‘Masters of Sex’ Season 4 Was Its Last, Showtime Not Renewing for Season 5

Masters of Sex
Courtesy of Showtime

UPDATED: Masters of Sex” has aired its last episode. The Season 4 finale on Nov. 13 will also function as the series finale, as Showtime will not be moving ahead with a fifth season. Showtime confirmed with the following statement to Variety: “‘Masters of Sex’ was a beautifully written and acted exploration of America’s changing sexual mores.  We are incredibly proud to have shared the story of Masters and Johnson for four critically-acclaimed seasons. The series will remain available across our platforms where new viewers can discover it for years to come.”

The fourth season of the Sony Pictures TV series ended on a fairly conclusive note, with sex research pioneers Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) finally tying the knot. The show was a strong performer for Showtime initially, garnering critical praise and several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations (and a win for guest actress Allison Janney in 2014), and attracting around a million linear viewers per episode. But linear ratings for the fourth season had dipped to the 450,000 range, and, sources say, the producers had told the story they wanted to tell. (Total viewership across all platforms was an average of 2.16 million for Season 4, though comparisons to Season 1 are difficult, because Showtime became available as a standalone streaming service in 2015.)

The series began at the close of the 1950s, with Masters and Johnson coming together to research the science of sexuality, a topic considered taboo. The story wound its way through the free-loving 1960s before entering the even trippier 1970s in the now-final season. Michelle Ashford served as showrunner and executive producer, having developed the series based (somewhat loosely) on Thomas Maier’s biography of the same name. Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, Amy Lippman, and Judith Verno also executive produced for Timberman/Beverly, Sony Pictures TV, and Showtime.

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  1. Adam B says:

    This show was fantastic, I’m really not happy about this.

  2. Anna says:

    I was really love looking forward to seeing it again. Very disapointed

    • Anirban says:

      I wish Netflix picks up the show where it left off. There were a few loose ends which weren’t tied up either. Relationship with Barton, Libby’s Law School, the homosexuality study, did Betty return to work?
      Nancy’s fate, and of course how Bill and Virginia charted the waters post-marriage,

  3. ashley says:

    wonderfully spoken!!!!

  4. Jawce says:

    Glad the show ended when it did. The couple wed and that’s the end. I have the book on the real Masters and Johnson. Their real ending was sad for Virginia I was a huge fan of this series. But thought season one was the best.

  5. Jawce says:

    Michael sheen was never married to model/actress Kate B. They were together nine years and produced a daughter lily. Get your facts straight

  6. Babs 21 says:

    I’m going to miss this series. The acting and writing were superb!

  7. MGM says:

    it’s such a shame that the structure of seasons has been unrecognizably altered in recent years… a brilliant show like this could easily suffer from ratings loss due to viewers’ inability to locate its time slot, alone… if that’s the case here, then the execs did it everyone a great disservice… at the risk of sounding like a bitter old biddy, i miss the olden days when shows’ seasons ran weekly from Fall to Spring with no interruptions and longass hiatuses…

  8. Ava Lane says:

    Really enjoyed the series. Unfortunate – this was some superb writing and acting. Will miss it :o(.

  9. Caligula says:

    A show called Masters of Sex should have an attractive male lead right? how did this last so long?

    • adambath says:

      I’m not gay and I make no case for it, but Martin Sheen was quite a good looking man. He’s a bit short, but he’s not unattractive at all.

    • Derrick Dingleday says:

      The real William Masters was a few steps bellow Sheen in the looks department, so how far are they gonna wanna stretch that casting?

    • Brad Hotz says:

      Lol, the “not attractive male lead” was married to one of the most beautiful women on the planet, Kate Beckinsale. Guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  10. What a stupid idea for a TV series

    • Wow, are these particularly unintelligent comments. Michael Sheen is incredibly sexy and attractive and an outstanding actor, who delivered a wonderful performance throughout four seasons. It takes a thoroughly intolerant, small-minded person with no imagination to think only Gary Cooper and Brad Pitt attract women or that only the physical attributes count in that respect. I pity you, Caligula. And as for UltraSpeedPick, your comment reeks of ignorance and lack of curiosity, if you think the history of sexual revolution, which actually led to millions of men and women leading fuller and happier lives, as well as general enlightenment instead of prudery and bigotry, so congratulations on your lack of imagination, too. How the show lasted so long? Thankfully there are plenty of people more curious, more open, more enlightened and more broad-minded than the both of you. Thanks, Showtime and thanks to all of the creative team and this brilliant company of actors. And of course Doctor Masters and Mrs. Johnson and all the pioneers not afraid to break taboos.

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