Bryan Fuller’s beautiful, operatic, insane, disturbing and wonderful “Hannibal” left us after three seasons and with an ending that will be talked about for many years to come.
The reasons for the cancellation are fairly clear – ratings. It was a critically lauded and often experimental series that should have been on cable but was on NBC. The fanbase was very loyal but also small, and by the time of the third season the ratings were just too low for even NBC to ignore.
The hope was a streaming service would pick it up which it didn’t, and now those involved have moved onto other things. This week, the show’s executive producer Martha De Laurentiis penned an op-ed in The Hill about its cancellation and put the blame on one thing – piracy. Unlike shows like “The Walking Dead” or “Game of Thrones” which have massive Niesen viewing figures, with “Hannibal” ratings were so low that every point counted and so illegal downloads had much more of an impact:
“When NBC decided not to renew ‘Hannibal’ for a fourth season – a show on which I served as executive producer – it wasn’t much of a leap to connect its fate with the fact that the show was ranked as the fifth-most illegally downloaded show in 2013. When nearly one-third of the audience is coming from pirated sites – despite the fact that a legitimate download for each episode was available the following day – you don’t have to know calculus to do the math. If a show is stolen, it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to fairly compensate a crew and keep a series in production.
…Did pirates kill ‘Hannibal’? Unfortunately, that is a cliffhanger that might last for a while. With more than two million viewers watching our show illegally, it’s hard not to think online pirates were, at the very least, partly responsible for hundreds of crew members losing their jobs and millions of fans – who watched the show legitimately – mourning the loss of a beloved program.”
Chances of the return of “Hannibal” seem very slim at best. Showrunner Bryan Fuller has now moved onto other things, serving as producer on both Starz’ “American Gods” and CBS’ upcoming “Star Trek” TV series.