Squids ripping airplanes in half, giant invisible snakes, mass human sterilization, random 10-year time jumps, and a family tree that fits three generations into just 40 years... these are actual plot details from a typical episode of the CBS drama Zoo. Will Zoo return for season 4 after its Sep. 21 finale? The series takes audiences to a future where human beings are a lot further down on the food chain than they are right now. The third season went to some truly absurd places — literally: the gang left the safe zone and traveled into the territory of the hybrids. And after a season that managed to effortlessly weave together all of the above examples of the natural world gone horribly, horribly wrong, it certainly seems as though the team behind Zoo can turn any idea into compelling drama. But will it continue beyond where Season 3 ends?
But CBS hasn't announced anything yet about Zoo's future — whether it's going to be renewed for Season 4 or die an early death. If the show does return, it makes sense that it would remain a summer series. And summer makes more sense than a traditional fall premiere, since it hasn't really proved itself as a big ratings performer. According to TVLine, Zoo's Season 3 premiere ratings were a low 0.5 million viewers between 18-49 and 3.1 million overall. Admittedly, the series did switch time slots from Tuesdays to Thursdays, but Zoo Season 2 averaged 0.74 million demo viewers and 4.5 million overall, according to TVSeriesFinale.
Throughout the season, Zoo was able to recover to 0.5 million viewers in the demo for the season's penultimate episode, according to TVLine. This recent downshift after switching time slots is not a great sign for the future of Zoo, despite surprisingly positive coverage for its B-movie charms and wild plot swings. While TV critics aren't earnestly arguing that in the crowded TV landscape, Zoo is one of the best series out there, what many are saying is that by committing so intensely to its premise and delivering juicy twists, it is one of the most watchable shows on TV. Zoo costar Billy Burke made a surprise return after it appeared he'd been killed off by the hybrids, and told TVLine, "This show has been nothing but two tons of fun for all of us."
It's possible, given that there's been no word from CBS, that the series will be cancelled because of its low ratings, but for now the show is still waiting to find out about its fate. But Zoo has so many passionate fans, who desperately want to see the show stick around, regardless of how many other people are watching — and they've taken to social media in order to stand up for their favorite show. Peruse the #RenewZoo hashtag on Twitter, and you'll see a lot of people hoping for a fourth season and discussing how much they love the third.
If Zoo does return for Season 4, there's no telling what monsters these writers will come up with, or what surprise familial connections they'll reveal. "It’s a balance between giving the audience a steady and exciting ride and not taking itself too seriously," Burke told TVLine in the same piece. "I think we’ve been able to continue to grow in that direction, and the writers and producers have done a great job with that."
While Zoo hasn't become a huge hit for CBS, it does have a dedicated fanbase and it sounds like it's a lot of fun to make. So hopefully this show will be providing some more over-the-top effects and animal-based science fiction next summer.