NBC has renewed “Hannibal,” despite the show’s less-than-stellar second season ratings. The drop in viewership can be largely attributed to NBC’s decision to schedule the show at 10pm on Fridays – also known as the “Friday night death slot,” where networks tend to place shows on the brink of cancellation.
In recent years, however, networks have made efforts to leverage the death slot in their favor, and NBC seemed to be doing just that by pairing “Hannibal” with “Grimm.” Although both of these shows have cult success in common, the decision to put them back to back ended up backfiring due to the fact that they both reach out to radically different fan bases. Whereas “Grimm” is a fantasy procedural that targets a broad audience, “Hannibal” was produced with the aspirations to attract premium cable consumers.
Over the past decade, NBC has made a habit of mismanaging its new series – whether it be “Sean Saves the World,” “Smash” or “The Michael J. Fox Show.” The “Hannibal” scheduling blunder is no exception.
The decision to renew “Hannibal” isn’t much of an indicator of the network’s programming agenda. Rather, it speaks more to the show’s financing structure. NBC has very little at stake when it comes to “Hannibal,” as most of the financing comes from a combination of international sales and licensing deals assembled by Gaumont International Television.
We’ll see where “Hannibal” lands when NBC announces the remainder of its slate at its Upfronts presentation on Monday, May 12th.