There was a bloodbath over at ABC on Thursday, with Castle," "Nashville," "Agent Carter," "The Muppets," "Galavant," and "The Family."

"Castle"'s cancellation seems especially shocking in light of recent dramatic events -- behind the scenes, that is. The series infamously booted co-lead Stana Katic last month, telling her she would not be coming back should the show receive a season nine renewal. Fellow original cast member Tamala Jones was also given her walking papers; the moves were seen as a cost-cutting measure, in the hopes that saving some money (and gearing up for a shorter, 13-episode season nine) would ensure renewal.

But apparently new ABC head honcho Channing Dungey is opting for a fresh start in her recently-assumed role, and that means making some big changes at the network. According to Deadline, "Castle" shot an alternate season eight ending that could also serve as a series finale, and should hopefully leave Beckett (Katic) alive alongside Castle (Nathan Fillion, who had worked out a deal to return for a potential season nine). It airs on May 16.

Dungey's strong hand didn't stop there. Veteran country music drama "Nashville" also got the axe, with its upcoming season four finale (which airs on May 25) set to be its swan song. Deadline reports that studio Lionsgate TV is shopping it around to other networks, but it seems unlikely that the costly show -- which didn't do great in live ratings, but received a nice bump on DVR viewings -- will get a pickup elsewhere.

"Nashville" was another ABC series that did lots of behind-the-scenes maneuvering to ensure an additional season, with Emmy-winning producing team Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick ("My So-Called Life," "thirtysomething," "Once and Again") set to swoop in and serve as showrunners on a potential season five (and already working with writers to break stories for said season, according to Deadline). Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

As for the other cancellations, it came down to what's been plaguing so many shows these days: Low ratings. And while previous ABC president Paul Lee was a fan and champion of sophomore Marvel show "Agent Carter," freshman Disney comedy "The Muppets," quirky two-season musical "Galavant," and midseason drama "The Family," Dungey apparently wasn't willing to be patient with those shows anymore.

There's at least a silver lining for "Agent Carter" star Hayley Atwell: She's already shot another pilot for the network, called "Conviction," and ABC has picked it up, so she won't be leaving television screens entirely.

And in other good news, renewals came in for a handful of other series that were on the bubble, including the latest Shondaland show "The Catch," freshman comedies "The Real O'Neals" and "Dr. Ken," and acclaimed anthology series "American Crime." (Long-running sitcom "Last Man Standing" is still awaiting renewal, pending negotiations with studio 20th Century Fox.)

Here's hoping fans of the cancelled series can get through this difficult time. We're sending you lots of virtual hugs.

[via: Deadline, Deadline, Deadline, Variety]

Photo credit: ABC/Bob D'Amico