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.