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.
The new gothic drama premiered Thursday to OK ratings but will have another chance to audience-build on April 10. That’s when NBC will repeat the premiere of Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal Lecter series, temporarily filling Chicago Fire‘s Wednesday 10 PM slot. Hannibal‘s second episode airs the following …
NBC’s ‘Hannibal’ To Screen At WonderCon, Plus Previews Of ‘Hemlock Grove’, ‘Pacific Rim’, ‘Mortal Instruments’, ‘Hobbit 2′ & More
Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor.
Fans will get their first look at how Mads Mikkelsen measures up to Anthony Hopkins and Brian Cox when NBC screens the first two episodes of Hannibal later this month at WonderCon 2013. And Netflix will have its upcoming murder mystery series Hemlock Grove in advance of the show’s April premiere. Those and a host of other geeky confections were unveiled when the annual convention, landing March 29-31 in Anaheim, revealed the full programming schedule that boasts a heavy TV and film presence hinting of things to come later this year in San Diego (as well as some that have been there before).
Netflix will screen footage from Hemlock Grove on Friday with executive producer Eli Roth and cast including Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, Penelope Mitchell and others in attendance. The same day Warner Bros plans to premiere the direct-to-DVD animated film Superman: Unbound, followed the next day with a panel shared with Legendary pictures featuring Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro and New Line Cinema’s The Conjuring director James Wan. The same day, Sony hosts a huge panel of its own to showcase three upcoming films: Novelist Cassandra Clare, director Harald Zwart and stars Lily Collins, Kevin Zegers, and Jamie Campbell Bower will preview The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; Bruce Campbell will join director Fede Alvarez and stars Jane Levy and Jessica Lucas to talk about the upcoming Evil Dead remake that screened at SXSW; and Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson will present a new trailer for This Is The End. On Sunday, there’s a panel discussion of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing that also screened at SXSW, while J.R.R. Tolkien fan site Theonering.net will host a sneak peak of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.