fit in that new direction then so be it. The EPs have made their move now the audience can make theirs, remain loyal or move on.

  26. Eric H says:

    From the way he’s talking, I’m beginning to think the higher-ups at CBS forced his hand. Probably needed to add a younger African-American character and add some people to flesh out the OR staff. This made Jaffrey and Somerville the targets for the cuts.

    • Sheila says:

      He does seem to be silently screaming, “it’s not my fault!!!”

    • peggyleslie says:

      I think the big reason there is young. They wanted more young and pretty. Pity.

    • jtrattray says:

      Except they replaced Neal with an older actor. Raza Jeffrey is two years younger than Boris Kodjoe.

      The last network who is going to force an EP to hire younger people and people of colour is CBS.

      • Eric H says:

        I wasn’t comparing ages for Kodjoe and Jaffrey; I was comparing the need for a younger AA male (Kodjoe) to the older AA already on the cast (William Allen Young/Dr. Guthrie.) Dr. Guthrie is good as the sage, older vet but I could them needing someone younger to interact with all the other younger doctors.

        Also, I can potentially see that they got rid of Jaffrey because they already had an Indian-American (Melaya) on hand and felt it was doubling down on that instead of having the younger African-American doctor. With them seemingly going for a real diverse cast, I could easily see them adding an East Asian and a Latino to the cast to hit all the different groups you’d see in the LA area. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them add a doctor who had recently served in the military also.

        • Leanne says:

          entertainment not about entertaining anymore, its about race..the strong good characters actors should remain regardless..

  27. SW says:

    Christa & Neal need to stay!!

  28. Alrisha says:

    Still made no sense. They spent so much time with these characters last season, made people care for them and now they let them go? And bringing characters no one seen to like is even more dumb.

  29. Anne Normandin says:

    Christa was my favorite character. I’m soooo sick of these networks getting rid of good shows, great characters. I for one will not be watching. And they wonder why more and more people go to cable.

  30. Mare says:

    Yea, not satisfying, guy. You aren’t going to gain any new viewers this way and you are going to LOSE the ones that you DID have. Big mistake.

  31. Maryann says:

    What I’m wondering is whether these were changes made so that the network would renew. That is what I am reading between the lines.

  32. Amy H says:

    Such a bad decision. They developed two interested characters, and then drop them to replace them with two unlikable ones? Off my list.

  33. Nellie Dyer says:

    Stupid move to dump two popular characters for two that did not really fit in. He is likely to regret this decision when they get canceled mid- season.

  34. Debra says:

    Ya know….we pay to watch the shows that we love but all the powers that be regarding those shows just think they can do whatever they want and we will be ok with it??? Today with this show, I start fighting back ! I was excited for season 2 but……I just officially deleted it from my DVR list !

  35. Ange says:

    I don’t care for the additions especially the direction they seemed to take Boris’ character (the blackmail) but I did not like Christa, she was too whiny for me, you know like some of these so called fans. However I did like Neal. I will not stop watching. It’s entertainment, not world peace.

  36. Susan says:

    I’m excited that Code Black was renewed and can’t wait for season 2….a full season!!!

  37. KC says:

    That’s weird, I figured Raza Jaffrey was a big reason for the show doing well internationally, which was one of the reasons why it got a Season 2 pick up. Some strange decisions being made by CBS these days. So glad my fav, Supergirl moved on to calmer grounds.

  38. BrianR says:

    No Bonnie = no watchie

  39. Sarah says:

    If the EP doesn’t have control of his own show, it doesn’t say much for its future. Either he is playing the PR game to try to mitigate damage he caused himself, or the studio is forcing his hand. Either way, it’s not a good move to follow barely getting renewed by cutting two actors who played a HUGE part in getting you that second season. People follow a show like CB because they appreciate gritty realism and great acting (exemplified by Raza Jaffrey); if they wanted pretty people, soapy storylines and so-so acting they’d watch ABC.

    • dan says:

      The networks have a huge say in what happens with their shows. I assume that budget cuts required a few cast changes and the new additions are overall cheaper in the long run. Also, CBS has been criticized for a lack of diversity and skewing too old so maybe these changes are an effort to “fix” that (even though this show was already racially diverse and has plenty of young people in the cast). Maybe their famous “focus groups” were negative towards the Neal and Christa characters and liked the head-strong surgeon who brings more conflict. Every show needs a villain or two. I liked the characters Neal and Christa even though their relationship was a little dull. I’m curious if season two will have a different tone (younger, more like a soap opera). I’ll watch, but I hope it doesn’t change tone too much.

  40. jtrattray says:

    Gotta give the showrunner his due, he didn’t have to spend his Saturday night answering fans’ tweets. I’ll be sticking with the show or now.

  41. Leanne says:

    If they want the show to fail why are they renewing for season 2. Once you let the basic main character go its doomed. Are they clueless? This was a good show. I will miss it

  42. Anna says:

    Was happy the show was renewed, but not sure if I will continue to watch; Neal and Christa were two of the characters I enjoyed watching! It seems the producers just don’t get it…..

  43. Pat says:

    I still do not understand their reason for cutting one of the main characters, namely Dr. Neal. Sorry Seitzman, up grading the character of Will just does not cut it. Never tamper with something that seems to be working but they just do not seem to know that saying.

  44. wvugirl2007 says:

    I won’t punish the rest of the cast, the writers and crew by not watching because of this terrible decision that was made by the higher ups. It is going to hurt the show enough. This is a great show and too many are canned for reality crap so I am sticking with it. I am angry at the changes maybe they will change their minds over the backlash.

  45. Nancy Farkas says:

    Enough with the whining. IT was a business decision. Get over it. These things happen all the time. Frankly these two were the least interesting. Tired of hearing Christa whine about her kid. And Neal was an indecisive idiot.

  46. Moonlight4ever says:

    Trying to get pissed core audience back that actually watched season one. Too late. After I read that they cut my favorite couple I immediately deleted the show from my DVR. I will no longer be watching.

    After wasting eleven years on Greys Anatomy and they killed McDreamy, I no longer watch any show that kills a character. I just immediately remove it from my DVR. Got rid of all Shrondra Rhymes shows, Once Upon A Time, Castle, Sleepy Hollow, Legends of Tomorrow, and now Code Black.

    • Nancy Farkas says:

      They HAD NO CHOICE. Did you hear what he said? CBS has been making cuts all across the board. They cut Super Girl and I am guessing CBS had a say in this too. PD quit. What were they supposed to do?If you are going to quit a show every time someone leaves then you will have nothing to watch.

      • KLS says:

        SuperGirl was not cut. It was moved to the CW which everyone admitted, should have been there in the first place.
        There is a difference between an actor leaving a show and one being fired from one (see Castle for reference).
        My guess is that CBS wants to re-align CB around Harden and Guzman, known and popular actors. That’s what they are selling. If fans like the supporting characters better, then that’s the writers’ fault.
        This is all probably moot anyway. I don’t see a season 3 due to the competition at their tine slot.

      • Sarah says:

        He didn’t say he had no choice, he said “nobody enjoyed this.” You’re reading into it, which could be correct or could be way off. He could very easily have made the decision himself and not enjoyed doing it. I do suspect that CBS had a hand in it, but to say he had no choice at all is assumption at best.

        • Nancy Farkas says:

          SAME THING! God you whiners are getting on my nerves. Watch the show or don’t. But WHINING will not get them to change their minds and they are not going to cave to fans demanding they bring them back. So get over it. I for one am not going to give up on show because of that. Grey’s was falling apart before Derek even left and now they have lost Callie as well. That show should have ended years ago. But it’s being driven into the ground because Shonda is a greedy woman. Different. CBS is his boss. He does what they say just as I would like to think you would do the same. When your boss says “jump”? You say “How High” not “no”!

          • Sarah says:

            I don’t see any whining in either of those comments, just points of fact. If the comments being made on this story upset you that much, just go elsewhere instead. Considering I can’t tell what exactly you think is the “same thing” I have no idea if it was a reply to what I said, but you seem to have missed the point of both comments. I said I suspect CBS played some part here, but that could be a direct order to fire two particular actors, or a renewal contingency relating to season 2’s storylines (for example, as the EP suggested on Twitter, refocusing on the incoming residents rather than the senior staff), or it could have been as simple as a dollar amount for the budget, which the EP chose to meet by cutting these particular actors’ salaries. The point is that although I do happen to suspect it, I don’t know for sure and neither do you. It’s pure assumption to lay the blame anywhere, including on the network, or to say that the EP had no choice. You don’t know that he didn’t; you don’t even know for sure that his bosses gave him any kind of orders to refuse. So if you don’t like people pointing out legitimate flaws in your argument, just post your opinion instead of YELLING at someone else for having one.

  47. Nancy Farkas says:

    The two “new” people were promoted months ago according to the EP on his twitter. And he said that people can blame him but “do not insult my friends” so all of you knock it off attacking the new people.

    • KLS says:

      I think you are directing your vile in the wrong place. People here are upset at CBS for renewing a favorite show, but without some favorite characters, which they have every right to do. Just like you have a right to voice the opposite. Just keep the snark-level down, that’s all.

      • Nancy Farkas says:

        STOP telling me what to say. Get over it. It’s not your s how and it was not your decision to make. Plenty of shows do this and it’s not the end of the world. You are insulting actors and even the EP has had enough of that. So just stop!

  48. Mara says:

    This was not an explanation. As has been posted on another thread this was Castle stupid — Nashville showrunner stupid. It can’t just be about the money since there is talk of bringing on a “male lead” for Marcia Gay Harden. I had been so excited about the renewal but this move really kills it for me. The first season really built on two characters they have unceremoniously dumped for characters I am not at all interested in watching as they are cliched stereotypes. Forget about getting new viewers — you have seriously alienated the ones who already had.

    • KLS says:

      I think that’s the point. CBS wants the show to be about MGH not the two others that they let go from season 1. Now, maybe they are making her out to be the next Ellen Pompeo where she is the one constant and the cast is changed around her. Who knows? It seems like Season 1 surprised them a little bit. First that the show wasn’t as popular as they wanted it to be, and second, the secondary characters were better characters then the main ones. So, maybe that’s the creative problem that they had…..but I also think there was a money issue.

  49. Bella says:

    I won’t be watching. They featured Neal and Christa all season, then dump them, and promote two characters who are horrible people? No thanks.

    • Nancy Farkas says:

      Oh stop. They did “feature” them. They were part of an ensemble. And the other two were promoted way before this happened. As the guy said on his twitter “You can blame me but do not insult my friends”. So enough.

  50. matty says:

    I’m not too upset about this. Sophomore series always make some sort of cast change or creative adjustments