Sorry Fannibals, the odds of "Hannibal" getting a fourth season are slim to none. Executive producer Bryan Fuller tweeted Monday letting fans know that Netflix and Amazon, the two streaming services that seemed the logical places for the canceled NBC series to turn, had passed on picking up the gory drama for another run. Fuller says he and his producing partners are still exploring other options, but what exactly are those options?
The tweet from Fuller came after repeated fan inquiries into the beloved cult show's fate.
— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) July 6, 2015
Production company DeLaurentiis echoed Fuller's optimism.
— DeLaurentiis Co (@DeLaurentiisCo) July 6, 2015
Fans keep hearing about other options, but what avenues are left for Fuller and his team?
The old school solution would be to court another broadcast network. However, "Hannibal" was already the artsiest show on the most willing-to-experiment network. It seems very unlikely that CBS, ABC or Fox would be able to find a home for the graphic violence of "Hannibal," especially considering the show's declining ratings.
As for cable -- and "Hannibal" has always felt more like a premiere cable show than a broadcast network drama -- a struggling cable channel could take a chance on "Hannibal" in pursuit of a Fannibal-fueled ratings boost. However, the violent nature of the content could limit the possibilities and the fact that production company Gaumont International recently released the "Hannibal" cast, including Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, from their contracts beyond Season 3 could make it hard to put a deal together.
As for streaming, losing Netflix and Amazon, the two current giants of the game, was a major blow. Other options like Hulu and Yahoo could be in play here, but the likely costs to give the cast new contracts and the budget to maintain the trademark production quality could prove too expensive. Plus, streaming services prefer to acquire shows that allow them to augment their back catalogs and the show's exclusive deal with Amazon for the distribution rights of the first three seasons could be a problem.
However, a perceived disadvantage could benefit the clinging-to-life series. Fuller has previously discussed how a downside to potential distributing partners for "Hannibal" is the fact that Fuller is committed to his new Starz series, "American Gods," noting that "Hannibal" Season 4 would not be able to commence production until Fuller had completed work on Season 1 of his new show.
In a constant and rapidly evolving media market, that delay could prove to be enough time for a new streaming service to emerge or for an existing media company to decide to pursue more ambitious content. Even music streaming service Spotify recently added video content, inking deals with major broadcast networks and cable channels. Perhaps when Fuller is available again, Spotify's battle with the recently debuted Apple Music could lead to them taking a stab at original video content -- remember when Netflix was just a mail-based movie rental service? It is a long shot, but maybe by the time Fuller finishes with "American Gods," a new buyer could be in the market for a prestige drama with a pre-dedicated fan base. Who would have called "Twin Peaks" returning on Showtime decades after its broadcast network finale?
There is still hope for fans, but they might have to be patient. In the meantime, "Hannibal" Season 3 continues Thursdays at 10 p.m. EDT on NBC.
Watch the promo for episode 6 of "Hannibal" Season 3 below: