White Collar season 7 didn't happen, but a potential revival still could

Matt Bomer has recently hinted that White Collar could make a comeback.
On Location For "White Collar" - May 10, 2010
On Location For "White Collar" - May 10, 2010 / Bobby Bank/GettyImages

If there's one character from the USA Network universe who should be known as the "comeback kid," it's definitely Neal Caffrey. For six seasons of While Collar, the con man turned FBI informant used his charming demeanor and striking good looks to get him out of more than a few jams. And now, he might even use his charms to make an actual comeback in the form of a revival.

White Collar made its grand return to Netflix in April 2024, with all six seasons beginning to stream on the platform at the top of the month. The series was previously available on Netflix years ago, but it's back on the heels of the great Suits renaissance of 2023. As more and more people revisit or discover the series, questions will swirl about why the show even ended and if it could come back.

Thankfully, series star Matt Bomer has been vocal about his love for the show and his character Neal Caffrey, even suggesting that serious conversations have been happening behind the scenes about getting the gang back together for another round. But before we consider the possibility of its future, let's look back at the past and unpack the reason behind its cancellation in the first place.

Why White Collar ended after season 6

The reasons behind White Collar ending with season 6 are a bit complicated, but it ultimately comes down to ratings, money, and the show's production company. Because the fifth season aired in the fall rather than in the summer like the three previous seasons, ratings slipped as the show faced more competition from being on at the same time as broadcast fall hits. (Some background: Season 5 aired during the same timeslot as Grey's Anatomy.)

USA Network officially announced the sixth and final season in September 2024, and in the wake of the announcement, Deadline shared more context on the decision to conclude the series. One of the biggest renewal hurdles the show had to overcome was the fact that it was produced by Fox Television Studios (now owned by Disney) and aired on a cable network owned by NBCUniversal. These discrepancies constantly cause logistical headaches for our favorite shows.

The show was said to be an expensive one to produce because of its on-location production in New York City. USA was looking to own more of its shows to keep costs lower and transition beyond the "blue sky" format it had become known for. Also, Bomer's star was beginning to rise with roles in the film Magic Mike and HBO's original film The Normal Heart, which landed him a Golden Globe win and an Emmy nomination. What came to fruition was a six-episode final season, seemingly a compromise between a wrap-up movie and a full season order of about 13 to 16 episodes.

When the network shared the final season news, the USA Network president Chris McCumber made sure to put a spotlight on the show's loyal fans, the writing, and the cast as a whole, but gave a special shot out to Bomer and DeKay's chemistry as the leads of the series. McCumber concluded his statement with a tease: "This season will not disappoint, with an exciting and shocking ending that fans will never forget."

The creator of the series, Jeff Eastin, also shared his sentiments about the show ending:

"Saying goodbye to White Collar – and Neal and Peter – after six successful seasons is incredibly difficult, but I couldn’t be prouder of what our entire team has accomplished over the last six years. I’m grateful to FTVS and USA for giving the show a great home, and I can’t wait for fans to see the twists, surprises and phenomenal performances our final season has in store for them."

Jeff Eastin, creator

A sixth season was very necessary given that season 5 ended with a cliffhanger. The loose ends about Neal's kidnapping needed to be tied up to pave the way for a satisfying end. And while the final season and series finale do just that, some fans have complained that season 6 having only six episodes to wrap up the show made it feel like an abrupt end point. Still, the series had accomplished a lot character-wise between Neal and Peter. Realistically, where else could season 7 go without continually undoing major character development?

Matt Bomer teased a possible revival

As more and more shows from the past return in some form or another, it's common for chatter about a revival to swirl around every once-popular, still-beloved series at one point or another. Talk about a White Collar revival began as far back as 2020 when the cast reunited for charity on the Stars In the House channel on YouTube in the early days of the pandemic.

Following the charity reunion, Bomer shared optimism on the prospects of a comeback:

"There is nothing I would want than to be on a set with this group of people again. There are real conversations happening. There seems to be a lot of excitement about it. What form that takes and how it plays out and whether all the creatives involved can work it out and make it happen is yet to be seen. But we’re all really optimistic and hopeful."

Matt Bomer (May 2020)

Bomer's quotes in May 2020 came after some back and forth on Twitter in April between the actor, DeKay, and Eastin. The creator had shared a photo of Neal's infamous fedora hat, and both Bomer and DeKay expressed excitement over the possibility of bringing the show back. Eastin later tweeted on May 6, 2020: "Had a great convo with @MattBomer. We have a plan to bring #WhiteCollar back. So, as Mozzie might say, 'To quote Steve Harvey, The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.' It’s time to hustle."

Of course, it's 2024 and that plan hasn't come to fruition quite yet, but it's not the last we've heard about the show's potential revival. While promoting his Showtime limited series Fellow Travelers in November 2023, Bomer again fielded White Collar questions and provided an update. Once again referencing the "plan" Eastin mentioned, Bomer diplomatically told TV Line:

"There has been talk. It’s actually very legitimate talk, it’s in conversation. A lot of things need to fall into place, but there is a plan in effect at least, so we’ll see what happens."

Matt Bomer (November 2023)

Now that the show has followed suit with Suits and landed on Netflix, only time will tell if added eyeballs on the show creates a resurgence that tips the scales in favor of the revival finding its way to finally happening. The tricky situation would be where the revival would land.

Being produced by 20th Television, it's Disney-owned, but USA still has some claim over the title as its original network. And if Netflix creates the success that leads to a revival, would it want to miss out again like it did with the Suits continuation series? We'll see what happens, but keep your fingers crossed and keep watching the show!

All six seasons of White Collar are currently available to watch on Netflix.

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