After three succulent seasons of defying the ratings odds, Hannibal won't be back for a fourth course.
NBC has officially announced that Hannibal has been canceled, according to TV Line. The show's current third season will be its last, with the finale scheduled to air in August. Showrunner Bryan Fuller said in a statement:
"NBC has allowed us to craft a television series that no other broadcast network would have dared, and kept us on the air for three seasons despite Cancellation Bear Chow ratings and images that would have shredded the eyeballs of lesser Standards & Practices enforcers. [NBC president] Jen Salke and her team have been fantastic partners and creatively supportive beyond measure."
Fuller, whose next job is adapting Neil Gaiman's American Gods for Starz, added:
“Hannibal is finishing his last course at NBC’s table this summer, but a hungry cannibal can always dine again. And personally, I look forward to my next meal with NBC.”
Perhaps to acknowledge the high regard in which the perpetually low-rated show has been held over these last three years, NBC also issued its own statement:
"We have been tremendously proud of Hannibal over its three seasons. Bryan and his team of writers and producers, as well as our incredible actors, have brought a visual palette of storytelling that has been second to none in all of television -- broadcast or cable. We thank Gaumont and everyone involved in the show for their tireless efforts that have made Hannibal an incredible experience for audiences around the world."
The news can hardly come as a surprise, and the truth is that Mads Mikkelsen's fantastic intrepretation of Dr. Hannibal Lecter was allowed to continue preparing his macabre meals long past when most series with the same ratings would have been consigned to the kitchen garbage disposal.
The sheer quality of the show in all departments -- it was one of the most beautiful programs ever mounted on broadcast television, not to mention one of the most gruesome -- as well as a loyal if small fan base, are what kept Hannibal going all this time. But it was sadly going in the wrong direction: The June 11 episode scored a 0.5 in the demo and was watched by just 1.7 million viewers (a series low).
So even though they are part of Blastr's corporate family too, this is an honest call not to be too harsh on NBC. Hannibal got every chance in the world, which is reflected in Fuller's own statement. Sure, we'll never get to see how the series might have adapted the Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs novels, but perhaps that's not such a bad thing either.
UPDATE: Hannibal may be leaving NBC, but the show may not be quite dead yet. The production company behind the series tweeted the following shortly after the news of the cancellation broke:
Second, we are exploring other options for future seasons. #Hannibal— DeLaurentiis Co (@DeLaurentiisCo) June 22, 2015
#Hannibal was always in danger of cancellation due to subject matter, and others have expressed interest in partnering with us.— DeLaurentiis Co (@DeLaurentiisCo) June 22, 2015
Amazon Prime is currently streaming the first two seasons of the show, so that outlet may be a natural first choice as a new home for future seasons. Of course there's also Netflix and all the other new options available these days to make sure that a "hungry cannibal" can in fact "dine again."
Sound off on the end of Hannibal below and where/if you think the show can continue.