Bad news – Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act cancelled

Minhaj announced that his show has been cancelled by Netflix.

When Time magazine named Minhaj one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019, fellow comedian Trevor Noah praised the “whip-smart commentary, charisma and sincerity” the Muslim presenter used on Patriot Act.

“We’ve needed Hasan’s voice since Donald Trump came down that golden escalator and turned immigrants and Muslims into his targets,” Noah wrote at the time.

Minhaj’s series ran for 40 episodes across six seasons from December 2018, with the host riffing on the news stories of the day.

It is not clear why this action was taken. It definitely could not be because it was of poor quality. It was slickly and smoothly produced even with all the pandemic restrictions. I thought that his show, along with John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal were three of the best weekly shows, providing well-researched, informative, and topical programs on important issues, but with a lot of humor woven in so that they were lively. They were all must-see TV for me. It is interesting that all three hosts are alumni of The Daily Show during the time when Jon Stewart was at the helm. Other ‘correspondents’ on the show such as Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, and Jessica Williams all went on to have successful careers.

Netflix does not usually release the ratings for its shows so we do not know if low ratings were the reason for the cancellation. But the timing is bad. We are heading into an election season and we need all the hard-hitting, investigative programs we can get so that we do not drown in trivia.


  1. says

    This article explains why Netflix cancels shows, often after the second season:

    I hear at least some of the cancellations on the list were prompted in part because the shows were deemed to have gotten too expensive. That is because of how many of Netflix’s series deals are structured. It is widely known that Netflix employs a “cost-plus” model, offering to pay upfront a show’s production costs plus a premium of 30%+ of the costs. Even after Netflix subtracts a distribution fee, outside studios are at break-even or in a positive territory from Day 1, versus having to deficit-finance series for the first few seasons on most traditional networks. But in exchange for the upfront payments, outside studios give up the potential upside that normally comes up with owning a long-running successful series, including off-network and international sales.

    Instead, Netflix’s deals include bump/bonuses after each season that are getting progressively bigger. While the payments are relatively modest after Season 1 and a little bigger after Season 2, I hear they escalate after Season 3, especially for series owned by Netflix — sometimes from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars — as the studio starts to pay off the shows’ back-end.

    Money. It’s always money.

  2. Mano Singham says


    Thanks for that link. It looks like Netflix bases its decisions on what will keep attracting new subscribers, unlike with non-subscriber networks that have advertisers where retaining an existing audience can be sufficient. So once a show attracts its audience, however large, and ceases to grow, it gets the ax.

  3. says

    People are usually slow to cancel subscriptions -- I know that is the motivation for making everything a subscription service -- so I suppose it makes business sense to focus on new subscribers at the expense of the current subscribers.

  4. says

    I am very unhappy about it. And Hasan’s exit was classy: “now I have to take all these panels back to Best Buy” I hope he continues to have a great career.

  5. Mano Singham says


    One thing that still puzzles me is that if Netflix wanted his show to lure more subscribers, why did they post all his episodes to watch for free on YouTube? They do not do that with their other shows. The good thing was that many more people got to see the the shows but surely that would not increase subscriptions?

  6. lanir says

    Actually… Free shows probably do increase subscriptions. Even piracy increases sales so certainly an organized give-away where they probably get some monetization from it is going to be a win.

    As far as Trump goes… Honestly I’ve been waiting to vote against him again since he got into office. He began by calling some of my friends rapists and murderers as a class. He proceeded to use our tax dollars to fund a semi-organized kidnapping and child trafficking ring preying on people who come here seeking immigration just because they look like some of my friends. And then he proceeded to bungle the response to a pandemic so badly that he’s killed… I think it’s around 1 out of every 200 Americans? I don’t really even need to get into the corruption, the bad policies, the rampant looting by rich people or the just plain stupidity that’s ever present.

    I don’t think anyone who’s paying attention at all and remembers things that happened more than a week ago has any trouble finding reasons to vote for someone else in November. Hasan was always interesting to watch but I don’t think we actually need him for this. A Saturday Night Live skit could probably sum up all this mess easily enough. Investigative journalism only matters if people care about being informed and our problem is low information voters who are proud to be low information voters.

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