Hoarders’ future is uncertain: shit

Hoarders concluded its 13-episode sixth season last night, and that could be the series’ last: its stars encouraged fans to watch, while A&E has found stronger ratings success with its scripted reality series Duck Dynasty, it’s not clear if the show is returning for a seventh season.

Judging by messages from the show’s recurring cast of therapists and organizers, it’s on the bubble. Robin Zasio posted on Facebook that watching the finale live matters, because “It makes a big difference in the ratings, that is, if you want another season……” Cory Chalmers wrote, “Let’s just hope for another season! Huge ratings always helps, so be sure to watch.”

Matt Paxton was more direct, writing, “We have not been picked up for a 7th season, so this could very well be the LAST episode of HOARDERS – EVER!” He encouraged people to let the network “know that you want another season of the show,” and clarified in a comment that “the show has NOT been canceled, it just hasn’t been renewed.”

Hopefully, the show will soon be renewed for a seventh season. If Hoarders ends up cancelled, that’ll be tragic. Besides being A&E’s best unscripted series, in part because it is actually unscripted, the show legitimately helps people–and not just those it features in its episodes. It has brought a mental disorder out of its closet and helped people understand that they and/or their loved ones are not alone; hoarding will soon be listed as a disorder in the DSM-V, not just be a component of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Some accuse the show of being exploitative, and the emotions are sometimes scarier than the mess–which is saying something for a show that this season featured liquified cats and feces carpeting. But while the images may be shocking, the show provides aftercare for its participants and works to genuinely help people who are often in a crisis situation. How many shows do that?

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.