Amidst a number of cancellations announced by FOX, one of the latest casualties is the TV version of The Exorcist. The series ran on the channel for two seasons and was generally well reviewed by critics, but failed to garner high ratings. Creator/writer of the show Jeremy Slater (Death Note) took to social media to explain the situation and thank fans for their support.
This incarnation of The Exorcist first started in 2013 with Slater scribing the initial treatment, with FOX then eventually commissioning a full series. The first episode debuted on September 23, 2016, and starred Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels, and Geena Davis. It initially dealt with a demonic possession affecting a respected family in modern-day Chicago. Herrera played the faith-conflicted Father Tomas Ortega, with Daniels playing the renegade Father Marcus Keane. Although it wasn't immediately apparent until a massive mid-season twist, the story acted as a direct sequel to William Friedkin's 1973 classic film and William Peter Blatty's novel of the same name. Season 2 was ordered by FOX and continued the disturbing adventures of Ortega and Keane, as they journeyed to an island orphanage to confront another demon.
Both seasons of the show were critically well-received, and did have plenty of support in the genre community. Unfortunately this didn't translate into great ratings, with Season 2’s viewership dipping particularly low during the Friday night schedule. As reported by Deadline, The Exorcist has now been cancelled by the network. Slater took to Twitter to break the news and thank those that had supported the series during its run. In one of his posts he explains that he has no ill feeling towards the channel and thanks them for showing enough faith to go for a second season, as can be seen below;
I know it’s easy to get angry at Fox, but the reality is that we were the lowest-rated drama on any network and they still brought us back for a second season, because they loved the show. There are no bad guys in this scenario.— Jeremy Slater (@jerslater) May 11, 2018
Whilst the cancellation seemed almost inevitable, Slater and co-executive producer Sean Crouch had tentatively planned an overall story-arc that could have run for six or seven seasons, if the show had been allowed to run that long. As such, Season 2 had some plot-threads and questions left-hanging in the Season 2 finale that will in all likelihood never get answered. As well as the individual possessions there was also the backstory of demonic influences taking over the Vatican, the apparent possession of a series regular, and the dark prophecy that Keane gets at the climax.
As with most cancelled shows at the moment, there always exists the possibility that another channel or streaming company could pick it up or revive it, but this is all open to conjecture until the dust settles In the meantime, it's worth noting that The Exorcist wasn't just a straight rip-off of the film and tried to do something different with the property, a commendable ambition. It also had a number of great performances from the likes of Davis and John Cho, and provided some 20 hours of good horror drama. But beyond future reboots, this is probably the end of the road for Fathers Keane and Ortega.