Friday, 9 May 2014

NBC renew HANNIBAL for season 3

Friday, 9 May 2014

I could have mentioned this in the "asides" of tomorrow's review, but I think it deserves its own post. NBC have wisely agreed to renew Hannibal for a third season. I say "wisely", but in terms of ratings the show has never performed strongly. Airing on Friday nights, it's averaging about 3.6m viewers overall (factoring in DVR-recorded playbacks over the week).

Ordinarily, that would lead to cancellation for most shows, but luckily for fans Hannibal is the product of an atypical production model. European production company Gaumont International Television finance a significant proportion of the show's budget, and Hannibal is successful enough overseas that NBC's blessing isn't the most important thing to consider. If they cancelled it, Gaumont would likely approach other broadcasters or online services.

Plus, these days television shows are longer term investments. Hannibal may not be very popular now, but neither was Breaking Bad until season 4—when word-of-mouth reached critical mass as people accessed it via Netflix and caught up. And look how that turned out for AMC's darling: a record-breaking final season, worldwide acclaim, and a legacy few shows could ever hope to achieve.

Will Hannibal go the same route? Maybe, although it's a very different show and perhaps only appeals to a smaller niche. But who knows what delights await us, as creator Bryan Fuller approaches the seasons where his TV show will portray events more familiar to audiences who saw the movies Manhunter and The Silence of the Lambs. Maybe if the show manages to get the rights to use Clarice Starling's iconic character, interest will naturally boom?

Whatever happens, we can be grateful for a third season next year. And if you're one of the people who haven't seen Hannibal yet, please buy the season 1 box-set and fall under its insidious spell...