Acclaimed TV drama Hannibal cancelled by NBC after three seasons

NBC is killing off Hannibal after three seasons of the critically acclaimed drama.
NBC is killing off Hannibal after three seasons of the critically acclaimed drama. PHOTO: AXN

NBC is killing off Hannibal after three seasons of the critically acclaimed drama.

The network said in a statement that they were "tremendously proud" of the television show, and that showrunner Bryan Fuller and his team of writers, producers and actors, "have brought a visual palette of storytelling that has been second to none in all of television - broadcast or cable".

NBC will still air all 10 episodes of the current season, which is running on Thursday nights in the United States at 10pm. Hannibal's June 11 episode, the second in this third season, reeled in 1.7 million viewers, an all-time low for the series, despite consistently rave reviews from critics and audiences. The season's final episode will be shown on September 3. The show stars Mads Mikkelsen in the lead and Gillian Anderson as his companion.

Fuller also had a statement prepared, saying that 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".

He 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."

Fuller, who is currently working on a much-anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods for Starz. had more to say in the wake of the show's cancellation, reported Entertainment Weekly. T

Together with the show's studio Gaumont International Television, he said that "all options" are being explored. Industry observers speculate that the company is "shopping" Hannibal to other networks or streaming companies in the hopes of continuing the series.

Fuller had previously told Entertainment Weekly that he had a "radical" story arc for a potential fourth season. He later took to social media to thank fans of the show, affectionately known as "Fannibals", with cryptic teasers on Twitter including: "We are investigating our options!" and "All is being explored".

Known for its lavish production values, sources say that the first year of the show cost NBC a licence fee to Gaumont of only US$750,000 per show, lower than most network dramas, and that it later feel to US$185,000 per episode for the current third season.

The TV series drew from the content of Thomas Harris' novels Red Dragon, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising. The Guardian said that its "violent imagery, often displaying corpses artfully arranged and waiting to be eaten by the eponymous antihero, pushed the envelope of what is permissible on network TV".

Emily Nussbaum, TV critic for The New Yorker, took to Twitter to express her unhappiness over the show's cancellation: "Hannibal cancelled?? The day I finally reviewed it? THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH EMOTICONS TO CONTAIN MY RAGE."

She wrote in her review of the show that it was a "macabre masterpiece, pure pleasure and audacity. With hints of David Cronenberg and Michael Mann, David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick, it has a formal ambition that is rare for television. It reflexively turns the ordinary into the alien and vice versa."