In Soviet Russia, juggling network drops YOU
Photo: Erik Voake (Fox)

“The power of Christ compels you, Fox! You are commanded to abjure your supernatural dramas about devils this very instant! Cast them back into the pit of hell from whence they came—then salt the earth, preferably with the family-friendly comedic stylings of Tim Allen. We love him up here.”

With the above incantation, Fox has canceled its supernatural dramas Lucifer and The Exorcist. The former has seen its fortunes change quickly, the vagaries of fate having previously granted it strong ratings, a second season that saw it tying the much splashier Gotham in the ratings, and an early third-season renewal. Unfortunately, the hell that is daily life seems to have lessened people’s appetite for the avatar of a fictional one (despite the show having gotten quite good), and ratings dropped in recent months. Now it descends into the TV afterlife of snakes, boils, and hopefully some post-mortem Netflix viewers. In a candid series of tweets, showrunner Joe Henderson mourned the cancellation and apologized to fans for leaving them with a cliffhanger:

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The Exorcist never had quite the same impact, fitting for a series about trying to get rid of the devil as opposed to giving him a cop partner and the desire to fight crime. As Entertainment Weekly notes, following a 10-episode second season that saw it pulling in a frightening 0.6 rating in the 18-49 demo (albeit on a Friday night), Fox decided to bring in its metaphorical Father Merrick (executives in control of the primetime schedule) and cast out its unholy abomination. Creator Jeremy Slater was more Zen about The Exorcist’s fate when he addressed fans on Twitter:

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Left unspoken amidst all the curses and blasphemy is the degree to which the Disney-Fox merger is affecting all of these cancelations. It’s possible Fox wants to strengthen its brand across all its channels—though ideas that the new Fox Broadcasting company (which is not part of the acquisition by Disney) simply wants to purge the less, well, Fox & Friends-friendly programming seem a bit premature. After all, the network is bringing an adaptation of the Justin Cronin vampire epic The Passage to life, so the undead will still have a place on Fox.