The current third season of The Expanse will be the space dramas last one on Syfy. The cable network has decided not to renew the show for a fourth season, with the last episode slated to air in early July. Alcon Television Group, which fully finances and produces the critically praised series, plans to shop it to other buyers.
“The Expanse transported us across the solar system for three brilliant seasons of television,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “Everyone at Syfy is a massive fan of the series, and this was an incredibly difficult decision. We want to sincerely thank The Expanses amazing cast, crew and all the dedicated creatives who helped bring James S.A. Coreys story to life. And to the series loyal fans, we thank you most of all.”
The Expanse was one of the first series greenlighted after the change in programming direction at Syfy when the network signaled a return to its roots of sweeping space opera series in the vein of Battlestar Galactica. The Expanse, from Alcon and the Sean Daniel Co, which was tipped as a potential successor to Battlestar Galactica, was part of a crop of Syfy series that launched in 2015, along with The Magicians, which was recently renewed for a fourth season, and 12 Monkeys, which was renewed for an upcoming fourth and final season.
The Expanse is one of the most well reviewed sci-fi series on TV, with the current third season scoring 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (vs. 95% for Season 2 and 76% for Season 1.)
The cancellation decision by Syfy is said to be linked to the nature of its agreement for the series, which only gives the cable network first-run linear rights in the US. That puts an extraordinary amount of emphasis on live, linear viewing which is inherently challenging for sci-fi/genre series which tend to draw the lion share of their audiences from digital/streaming.
The Expanses Live+3 linear ratings started with 581K among adults 18-49 and 1.378M total viewers in Season 1. Season 2 slipped to 457K in 18-49 & 1.05M total; Season 3 to date is running just below the Season 2 averages, at 400K and 1 million, respectively. That is below the performance of Syfys top dramas, The Magicians and Krypton, as well as comedy Happy! but in line with a number of co-productions on the network.
“We are very disappointed the show will not be returning to Syfy,” said Alcon Entertainment co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson. “We respect Syfys decision to end this partnership but given the commercial and critical success of the show, we fully plan to pursue other opportunities for this terrific and original IP.”
Co-created and written by Oscar-nominated screenwriting duo Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men), the series is based on the bestselling book series by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (under the pen name James S. A. Corey). The cast includes Steven Strait, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dominique Tipper, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham, Frankie Adams and Thomas Jane.