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HBO Cancels ‘Enlightened’: ‘It was a very difficult decision’

HBO Cancels 'Enlightened': 'It was a very difficult decision'

Last night, Buzzfeed’s Kate Aurthur broke the news that “Enlightened” will not be back for a third season. HBO confirmed this soon after, releasing the following statement:

It was a very difficult decision. We’ve decided not to continue “Enlightened” for a third season. We’re proud of the show, and we look forward to working with Mike White and Laura Dern in the future.

It’s a sad outcome for a series that had, in its second season, found something exceptional and rare in its funny, melancholy portrait of Amy Jellicoe (a terrific Laura Dern), a woman in search of a grander and more meaningful life. But it also wasn’t unexpected — “Enlightened,” which had its season one order of 10 episodes knocked down to eight in season two, was living on borrowed time, its ratings low enough in its first year that the fact that it received a renewal at all was a pleasant surprise.

READ MORE: Mike White on Todd Haynes, Romanticizing Goodness and the Exquisite Awkwardness of ‘Enlightened’

Paired with “Girls” this year on Sunday nights, “Enlightened” didn’t seem to get any boost from Lena Dunham’s buzzier series despite the pair of shows sharing complicated and sometimes challenging heroines, with “Enlightened” averaging less than half the viewership of “Girls.” It’s certain that awareness of that precarious position led to season two’s graceful ending, which serves presciently well as a series finale. Here’s co-creator/writer/showrunner/star Mike White talking about that last episode:

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