For the last 3 years, a small but loyal audience has found itself enthralled by Bryan Fuller’s take on one of media’s most infamous serial killers, in the form of Hannibal. However, the ratings for the show have never been stellar, and after a hail-mary attempt to take the show’s numbers and spin them into summer success, the worst has finally come.
In an official statement released by the network, it’s been confirmed that NBC will not be ordering another season of Hannibal to the small screen. The show is (at the time of writing this) only a few episode into its third season, so "Fannibals" for certain have more time left, to enjoy exploring the series' often nightmarish and strange universe (as NBC has already confirmed that the current season of the show will continue airing as planned).
Here is the official NBC statement, regarding the cancellation of Hannibal:
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.
Showrunner Bryan Fuller has issued his own statement on the matter:
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. 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.
The network has, admittedly, been more then patient with the series when it came to ratings, and the summer move for Hannibal season three was NBC's last shot at spinning the show’s audience into a hit (3 million viewers looks a lot better in the summer than it does in the spring). Sadly, the series has only ended up dropping in ratings, despite a fanbase that said it would follow the program anywhere. This is what led to NBC’s decision.
However, while a blow, all is not lost for everyone’s favorite cannibal. In fact, the DeLaurentiis Co. has already Tweeted that "others have expressed interesting in partnering with us" to keep Hannibal going.
This is the kind of show that often gets saved by another outlet, plain and simple. The real reason NBC had to cancel the series is because it wasn’t an owner, it was the U.S. licensor. The ownership title actually falls to Gaurmont International Television, and Netflix has worked with Gaurmont before on Hemlock Grove.
At the moment, though, Amazon holds the exclusive streaming rights to Hannibal. If anyone’s going to save it, it’s going to be them. In addition, Hannibal is exactly the kind of series the streamer needs right now. It’s currently devoid of any real stylish genre content. While it managed to land itself some acclaim thanks to Transparent, it still hasn’t found itself that vocal fan-base that can keep a show alive for years. The hope was that series, for them, would be The Man in the High Castle, but who’s to say the network has to wait that long?
The short of it: Amazon has every reason to keep Hannibal alive, and this writer would say there's a good chance they in fact do, and sooner rather than later. Either way, Fuller has already found a new project to devote his attention to, in the shape of Starz' Neil Gaiman TV series adaptation American Gods (which is set to feature Fuller as co-showrunner).
Hannibal season three will continue to air on Thursdays on NBC, as previously scheduled. We'll keep you updated on the show's future thereafter, as more information is made available.