‘Masters of Sex’ season 5: Is it possible for canceled Showtime series to end up on Netflix, somewhere else?
Earlier today, Showtime made a decision that was sad, but also not entirely surprising: They canceled “Masters of Sex” after four seasons on the air, ending the show with the characters of Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) being married.
Now that this has transpired, is it time to start looking elsewhere to see if someone else will pick up the show? If you look at places like a Hulu, an Amazon, or a Netflix, they’ve been keepers of many prestige series as of late; in particular, Netflix is now known for reviving shows like “Gilmore Girls” and “Arrested Development” to great acclaim.
However, it may be a little bit different in the case of this show. While popular, we don’t get the sense that the cult following is here en masse like it was with the two shows we just mentioned; also, the most-recent ratings for season 4 were far from stellar. They averaged in total around 450,000 viewers in live+same day airings, which was a drop in almost 24% from the third season. While we know that there are many more people who watch the show via DVR or streaming apps / on-demand services, this is a jumping-off point for ratings discussions and it’s far from a good one. This is a show that needs a strong footprint to convince another provider to give it a show.
Also, unfortunately it’s fallen off the map insofar as awards consideration goes, given that it didn’t receive much recognition for a polarizing third season and we don’t expect much to change for season 4, either. This is the sort of thing that can attract network suitors even to a low-rated show, since they view awards consideration as a way to build up a little bit more of a stronger footprint.
Is there still hope? Absolutely, since far crazier things have happened than a show of this quality getting picked up for a new home! If Sony Pictures TV is interested in looking at other avenues, maybe Netflix and Hulu in particular are strong possibilities. We don’t see another network picking it up on TV, especially given the limitations that its content would provide to many of them (i.e. the racy scenes would need to be toned down anywhere but an HBO, a Cinemax, or a Starz). As for Amazon, they’ve claimed in the past that they are only interested in developing new properties as opposed to picking up existing ones.
The best thing that you can do is tweet to various providers, write on their Facebook pages, and let them know via customer service that you’re interested in picking up the show. While sometimes this falls on deaf ears, a large enough movement can inspire some change.
For all of you who try, best of luck — we’ll see what happens. (Photo: Showtime.)