On Thursday, reality TV series “Born This Way,” which features a cast of young adults with Down syndrome, announced it will air its final episode in December.
“Born This Way” follows seven adults with Down syndrome as they navigate finding employment, relationships and finding independence. The fourth season of the series aired in 2018 and concluded with the marriage of cast members Cristina Sanz and Angel Callahan. “Born This Way” earned an Emmy in 2016 for Best Outstanding Unstructured Reality Series, the first cast of people with Down syndrome to ever win an Emmy.
The show was celebrated by the Down syndrome and disability communities for its relatability and positive representation of people with disabilities. Cast member Sean McElwee‘s mom, Sandra McElwee, shared on The Mighty how “Born This Way” helped pave the way to provide new opportunities for people with disabilities.
“Along with the risks the parents of ‘Born This Way’ encourage their adults to take, the show has inspired other families to remove limits and support their children’s and adult’s dreams,” McElwee wrote. “But the show has also inspired many typical people to give people with Down syndrome a chance and remove the prejudices they previously held.”
A press release announcing the end of the series revealed the show’s final run will include a six-part digital series and a one-hour special episode in December. During this special season finale, the cast — Sanz, Callahan, McElwee, Rachel Osterbach, John Tucker, Steven Clark, Megan Bomgaars and Elena Ashmore — will share what they have learned on their four-year journey together as well as how “Born This Way” impacted the Down syndrome community.
“It’s not often that you get to make television like ‘Born This Way’ which has had such a positive impact on the world,” the show’s executive producer Jonathan Murray said in a press release. He added:
The show unquestionably changed how society views people with Down syndrome and how people with Down syndrome see themselves. It has shown that no one should have to live with artificial limits placed upon them and all of us, no matter what challenges we face, want the same things — independence, a chance for meaningful employment and a chance to contribute to our families and communities.
The one-hour series finale will air on A&E Network in late 2019, though a specific air date has yet to be announced.