Hannibal is the best show to ever air on NBC. How’s that for editorializing? It has amassed a cult following, including yours truly, but sadly it’s not a big enough following and NBC canceled the show on June 22. A few days later executive producer, Bryan Fuller, lit a beacon of hope for ‘Fannibals’ everywhere. He stated that another network could possibly pick up the show. The two main frontrunners being Netflix and Amazon
Well, you can take them off the list. Tweeting on Monday that both have passed on season 4 of the critically acclaimed serial killer drama.
— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) July 6, 2015
Whether those other possibilities are Hulu, Yahoo, or another network, remains to be seen.
Fuller has been pretty vocal about his ideas for season 4, some of which may have helped lead to the show’s cancellation. The obvious direction for season 4 would be developing the Clarice and Silence of the Lambs storyline, but obtaining the rights from MGM has been problematic for Fuller.
“Well, we tried to get Benjamin Raspail and Jame Gumb in the first season, so that we could tell that story and set up Silence of the Lambs. We tried to work out all manner of deals with MGM, like, ‘We’ll give you access to use the Hannibal Lecter character in your Silence of the Lambs spinoff show that you’re developing, if you give us, or let us rent, Gumb and Raspail.
“And their response was, ‘Under no circumstances, what’s ours is ours and what’s yours is yours.’ So we can only hope that they either change their mind, or there’s a new deal to be had that is mutually beneficial for both studios – something that would make it possible. So I’m going to keep trying on that, at every opportunity. They’ve already said no to me so many times that I’m not afraid of asking again!
“Clarice is such a special character and a very iconic one, both from the literature and especially, in terms of pop culture, from Jodie Foster’s fantastic performance. So it would be great to fold her into the Hannibal omelette, but time will tell.” (source)
This also raises the question… was the rights issue what helped put the nail in Hannibal’s coffin? Sure, the show was extremely graphic and the ratings were low, but that’s been the case since the first season. Maybe without the Silence of the Lambs story arch, NBC felt like the show wouldn’t be as successful in its fourth season. However, Fuller told EW that he has a radical idea for season 4 that wouldn’t involve Clarice and Silence of the Lambs:
Yes. Right now, we wouldn’t need Silence of the Lambs for season 4 and the direction that we’re heading. It was really a matter of making sure that we weren’t going to be hamstrung by not having them, and being like, “Oh shit! We don’t have Clarice. What do we do next?”
Unfortunately he didn’t elaborate further on the new direction. Whether his ideas for season 4 are strong enough to garner interest from other networks is still up in the air.