Fans aren't the only ones in mourning after Fox canceled one of its fan-favorite series. On Monday, the network confirmed it would not be renewing Prodigal Son for a third season. The drama series follows a criminal psychologist who helps the NYPD solve crimes and stop killers, and news of the cancellation sparked a heartbroken response from one of its stars.
Taking to Twitter Monday night just after news of the series' cancellation broke, Lou Diamond Phillips reacted. Philips said he was "gutted" to learn the series he has starred on for two seasons as NYPD lieutenant Gil Arroyo would soon be coming to an end, admitting that he "didn't see that one coming." The actor was so shocked by the news he said he "might be taking a few days away from the platform." He went on to thank viewers for being "the most wonderful, entertaining, brilliant fan base I have ever encountered."
Phillips' co-star Tom Payne also reacted on Twitter, sharing that portraying the series lead Malcolm "has been a joy and a privilege. The best cast on network TV and the most unique show around. We did it in style." Payne told fans that the final two episodes of the series are "EPIC. And, in the end, kind of inevitable. We left it all on the field." He said he "gave my heart and soul to this job, it's all on the screen. I can't wait for you to see it."
While Fox did not release a statement addressing the cancellation, and no reason was given for the decision, an insider told TV Line the decision was "incredibly difficult" and ultimately made due to the show's viewership. The series was the lowest-rated among the current Fox drama series, and through its most recent May 4 episode, Prodigal Son averaged just above 2 million weekly viewers and a 0.4 demo rating, numbers that were down 38% and 45% from its first season. With the May 18 Season 2 finale now set to act as a series finale, several fan-created petitions have arisen calling on Fox to reverse its decision and grant Prodigal Son a Season 3 renewal.
"Prodigal Son has shown us that it can stand on its own in storytelling and without the need to rip stories from the headlines to keep its fanbase engaged-fans who are willing to do what it takes to get more seasons, but that FOX never allows a program to thrive before canceling it is truly disheartening. Shouldn't 'WE' the viewers decide if a program is worth it?" one of those petitions, which was created before the cancellation news but has since received thousands of signatures, reads. "So I implore chairman Rupert Murdoch and Executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch, Michael Thorn to give Prodigal Son more seasons and give viewers more reasons to stick around."
While it seems unlikely that Fox will heed these calls, there is a chance the network may listen to calls for the series to move to a streaming service. According to Deadline, the series does well in digital viewing, and while Fox ultimately decided to end the series at the network, "there was a will to try and find a path to bring the series back, with various scenarios explored." At this time, however, it remains unclear if Warner Bros TV will shop the series around. Deadline notes HBO Max, the streaming service that is already home to Prodigal Son's previous seasons, "would be a logical destination" for the series to live on.