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.”

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“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.

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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. b says:

    Massive fail. Terrorist win! american shows not free to air fictional content

  2. Tracy Benson says:

    Thank God, Wow! I’ve been wacthing this not a good series to bring AMERICAN together n brotherhood! Please think before airing more n more topic of this nature

    • drb says:

      Stop watching if you are offended, this is america and we still currently have freedom of choice. As a fan of Dexter, and a fan of the movies and books, I am thrilled to see this series unfold, picking up after hannible rising and finishing before red dragon, hopefully alot of information will be given to fill in hannibles gap in his life. I had a concern that this being on a public station it would be to racey for the average viewers. Seems you are proving that thought true. Life isnt a bowl of cherries out there, it is a rough world, i would much rather watch something fictional, than the news, which is chalked full of violence, hatred, and meaness, so full of negativity that is real! Worse yet they exploit the crimes, but never follow up with the end results. The justice in our system, what happens to these criminals??? Media throws up there shocking stories to feed more ideas to the public, but never show the outcome or ramifications of commiting the crime.

      • Damion says:

        No, please stop watching television and let producers be as truly creative as they want and keep the rest of us entertained with awesome comedies , great dramas and more of what TV needs more of, awesome horror series…with blood, guts and actual scares and non of the watered down stuff we are subject to.

  3. Tracy Benson says:

    Thank God, Wow! I’ve been wacthing this not a good series to been AMERICAN together n brotherhood! Please think before airing more n more topic of this nature

  4. sean says:

    Most writers use what happens in this world today to come up with new shows and ideas for us to see or hear about. Just cause our nation is fucked up dont mean that nbc has to stop doin and creating shows thats based on reality or fiction.

  5. Gjcya says:

    So in other words the terrorists win.

    • Tony says:

      Yep. Their aim wasn’t to kill – it was to disrupt American TV viewing.

      Ha. You really are a spoilt. This is why people hate you.

      • Sam RoberTson says:

        you are a dumbass ThaT doesnT undersTand. any Time Freedom is Taken away cause oF TerrorisT acTs They win. people donT have To die For a TerrorisT To win

    • drb says:

      Of course they do, thats how our country is ran, for the foreigners not the americans in all aspects.

  6. Liz says:

    Oh come on. Episode 4 will be shown overseas, but not here? Can’t the episode be put On Demand? I don’t watch episodic tv on my PC. Don’t care for it.

  7. Dumb…don’t censor your work because bad events happen in the world…bombings/shootings happen ALL THE TIME all around the world…I don’t see NBC pulling shows with the Syrian conflict or Afghanistan War going on? Hypocritical…

    • Niejan says:

      As a sign of respect, I believe this is a wise decision. Everyone is fully aware of the fact that the story is entirely fictional. So let us not forget our humanity and be respectful towards the people who MAY feel offended / disturbed by this episode.
      You are right, in your own way. Tragedies happen all around the world, but this is an American TV show, so NBC has every right to look at the domestic status quo.

      • Taco says:

        People have the ability /not to watch it/ if it offends them or just skip the episode all together.

    • Bee says:

      Now we all know how seth macfarlane feels. Even though is episode aired before the bombings they still wont let that ep be aired anymore.

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