Despite critical praise and strong ratings, CBS abruptly cancelled the show at the end of its fourth season. In her autobiography, Cybill Shepherd attributes this to increasing backstage tensions between the cast and crew, as well as the network's displeasure with the show's feminist leanings.
During a 2018 interview on SiriusXM's The Michelle Collins Show, Cybill Shepherd said that this show was abruptly canceled, despite its popularity, because she refused to have sex with CBS executive Les Moonves. She recounted that he invited her to a private dinner at which he complained that "his wife didn't turn him on, some mistress didn't turn him on," and then he invited her to come home with him. She refused, and "quite shortly" afterward, the showrunners started getting executive notes forbidding them to discuss topics (such as menstruation and menopause) that were previously fine, and soon after that the show was canceled. This was one of many accusations of sexual misconduct and assault levied against Moonves in 2018.
According to Chuck Lorre, Alan Ball and Cybill Shepherd herself, Shepherd was uneasy with the attention and awards Christine Baranski received during the show's first season. Ultimately, over the course of four years, it was Shepherd who earned the respect of her peers and audiences through her taking on timely women's issues and fearlessness in forsaking vanity for humor, as much of the show's comedy sprang from the often humiliating plights of an aging actress.
According to Alan Ball, Cybill Shepherd demurred from storylines that depicted her character in a negative light. Conversely, in the tradition of Lucille Ball, she dove enthusiastically into any physical situation the show called for, with little concern over her aesthetic appearance.
This show would regularly steal storylines directly from previously aired episodes from the Ellen (1994) sitcom. Oftentimes, Cybill even copied everything almost scene-by-scene, such as the episode where Ellen comes home with her friend to a robbery in progress in her apartment, (so does Cybill with Maryanne in tow), takes a self-defense class, buys a male mannequin as crime prevention to sit on her couch etc. This would go on for almost the entire run of the series.
This show initially drew heavily from the BBC series Absolutely Fabulous (1992), after the audience embrace of irreverent, non-traditional female characters.
The grand piano in the living room set was more than an aesthetic decoration. Alicia Witt, who portrayed Zoey, had been a child prodigy and is frequently shown playing the piano, minus off-stage dubbing, during the run of the series.
Tom Wopat disappeared as a series regular after twenty-two episodes, but he would return sporadically throughout the run.
For all of its humor, the series offers a brutally honest depiction of what is termed a 'lifer' in show business -- a performer who stays the course no matter what slings and arrows indignity throws at her. This philosophy -- and Cybill Shepherd's own distinctive brand of self-deprecation -- is embodied by the show's clever 'Hollywood Walk of Stars' title sequence, wherein the feet of pedestrians avoid stepping on the names of the gold-plated actresses (all blonde) on the pavement, culminating in a skateboarder gracefully eluding Jean Harlow's plate -- only to skate head-long through Cybill's, handwritten in colored chalk on an empty slab in lieu of the recognition she has yet to receive.