NBC Pulls ‘Hannibal’ Episode in Wake of Violent Tragedies (EXCLUSIVE)


Net's action is another example of sensitivity concerns after high-profile tragedies

After several particularly violent months in America, NBC has decided to pull episode four of frosh drama “Hannibal” from its lineup due to the disturbing content involving children murdering other children.

Fourth episode of the grisly serial killer drama featured Molly Shannon’s character brainwashing kids, leading them to kill other children.

Episode four was slated to air next week. Peacock will instead move directly to episode five. While the drama is serialized, NBC claims there will be no continuity issues, noting that TV critics have seen episodes three and five, and not four.

Decision arose after series creator Bryan Fuller phoned NBC and told the net that, “given the cultural climate right now in the U.S., I think we shouldn’t air the episode in its entirety.”

SEE ALSO: Media Coverage in Overdrive on Boston Manhunt

“I didn’t want to have anyone come to the show and have a negative experience,” Fuller told Variety. “Whenever you [write] a story and look at the sensational aspects of storytelling, you think, ‘This is interesting metaphorically, and this is interesting as social commentary.’ With this episode, it wasn’t about the graphic imagery or violence. It was the associations that came with the subject matter that I felt would inhibit the enjoyment of the overall episode. … It was my own sensitivity.”

Fuller cited the Sandy Hook shooting in December and this week’s Boston Marathon bombings as the root of this sensitivity issue. “Hannibal,” from Gaumont Intl., was filmed before the events in Newtown, Conn., had transpired.

By pulling episode four from the lineup, NBC has effectively bumped the frosh season of “Hannibal” up a week. The season finale for “Hannibal,” originally slated for June 27, will now be on June 20.

SEE ALSO: Boston Illustrates Mess of Real-Time Reporting

Incident is just another example of TV execs and creatives pulling content in the wake of violent events over the last few months. This week, ABC pushed an episode of “Castle” where Detective Kate Beckett steps on a pressure-sensitive bomb to April 29, though Alphabet may push the episode even further if it is still deemed too insensitive given recent events.

What’s more, after the Sandy Hook shooting, Syfy yanked an episode of “Haven,” which featured a school violence storyline. TLC delayed one-off “Best Funeral Ever” and Fox pulled episodes of its Sunday night toon skeins “Family Guy” and “American Dad” that execs felt were inappropriate given what had occurred in Connecticut days earlier.

Fans of “Hannibal” will still be able to see clips from episode four, however. NBC is making a package of clips from the yanked episode available on NBC.com next week. It focuses on character development and not the procedural element featured in episode four of “Hannibal.” Package will feature Fuller offering voice over and discussing the series.

“This is also a great opportunity to provide another platform for the show that can draw audiences to social media and give them original content that’s not just a behind-the-scenes special, but a webisode featuring the primary cast, which is a rare thing to get on the net,” Fuller explained.

But, mostly, Fuller said,  “We want to be respectful of the social climate we’re in right now.”

Peacock notes that the fourth episode will run overseas, but not in the States.

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  1. Damion says:

    How truly idiotic. I am so sick of idiotic over-sensitive American media people thinking that after some tragedy, not airing a completely unrelated episode of ANYTHING or changing a scene in a movie is even remotely necessary. If someone is moronic enough to make an association between a real-life event and something that was filmed and edited months before, THEY are the ones with the problem. Stop ruining entertainment for the rest of us. Thank goodness episode four was aired elsewhere and ended up online so we can see it as it should have been aired on the scheduled night and my chronology will remain in tact. Despite this idiotic decision.

  2. Burt says:

    Heh, Finally a decent NBC show and they get scared of the house moms sending angry letters. Americans are always scared of something. Cant show tits, but can show killing people, cant show blood but can show hero mass murdering villains… its the PG age…

  3. Jonatan says:

    I believe that they should stop airing shows like American Idol instead… now thats brainwashing!

  4. Don says:

    But by doing this he gave pretty much EVERYONE who follows this series a negative experience!

  5. Asashii Fustazi says:

    just look for Scene or P2P release of episode 4, and they wonder why there is piracy!!!

  6. How is pulling an episode about “children murdering other children” being sensitive to a (suspected) terrorist attack involving bombs used at a public event? And they haven’t just delayed it, they’ve pulled it entirely…? Every single episode of Hannibal is about murder, and involves innocents being killed! If NBC are going to pull episodes every time something bad happens in the US, it’s going to be a very short first season indeed.

  7. paul rodriguez says:

    Nbc sucks. stop the castration of america

  8. Bill Smith says:

    The pussification of America continues..

    So sick of companies caving to people who are, or may get their feelings hurt.. It is a freaking TV show!! It was made before any of the things in Boston happened.. This reminds me of the Ben Stiller movie “The Watch.” Its release was delayed for half a year, and they changed its name from “Neighborhood Watch.” There were fears that people would be upset with the name and subject matter, due to the Trayvon Martin situation.. It doesn’t matter that the movie had already been made before all that stuff happened.. I could be wrong, but anyone who recently had a tragic death, or gruesome injury affect them, is probably not likely to be watching a show about a serial killer within a week of the incident. If they did, they need to hold themselves accountable for what they may see..

    • paul rodriguez says:

      Well said. i was looking forward to watching the rest of this series. Now thanks to these Brady bunch pussys on nbc ive lost interest. thanks nbc i knew their was a reason i dont watch your shows.

  9. Joe Papp says:

    Gah! What cynical, politically-correct crap! Self-censorship is disgraceful!!!

  10. Avalon says:

    If the episode involved bombs, I could possibly understand, but do not deprive fans of any episode. If it offends, then don’t watch. I’m a big girl and can make my own decision what to watch or not. I hope they at least put it ON DEMAND.

  11. I personally think that this is insane; I can understand why someone would be sensitive to the episode after this tragic event, but to not air it altogethor is insensitive. How about you not air the episode immediantly, then air it again later, when everyone has recovered from grief? Think about that, let that sink in, you overly-sensitive little morons.

  12. Jon Wagner says:

    Why not release the episode online for those who want to see it?

  13. JazzBass58 says:

    Common sense and social sensitivity. Not censorship. Good Job NBC, good decision! And to BLUB, read the book, might even be better.

  14. blub says:

    This is so idiotic. Gangster squad got removed cinema scene and now this. Seems like Americas gonna censore everything because of the real life events just like China.

  15. Christine Cuneo says:

    Come on we can not blame TV for what terrorists do. Shows such as Criminal Minds and gore have been a part of entertainment for a while now. My hart goes out to victims of horrendous events that have unfolded in not only USA BUT EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. But blaming TV, movies, music, games… Come on we have evolved from such theory’s.

  16. As soon as I saw this preview on tv my first thought was I am not gonna watch that @#$%… So tired of the violence & gore.. We have accepted all this death & destruction on TV as normal.. I hate it and will be censoring what I watch in the future

  17. Elmore Zeel says:

    Decisions by the brain trust at NBC like this help explain why NBC ranks last in Prime Time ratings.

  18. matt says:

    so let me get this straight…..the fictional show is cut….while the lies and violence of the world news is played non stop…and on every damn channel. must be something in that episode that might make the public wake up and realize how we are being lied to and abused by our own government

    • tom says:

      If it wasn’t for the bombing in Boston and the shooting around this country NBC would have never pulled this show. Sorry to say this is what is wrong with this country. How do you think some of these nuts get there ideas? Holliwood and it’s violence and the media glorifying tragedy, and a year later, five years later the media will still show these tragedies. I will not even start with the video games that also glorify the killings that has been taken to the real world.

      • Christine Cuneo says:

        Come on we can not blame TV for what terrorists do. Shows such as Criminal Minds and gore have been a part of entertainment for a while now. My hart goes out to victims of horrendous events that have unfolded in not only USA BUT EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. But blaming TV, movies, music, games… Come on we have evolved from such theory’s.

  19. Jen says:

    Seriously? Do we really need a TV show that glorifies a cannibalistic serial killer? Pull the whole show.

  20. Anita says:

    You should have stopped with the first sentence. You understand “quit when you are ahead” the rest was was ??????????

  21. Ed says:

    So let me understand this, the networks are exercising decent common sense in this regard. They are pulling versions of true life on shows and showing them overseas where the real terrorists are. Sounds good to me, lets give them more ideas of terror moves they can use on us. I know what is going on here, The rich will lose money if they allow the programs to be shown in our country, because our stupid jerks that live here may find out that the rich that get all of the money for manufacturing all of the weapon and materials to construct bombs help crooks knowledge banks with good old information that they can use. Smart thinking America, let those terrorists overseas have the education so they can continue their missions.

  22. Bee says:

    What a joke. There is nothing wrong showing this. Tired of all this censored crapped. But yet its fine to idolize mindless reality stars while they have kids without marriage and so on. THE U.S. is in a state of identity crisis. Grow up

  23. Mike says:

    I believe time has come to bring back censorship on violence on TV, in movies and video games.

    • Michelle Jones says:

      Censor yourself! Stop trying to control people! Let the parents do the censoring- not the government. Grow up people!

  24. bobbyd says:

    NBC pulls this, violence, but leaves queers to talk on tv, promoting gays and lesbians. What is worse? Bringing a child up being queer, or a little violence, as seen 24/7 on television?

    • Christine Cuneo says:

      I agree, this is the World’s Most Successful Brainwashing – Selling Sodomy.
      Media trying to convince people that Homosexuality is normal. Research shows that homosexuals are 20 to 30 times more likely to molest children, based upon statistics weighted by the percentage homosexuals are of the total population. Activist homosexuals continually work to lower the age of consent for having sex, so that they can more easily prey on young people without being subject to criminal prosecution. (Reference: How Homosexualists Redefine Homosexual Child Molesting, by O. R. Adams Jr.)

    • KHolt says:

      Hopefully parents are not letting their child watch Hannibal. I am a fan but I would never let my children watch it. As for your other comment. I am raising my children with awaremess about lifestyle choices. They are not promoting gays and lesbians because they have a talk show host who is a lesbian. She is a comedian.

  25. Mike Lovell says:

    Please also remove the rest of your waste from TV. Thanks you

  26. Maria Rea says:

    Well good, Take the Following with you when you leave…enough of this violent nonsense

  27. whatever85 says:

    maybe we should just do all reality tv shows of crazy dance moms, people drunk on the baordwalks in Jersey, women or me trying to win a rose or a hand in marriage….geez just bring back good old tv sitcoms from the old days we never had this issue when archie bunker or alice even happy days were on….it is our society that speaks and asks for this violence and then when they present it is is deemed to violent…..get it together AMERICA…..

  28. Brent says:

    i will stop watching the show now and wait until they release the full season in proper order. it was enjoyable while it lasted.

  29. John DuBois says:

    Goodbye NBC,no wonder you suck!

  30. dan says:

    who erased my comment…….to real for you to face.

    • Lecter says:

      I just realized that I’ve grown so accustomed to people spelling “to” in place of “too”, that I gasp at times when I see it spelled correctly.

      And people question why I turned to cannibalism. There is a justification.

  31. dan says:

    somebody said that if the removed the violence from tv…..nobody would watch tv!!!!! now wouldn’t that be a shame?

  32. dan says:

    i’m not suggesting that tv go back to the 50s……….but our tv diet has become mostly a variety of violence. remember, we are what we eat.

  33. Darcy says:

    Well that’s a shame. They just lost one viewer…

  34. Maddog says:

    They told Fuller to say that, If he had any thoughts about his show, thats about a human eating serial killer affecting people into killing others, then he never would have made the show in the first place.

    People who sell bibles or crack and everything in between do not think about the dangers of it.
    So don’t give me that holier then I used to be crap now.

    And with or without the episode, it is still about serial killing and cannibalism.
    This is just NBC answering to possible commercial boycotts and forcing the show runner to be a ventriloquist Dummy so they dont come across as being for censorship..

    • ed s. says:

      Intelligent comment appreciated.

      • Jim Grondin says:

        People, pls. get your facts straight. This is NOT censorship by NBC. It was “series creator Bryan Fuller phoned NBC and told the net that, “given the cultural climate right now in the U.S., I think we shouldn’t air the episode in its entirety.”

        His decision that NBC went along with. As many have pointed out, this is a violent series to begin with, and I’m not sure why this ep is any worse than the others, maybe because it involved children killing other children, I guess. Because of recent events in Sandy Hook and others.

        Since it will air overseas, no doubt it will be available for viewing on internet sites.

  35. e11evn says:

    These terrorists were 19 and 26, not even kids. Bad move NBC. I think you finally showed some balls by airing a show with grit to compete with FX and AMC (clearly the two best stations) and now you just lost that respect by giving into the few whiney people (that haven’t even whined yet). Wrong move.

  36. Jan Tha Man says:

    Ahh well.. I am done watching the show then… To bad..liked to Watch my Fellow country man in it.
    But crap as this.. I wont stand for

  37. sam says:

    What are they going to do, replace it with a nice family friendly episode of Hannibal?

    Stop messing with TV shows it’s so unnecessary, most of the people watching will be rational adults, we know the difference between reality and entertainment and can handle whatever you have to show us, especially on networks like NBC that restrict what can actually be shown or said in their shows anyway.

  38. solo77 says:

    At least put the episode on nbc.com and let people decide for themselves, you can’t just skip an episode on a show this suspenseful without throwing the whole story off!

  39. R. Wright says:

    What’s with the poor English in this article?

  40. Linda Whaley says:

    they should drop this show all together…..

  41. FAIL says:

    I guess they want the terrorist to win, how fucking lame. Why doesn’t anyone complain when they showed many graphic images of what happened after the bombing on the News? Why do people not complain about real violence over fake ones?

  42. Nope says:

    Well, then I drop the series. You let the terrorists win when you do things like this. I’ve lost respect for you. GJ, NBC. Lowest rated network for a reason.

  43. Tony says:

    Well done. Glad the death of children allowed you to trumpet your ‘EXCLUSIVE’.

  44. peter says:

    Political correctness heh? This is Ridiculous all the way…

  45. Andrew says:

    America, the land of pussies.

  46. Ant says:

    Just delay the episodes.

  47. ryan says:

    So stupid. Its just a TV show.

  48. BobGeneric says:

    This is just a way to force people to have to purcahse the episode through vendors like xbox video and amazon…and also a publicity stunt. Great show, poor execurtive marketing decisions

  49. drb says:

    What??? I respect the idea of being sensitive, and concerned about the public getting a salty taste in their mouths, but really? Shouldnt whether we see the episode be our choice…..if you dont want to watch it, dont, but the rest of us that are following the story line want to see all episodes. I love this show, i was shocked that it was so racey for a public channel. I love Dexter, and i was glad to see NBC pick up this new series. With that said, lets move on and continue with the normal way the episodes should be ran. We can not allow, what the sick people in this world oppress us. They win, we lose.

  50. Bastet says:

    This is so STUPID!!! You might as well pull EVERY damn thing off TV!!!

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