Here's the real reason why Fox cancelled The Passage
While the likes of NCIS and Grey's Anatomy have waaay surpassed the ten-season mark, other shows haven't enjoyed the same success. Both Lethal Weapon and Santa Clarita Diet were canned after just three seasons earlier this year, along with One Day at a Time (three seasons), Humans (three seasons), The Tick (two seasons), and countless others.
But while those cancellations felt premature, The Passage fared worse.
Fox announced back in May that a second season of the vampire-thriller, based on Justin Cronin's novel of the same name, would not be going ahead.
Show leads Saniyya Sidney (Amy) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Brad) both shared the news on social media, along with their disappointment.
In life, some news isn’t easy to hear. But it’s always important to end each chapter on the highest note. It’s the best way to begin the new. So in saying good bye to “The Passage,” I wish to thank FOX & Scott Free Productions for your steadfast support of me the second I walked through the door. To our wonderful creator Liz Heldens for watching over me & entrusting me in this incredible role. Our dynamic directors Jason Ensler & Marcos Siega for giving me room to play. Our incredible cast & crew for making every day one to be proud of. To the extraordinary Justin Cronin, my deepest gratitude for writing the magnificent Amy. She will always have my heart & is one of my greatest blessings. A piece of her will live in every character I play. To our incredible fans, your kind words & love made this experience one that I will cherish forever. To my family for being my rock, teaching me the value of a strong work ethic & the importance of passionately pursuing my dreams. To my wonderful team for their infinite belief in me & protective guidance. We have some awesome things in the works!!! I hope you all will follow me on the next steps of my career. And to my beloved Mark Paul Gosselaar, you will always be “The Agent.” ❤️🧛🏻♀️⭐️ #thepassage #amybellafonte
A post shared by Saniyya Sidney (@saniyyasidney) on May 10, 2019 at 11:55am PDT
Hello, friends. Unfortunately, I have some sad news. We just found out that The Passage won’t be coming back for another season. I can’t begin to tell you what a joy it was to work on this show. I was so lucky to work with hundreds of talented crew members and alongside a world class cast. I am truly saddened that we won’t be able to bring you the rest of this story, but we are so grateful that you took this journey with us. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart and I can’t wait for our paths to cross again.
A post shared by Mark-Paul Gosselaar (@mpgosselaar) on May 10, 2019 at 9:51am PDT
There was certainly scope to continue the story. Cronin's 'The Passage' is the first in a trilogy, and creator Liz Heldens had previously spoken about where she planned to take the show next.
"[Season two] will pick up where the book does, and it'll be 97 years in the future," she told TV Line.
"And then we'll pick up our characters along the way and find out what has happened to Richards and Babcock over the past hundred years. What arrangement have they made to survive? Where's Lear? Where's Wolgast? Where's Amy? We're excited."
Speaking to Variety about the character of Amy, she said, "In season two... she's got one foot in one world and one foot in the other one, and she is basically a product of her mother and her relationship with [Brad] Wolgast. She is making her world better, but it is always going to be a struggle with her."
She added: "Jumping 100 years in the future [at the end of season one] and all of the questions that raises is one of the better cliffhangers of my career. It just seemed like such a huge, game-changing reset."
But passion for a project coupled with numerous avenues for plot exploration aren't enough to guarantee renewal.
Vast numbers of people tuning in, however, usually is.
While the show debuted back in January with a respectable audience of 5.2 million viewers, that figure fell practically every week with episode ten, the season finale, racking up just over three million viewers.
Clearly the magic was wearing off, and the big dogs at Fox were concerned that a second season would see an even greater decline.
But while its falling popularity was undoubtedly an issue, Fox finds itself in a unique position.
Last year, The Hollywood Reporter claimed that the network had signed a five-year deal to broadcast NFL's Thursday Night Football, which would bring in $550 million per year. When you're in charge of balancing the books, that's a difficult offer to refuse.
Fox also owns rights to Major League Baseball postseason games, and there's WWE SmackDown Live on Fridays, which leaves the network with a significantly truncated schedule.
You might have been left scratching your head when the likes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which now lives on NBC) and Lucifer (now streaming on Netflix) were cancelled, but there simply aren't enough hours in the day to air everything – and with Fox announcing that it had also ordered four brand new pilots to series before The Passage's cancellation was announced – Prodigal Son, neXt, Deputy, and an untitled Annie Weisman/Jason Katims drama – the writing was on the wall.
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