When “Once Upon a Time” returns to ABC in a few weeks, it will be the beginning of the end for the show.

ABC has decided to close out the series with its seventh season, the network announced Tuesday. The show is currently on hiatus and will return to its Friday-night timeslot on March 2.

“Saying goodbye will be bittersweet, but ‘Once Upon a Time’ will forever be part of the ABC legacy, and we can’t wait for fans to join us in this epic final chapter,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey says in a statement.

“Once Upon a Time” went through a big creative shift this season following the departure of several original cast members, including Ginnfer Goodwin, Josh Dallas and Jennifer Morrison, at the end of Season 6. The show also moved from its long-time Sunday home to Fridays, where ratings have predictably suffered.

The series’ fall run averaged a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 2.49 million total viewers the night it aired. A week of delayed viewing pushed the numbers up to 1.1 and 3.79 million.

Even before the Friday move, however, ratings for “Once Upon a Time” were on a downward trend. Same-day ratings for Season 6 in 2016-17 were down 31.5 percent from 2015-16, which in turn had fallen 37 percent from Season 4.

“Lost” veterans Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis created “Once Upon a Time” and have stayed with the show throughout its run. On Twitter Tuesday, Horowitz posted a statement thanking the show’s cast and crew, ABC and fans of the show.

“[Fans’] fierce loyalty and devotion was the real magic behind ‘Once Upon a Time,'” he writes. “We hope they join us for these last few hours as we journey to the Enchanted Forest for one more adventure.”

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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