“The Bastard Executioner” has been cancelled by FX after one season. Creator Kurt Sutter is claiming credit for the decision behind the drama not being renewed for season 2, Entertainment Weekly reported Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Sutter, who previously found success on the network with “The Shield” and “Sons of Anarchy,” announced the cancellation in an ad he placed in various trade publications, including the Hollywood Reporter, in which he explained, “The audience has spoken and unfortunately the word is ‘meh.’ So with due respect, we bring our mythology to an epic and fiery close.” The period drama saw its ratings dip throughout the course of its first season, losing more than half its audience through its first six weeks on the air, falling from 4 million combined weekly viewers for its Sept. 15 premiere to just 1.9 million for episode six. The series wrapped its first, and now final, season on Nov. 17. The show was also plagued by poor reviews from critics, and was hurt by lengthy run times and a largely unknown cast.
“It’s fantastic to get a good review [or] an award, but at the end of the day the only thing that matters, really, is numbers,” added Sutter in a candid interview with THR. “I’m not the guy sitting in my ivory tower spitting shit out and not caring if anyone is watching. …I don’t want to write something that nobody’s f—ing watching.” Sutter also stated that he preempted the ad with a heartfelt email to the Wales-based cast and crew, who remained committed and enthusiastic about the show even as the ratings dropped and he fell behind on scripts.
“Bastard Executioner,” which was set in 14th century Wales and followed a Welsh knight (Lee Jones), is one of the rare examples of an FX drama lasting only one season. Modestly-rated series such as “The Americans,” “The Strain,” “The Bridge” and “Tyrant” all reached at least season 2. However, the high cost of the series was a contributing factor to its cancellation, ranking as the most expensive series on basic cable. It co-starred Stephen Moyer (“True Blood”), Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy”), Flora Spencer-Longhurst, Sam Spruell, Danny Sapani, Timothy V. Murphy and Sutter.
Sutter is currently focused on finding the right writer to tackle his “Sons of Anarchy” spin-off about the Mayans motorcycle club. He’s also taking meetings about reviving his early film script, “Delivering Gen,” a love story between a junkie and a hit man, and he’s already written an early draft of his next TV idea, which he promises will be contemporary and won’t involve any horses.