That time of year has come again, when the broadcast networks decide the future of their programming, and this year the fate of FOX’s The Exorcist remains undecided. Unfortunately, it’s a familiar position for the series to be in, as word on the renewal for season 2 came much later than expected. Still, the horror series from executive producer Jeremy Slater managed to bring the principle cast of Ben Daniels, Alfonso Herrera, and Kurt Egyiawan back, while shifting locales and the supporting cast almost entirely.
The result was a strong second go-round that hinted at the show’s ability to go pretty much anywhere it wanted in future seasons, exploring an ongoing conspiracy wherein the Catholic Church had been infiltrated at the highest levels by demons from hell. It was a such a strong season creatively that the only thing stopping The Exorcist from delivering its ambitious storyline was a lack of support from viewers. And while the show apparently found an audience, it sounds as though that’s not enough to keep it from the bubble, putting the idea of The Exorcist season 3 in question.
The news comes from FOX Television Group CEO Gary Newman, who, in a recent interview with Deadline spoke on a number of the network’s series that are still waiting news on future seasons. Newman touched on everything from Gotham to Last Man on Earth to LA to Vegas, and even the possibility of a new installment in the 24 franchise. And while he was quick to praise the efforts of Slater and his team on The Exorcist, he confirms it’s “clearly a show that’s on the bubble.”
Finger pointing as to what’s kept the show from reaching a larger audience will no doubt turn first to its placement on Friday nights, which Newman admits was “tough for that show.” But other genre series with similarly dark tones have done well on Fridays, like FOX’s own The X-Files — though that was more than 20 years ago when the television landscape was remarkably different. At any rate, Newman addressed the show’s viewership by saying:
“We had hoped that we would be able to tap into a moviegoing crowd who didn’t want to go out to the movies… and we did get some viewership. I thought the show was incredibly well produced, the stories were great.”
If the series were to come back, it would be interesting to see it placed somewhere else on the schedule, in the hopes that the good word of mouth surrounding the show might encourage more viewers to check it out on, say, a Monday or Wednesday night. As it stands, the show’s future isn’t too encouraging, which is unfortunate, as The Exorcist season 2 ended in such a way that, while it could be viewed as a series finale, it also pointed to some exciting avenues that could be explored in the future.
The Exorcist seasons 1 & 2 are available to stream on Hulu.