NBC cancels Hannibal after three seasons.

They did it. Those bastards finally did it. Earlier today, NBC announced that in addition to hating Christmas and the sound of children’s laughter, it had canceled Hannibal. Since it began, the show’s never done very well in the ratings, despite being a pretty big hit with critics. If Hannibal had been like most other shows on television, it would have gotten axed a long time ago. What allowed it continue was the fact that it was an international co-production. Gaumont International, the television arm of French Gaumont Film Company, picks up the lion’s share of the show’s costs. Despite its ratings, NBC’s kept it on the air because it was barely costing them anything. That, and it gave studio execs some some sort of perverse pleasure to watch the Sword of Damocles hang over its fans year after year. Anyway, once the news came down, showrunner Fuller had this to say…

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.

NBC went on to say…

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.

Sad news, to be sure. But all hope is not lost. Like I said, the show’s ratings have been pretty bad from the very beginning. So even in its first season, there was a lot of talk about what the show would have done had the it been canceled much sooner. In an interview with Alan Sepinwall, Fuller said that he always knew the show would get a second season. Around this same time, rumors surfaced saying that Amazon was interested in picking up the show, should NBC decide to pass on it. It looks like some of that interest may still be there. The Dino DeLaurentiis Company, one of the production companies behind the show, had this to say after today’s news broke…

I’m too damn optimistic when it comes to this stuff — and I’ve been burned before — but with the show’s cult following, critical acclaim, and cheap price tag, I think it would be stranger if the show weren’t able to find a new home. Who knows if the show will be able to pull it off. If, for some reason, it doesn’t happen, I’m sure the internet will have no problem coming up with an endless amount of cannibal-themed headlines, expressing its displeasure.

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