The Bastard Executioner has been canceled after its first season in a unique way: Series creator Kurt Sutter took out an ad in The Hollywood Reporter announcing he has decided to end the low-rated series, with FX confirming his decision.
In the ad, Sutter acknowledges the cast and crew for their talent and commitment and thanks the producers and people behind the scenes who helped make the show. “The audience has spoken and unfortunately the word is, ‘meh,'” the ad reads. “So with due respect, we bring our mythology to an epic and fiery close.”
The Bastard Executioner was the Sons of Anarchy creator’s 14th Century series starring Katey Sagal, Stephen Moyer and Lee Jones. The series followed Jones’ Wilkin Brattle, a knight who gives up the violent life only to be called to kill again as the executioner. Singer Ed Sheeran, Brian F. O’Byrne and Matthew Rhys guest starred in the series. Before the ad appeared in print, Sutter said he let those involved with making the show know this was the end.
The series finale aired Tuesday, Nov. 17 on FX. At the end of the day it came down to numbers. The premiere had 2.1 million same day viewers (around 3.6 million when delayed viewing was factored in done) with following episodes slipping to under a million viewers. With low premiere numbers and continuing to lose audience, the writing was on the wall.
“I like an audience,” Sutter told THR. “I don’t want to write something that nobody’s f–king watching.”
So what happened? “I think the mythology was a little too dense for some people. There’s a glut of period pieces on right now, and I’m sure timing has something to do it,” he said. “There’s just so many f–king variables involved in that formula. My sense is that a year from now, people will be like, “Why didn’t you make more?” (Laughs.) I mean, I get so many people telling me they’re on episode four of Sons.”
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