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‘Hannibal’ Producer Martha De Laurentiis Says Piracy Helped Kill The Show

'Hannibal' Producer Martha De Laurentiis Says Piracy Helped Kill The Show

There are those who will argue that Bryan Fuller’s mad, operatic “Hannibal” ended exactly as it should have, even though it probably could have gone for at least another season or two. The reasons for the show’s cancellation have been widely debated among fans but it likely didn’t help that the self-consciously arty and visually transgressive (and yes, brilliant) work of art was juggled between timeslots by NBC, who aired it Thursday nights during the first season, moved it to Fridays to season two, and then tossed it between Thursday and Saturday for the third. While Fuller has teased “Hannibal” fanatics with ideas for what a potential fourth season would entail, it unfortunately does not appear that we’ll be playing catch-up with everyone’s favorite people-eating psychologist on the small screen any time soon.

READ MORE: How The Surprising Moral Strength Of ‘Hannibal’ Helps To Make It One Of TV’s Best Dramas

One of the show’s producers, Martha De Laurentiis, has just recently weighed in on the show’s cancellation. She’s penned an op-ed in The Hill, one that more or less blames the untimely end of “Hannibal” on internet piracy. This is troubling, if not exactly surprising. Of course, piracy – aside from being a horrible disservice to the people who actually make the movies and shows we all watch – is a crippling problem in the world of film financing. Empirically, it’s impossible to financially compensate the cast and crew of a large production if the majority of your viewership is watching your show on their laptop. De Laurentiis goes on to drive this point home, stating:

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….

….Did pirates kill “Hannibal”? Unfortunately, that is a cliffhanger that might last for a while. With more than 2 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.

Makes sense, right? While future of “Hannibal” as a cult show has all but been cemented, it’s a shame for many that the unholy alliance of Dr. Lecter and Will Graham has (for now) come to an end. Fuller’s fanbase can rest assured that the showrunner is definitely staying busy: remember, he’s still adapting Neil Gaiman’s novel “American Gods” for the Starz network, and there’s also, of course, his upcoming take on “Star Trek.” Still, De Laurentiis’ words are a sobering reminder that art has a cost, and that it must be upheld and preserved – that it is not just something to consume blindly.

Thoughts? Should the demise of “Hannibal” be laid at the feet of pirates, or were other factors involved? Let us know below.

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Ty Yob

How exactly does one ‘pirate’ a network TV show that’s shown over the air for free, paid for by advertising?


I remember DVRing the show, and it moving all over the damn place. Friday, then Thursday, then Saturday. Sorry, tonight Dateline is two hours long. It’s a shitty exude to blame illegal downloading when the network butchers the timeslot the way it did.


She completely fails to mention that most of the people who pirated the show, were situated in all kinds of different countries where the show wasn’t aired on any channel, and thus whether or not they pirated the show had absolutely no effect on the ratings. She even claims there was a "legitimate download for each episode was available the following day" when she knows perfectly well that those downloads were limited by region, and millions of people could not pay to see the show even if they tried. This is such stereotypical arrogant American attitude, it’s rather revolting. She takes for granted that everyone on the internet must be American, because to her, the world consists only of America. Blah.

Major Kalas

I understand that people who are professionally involved with making the show have concerns about downloading. But then, isn’t actually EVERYTHING being pirated these days?


Also, why wait the following day to upload the new episode? It should be available simultaneously or immediately following. When people are serious fans they want access as soon as it’s available, and if they can get that elsewhere that’s where they’ll go.


NBC killed Hannibal. Fans of the show did more to promote it than the network ever did – and that includes the pirates. Blaming the fans (and that’s who the pirates are) is complete BS.


What about viewers who doesn’t live in USA. In Spain there is not another way to see the show and we also count on torrent download rates. Better piracy viewera and buzz on the net than no viewers at all.


Piracy is an easy scapegoat. It’s time for networks to get with the times and allow people to watch their favorite shows when they want to watch them. Until that happens, piracy will not go away.


When a show keeps changing timeslots on tv, you pretty much ask your viewers to just download it and watch it at their own time.

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