The end of the workweek was a night of new beginnings and a final farewell on primetime last night. The beginning was the return of Unforgettable (1.0/4) for the last six episodes of its second season on CBS. The Sony TV-produced procedural starring Poppy Montgomery and Dylan Walsh is in some ways, the show that will never die – having cancelled once and then brought back to life again in summer 2012 with a new pick up. Last night, however, Unforgettable took a hit in its latest return. Already renewed for a third season set to start in June, the show fell 23% last night from its Sunday July 28 Season 2 debut of last year. While even with its last show on September 8 last year, last night’s Unforgettable actually saw a small 4% total viewership rise from its Season 2 debut to an audience of 7.50 million. Back with their first originals since March 14, Hawaii Five-0 (1.3/5) and Blue Bloods (1.5/5) were down and up 7% respectively, with the latter the most watched show of the night with 11.40 million viewers.
UPDATED: NBC at the upfronts established a genre block on Friday from 9-11 PM with Grimm at 9 PM and Dracula, to be followed by pirate drama Crossbones in midseason. The network is keeping the block’s theme, but has now slotted Hannibal to succeed Dracula in the 10 PM time slot in midseason. (Hannibal’s first season aired on Thursday.) The 13-episode second season of Hannibal will debut after the Winter Olympics on February 28. There is no scheduling decision yet on Crossbones. From creator Bryan Fuller, Hannibal stars Mads Mikkelsen as brilliant psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lector, who is working with the FBI and gifted criminal profiler Will Graham, played by Hugh Dancy, to look into the mind of serial killers.
Halle Berry is set to executive produce Hannibal (working title), a miniseries about the great generals in antiquity — Hannibal Barca and his archrival Scipio Africanus — who went head-to-head in the Second Punic War. Oscar-nominated writer Jeffrey Caine (The Constant Gardener) is penning the script for the project, co-produced by A+E Studios and Red Arrow Entertainment. “Hannibal was not only the greatest African general to ever live, he may have been the greatest general, period,” said Berry. “His story is an intricate and captivating ride, and I’m thrilled to get this project off the ground with our partners at History.”
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of getting renewals for its series Hannibal on NBC and Hemlock Grove on Netflix, Gaumont International Television has signed a deal with Fox Broadcasting Co. Under the agreement, Gaumont and Fox will jointly develop two drama projects with at least one of them guaranteed to receive a 13-episode, straight-to-series order. The pact reunites GIT CEO Katie O’Connell with Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly, who appointed her as head of drama at NBC seven years ago, and with Fox’s head of drama Terence Carter, who was member of O’Connell’s team at NBC.
NBC‘s Hannibal ended its rookie season on a cliffhanger with FBI investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) on the wrong side of the bars, accused of murder. Exec producer Bryan Fuller revealed Thursday at Comic-Con that the crime series’ second season will return in a two-parter followed by a trial in Episode 3. “We have the season arc crafted, and it’s a doozy,” Fuller teased to a packed ballroom. “We just finished breaking Episode 3, and we are breaking Episode 4 now.” The Season 2 openers will act as a pseudo pilot, Fuller said, reintroducing characters who now find themselves in much different places. “Will knows something no one else knows, and it’s a great place to put a character,” Fuller said. “One of the things I was most excited about in Season 2 was seeing Will Graham hit rock bottom.”
Related: ‘Dexter’ Says Goodbye To Comic-Con
Fans were out in full force to support the series, which wrapped its freshman season down in the ratings. In its first Comic-Con showing since debuting in April (Hannibal had a pre-premiere appearance last year), the show had fans in full Hannibal cosplay turn up at the panel. Star Dancy joined Fuller, exec producer and series director David Slade, and producer Martha De Laurentiis onstage for a panel chat following a gory “amuse bouche” highlights reel. The recap was a reminder of how Hannibal routinely depicts some of the most extreme graphic kills on broadcast TV. Fuller says network suits rarely object. Except on the Season 1 episode “Coquilles,” in which a killer mutilates his victims into angels to watch over him in his sleep. “We had two people who were nude and we saw their buttocks,” Fuller said. “They were dead, they were flayed open, and cracked in many ways. Their butt crack was the least offensive of the ones they were sporting, [but] the network said no. … I asked why, because of the exposed spine and muscle tissue and flayed skin? I said, ‘What if we fill the butt cracks with blood so you can’t see them?’ They said OK.”
More than two weeks after its upfront presentation, NBC has decided the fate of its last remaining bubble series, giving drama Hannibal a 13-episode second-season renewal for a return next midseason or later. The series, based on the characters from Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon, was developed for television by Bryan Fuller, who executive produces. “We’re so proud of Bryan’s vision for a show that is richly textured, psychologically complex, and very compelling,” NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said. “There are many great stories still to be told.”
Hannibal got off to a solid ratings start and was in serious contention for an early renewal. The numbers eventually tapered off, and NBC put the renewal decision on hold. Hannibal was well reviewed, and there overtures from at least one cable network in case NBC passed on a second season. Additionally, Amazon, which carries repeats of the show, had expressed serious interest in taking it on. Hannibal, from Gaumont International Television, is produced under a different model at a license fee that is a fraction of what dramas with similar production values cost.