Starz drops Arthurian series because of “significant production challenges”
In a somewhat surprising move, US cable network Starz has cancelled Camelot after just one season, citing “significant production challenges”. Surprising because, “significant production challenges” does not seem to be a euphemism for “it was tanking in the ratings.” In fact, the show, which set a Starz record for the ratings of its two-hour finale (1.13 million), had barely shed any viewers over its run. After a mid-season slump in viewers, its last few episodes had seen an upswing in ratings and its season finale finished with the second highest figure of the run.
Camelot was also doing well for Channel 4 in the UK, where it was getting even bigger viewing figures than in the US. The two-hour UK premiere nabbed 3.21 million viewers and while in its second week the figures fell to 2.32 million, this is still a very good figure for a Channel 4 drama.
Deadline reports that scheduling conflicts with some of the actors were part of the problem, but that still seems like an odd excuse. US shows tend to book in actors with options for multi-season contracts in case they’re picked up for further seasons; why would Camelot be any different? Maybe the show was simply proving too expensive.
Intriguingly, showrunner Chris Chibnall claimed on his Twitter feed that the news was a complete surprise to him: “Those asking about Camelot: I’ve not heard official word. I wasn’t available to do S2 so not in the loop: other writers developing it… that’s a shame if true. I wasn’t writing S2, cos I’m doing other projects, but sad for friends on the show & the new writers.”
So far there has been no mention of the possibility of the show being shopped around other networks, but you have to wonder if the producers are considering this option.