Is the US election turning so toxic that not even the networks want to touch a political thriller right now? Or is it something else? Showtime had a big ticket item on its list, had shot a pilot, and just decided to trash it.

Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s thriller The President Is Missing has been canned. A cast that included David Oyelowo, Michael Rooker, Ann Dowd, Medina Senghore, Paul Adelstein, and Gina Gallego have been let go.

In the book a weak and aimless Vice President called James Martin (Oyelowo) is unexpectedly thrust into the hot seat in the Oval Office when President Jillian Stroud (Dowd) vanishes. He does not want to be there and this was never his goal. He was on the ticket for the ride.

He discovers a deep and dark secret in the corridors of power that threaten the entire planet and involve people inside the White House and beyond.

Cast member Dowd herself claims COVID-19 and current political events were behind the cancelation decision. In an interview with Variety she said:

“[Production] stopped midway and then because of the pandemic, the relevance of it, things needed to be changed in the writing because of what happens to the President. It just wouldn’t have worked. It would have had to have been re-conceived.”

Executive producers included Oyelowo, Clinton, Patterson, Bill Robinson, Leopoldo Gout, Christopher McQuarrie and Heather McQuarrie. No word on if it will be rested for a few years then picked up again.