Could 'Tyrant' Season 3 Move To Netflix If FX Cancels It? This Season Could End On A Cliffhanger
It has become something of a mantra among modern television audiences that, whenever someone's favorite show has been cancelled — or is about to be cancelled — the first question a person asks is whether or not Netflix will swoop in and save it. Given the ever-fracturing definition of "television" and its expansion to include streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, it's true that more shows than ever are being plucked from the path of the reaper's scythe. So fans of FX's Middle Eastern political drama Tyrant, which just ended its second season this week, are likely wondering: Could Netflix save Tyrant if FX cancels it? Update: FX announced, in a press release, that Tyrant is renewed for Season 3 on Oct. 8. Update 2: In another press release, FX announced that Tyrant Season 3 will premiere on July 6.
This is an important question to be asking, considering that a Season 3 renewal is not a sure thing. Tyrant's first season premiered to 2.1 million viewers, and by the end of its 10-episode run had averaged 1.55 million per episode. That number was low enough that the show was in danger of cancellation — but FX relieved fans put on edge by the Season 1 cliffhanger by granting the show a reprieve. However, Season 2 premiered to 1.06 million viewers, which is down a crucial half-million audience members from the 1.52 million people who tuned into the Season 1 finale. Although the season recovered a bit and managed to end its 12 episodes with an average of 1.18 million viewers, that's still a far cry from the 6.13 million people who watched the Season 4 premiere of American Horror Story on the same network.
If 1.55 million fans were barely enough to keep Tyrant alive for a second season, then 1.18 could be a death knell — especially for a series that hasn't picked up nearly as much buzz or awards recognition as its network brethren like Fargo, Louie, The Americans, and the aforementioned Horror Story. Unfortunately, fans will likely have to again suffer the prolonged uncertainly of another cliffhanger — spoilers! — Jamal being shot by his daughter-in-law Nusrat. Last year, FX didn't announce the show's verdict for almost a month after the season had ended; so it's safe to say we'll probably be waiting several weeks to hear the network's decision on Season 3.
Assuming that FX decides to pass on further episodes of Tyrant, how likely is it that the world's most popular streaming service will be interested in giving the show a second chance? Funnily enough, despite its reputation as a savior for cancelled shows, in the three years that Netflix has been streaming their own programs, only seven of those have been continuations, compared to 14 Netflix originals — not to mention dozens of kids shows, comedy specials, and documentary films. And of those seven continuations, three are animated Cartoon Network shows (DreamWorks Dragons, The Problem Solverz, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and one is a Canadian mockumentary (Trailer Park Boys).
Sure, Netflix famously became one of the first outlets to resurrect a beloved show when it rescued Arrested Development from the TV graveyard seven years after FOX had axed it. But in reality, the streaming service has only actually saved two adult American drama series in its entire history: AMC's The Killing , and A&E's Longmire. And given that one of those was being co-financed by Netflix before its cancellation (The Killing), the only fair comparison to Tyrant is Netflix's most recent acquisition, Longmire.
That Western crime drama lasted for three seasons on A&E before it was cancelled in Aug. of 2014; but it was averaging 3.52 million viewers per episode in its third year — over twice as many people as watched the most recent season of Tyrant. Given that Hulu, not Netflix, owns the streaming rights to the first two seasons of Tyrant, I'm gonna go ahead and say fans shouldn't be holding their breath for Netflix to come to the rescue. (It's the same reason why Netflix passed on picking up NBC's Hannibal , whose streaming rights are owned by Amazon.)
However, this does mean that Hulu might actually be the show's best bet of surviving. The website recently got into the continuation business itself, saving FOX's The Mindy Project when it was axed after Season 3. So, if the worst were to happen to Tyrant, perhaps fans would want to start a letter-writing campaign to save the show focused not on the go-to option of Netflix, but on Hulu instead.
Images: Kata Vermes/FX (2); Carole Segal/Netflix