American Gods officially canceled, will not return for season 4

American Gods Season 3 -- Courtesy of STARZ
American Gods Season 3 -- Courtesy of STARZ /

Not even gods can live forever, apparently. Starz has officially canceled American Gods, its splashy adaptation of the popular Neil Gaiman novel of the same name.

Season 3 saw double-digit ratings declines, and the series never quite recovered from the critical dud that was season 2. Entertainment Weekly reports that American Gods saw multiplatform viewership decline 65 percent from season 1 to season 3, and those are the kinds of numbers that are just not sustainable long-term.

So the cancellation news isn’t entirely surprising, especially given that the show’s three-season run has been somewhat…let’s call it turbulent. The series was developed for television by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, with an original cast that included Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Orlando Jones, Emily Browning, Yetide Badaki, Bruce Langley, Crispin Glover, and many more.

Fuller and Green departed the show after its first season, amid reports of budget overages and rumors of conflict with Gaiman, who served as an executive producer, over their vision for the drama. (Season 1 was as much about the lore of the gods themselves as it was lead character Shadow Moon’s journey and made other several significant alterations to the source material.) They were eventually replaced by Jesse Alexander, who ran into his own backstage troubles almost repeatedly, and Charles “Chic” Eglee took over as showrunner.

This sort of behind-the-scenes chaos is never a good sign for any series and, as all this was going on, multiple cast members departed, including Kristin Chenoweth and Gillian Anderson. Star Orlando Jones claimed he was fired because new showrunner Eglee didn’t like his character, Mr. Nancy, whom he allegedly claimed sends  “the wrong message for black America.” Top all of that off with an extended delay between the series’ second and third seasons and you get what is essentially the perfect recipe for a huge mess. And, eventually, cancellation.

“Everyone at Starz is grateful to the dedicated cast and crew, and our partners at Fremantle who brought author and executive producer Neil Gaiman’s ever-relevant story to life that speaks to the cultural climate of our country,” a network spokesperson told Deadline this week.

All may not be entirely lost, however. According to Deadline, there is some hope that the God Squad might return for a TV movie or limited series event to wrap up the story presented in Gaiman’s novel. Though, since almost every show that ends abruptly these days seems to float that particular solution, it may or may not happen here.

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