Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that there may have been a rights issue at the center of the decision to end the series as Fuller had wanted to introduce Clarice Starling in season four, with the rights to the character previously portrayed by Jodie Foster said to be unavailable. Producers Gaumont TV are currently exploring options to find another home for the series, with EP Martha DeLaurentiis confirming as much via Twitter.
“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 Cancelation Bear Chow ratings and images that would have shredded the eyeballs of lesser Standards & Practices enforcers,” Fuller said in a statement. “[NBC Entertainment exec] Jen Salke and her team have been fantastic partners and creatively supportive beyond measure.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.”
Added NBC in a 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 [producers] Gaumont and everyone involved in the show for their tireless efforts that have made Hannibal an incredible experience for audiences around the world.”
The drama starring Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen returned June 4 with 2.57 million total viewers before slipping to a series low the following week when only 1.66 million tuned in against competition from the NBA Finals. The series has been a hit with critics, who praised Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls) for pushing the boundaries of broadcast television with the show’s graphic and visually creative deaths.
Hannibal had been one of NBC’s fall-to-summer bridge series as more broadcasters continued to program originals year-round. NBC thus far has focused on imports and co-productions to fill its summer roster, while other networks like CBS focus on pricey sci-fi fare a la Under the Dome and the upcoming Zoo.
Fuller, meanwhile, has already lined up his next gig. Starz recently greenlit Neil Gaiman adaptation American Gods to series with Fuller serving as a co-showrunner on the urban fantasy novel that was previously in development at HBO. The move to cancel Hannibal ends Fuller’s relationship with NBC, where he previously produced a reboot of The Munsters, whose pricey series pilot ultimately aired as a Halloween movie after the project was scrapped.
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