Renewal reversals due to the COVID-19 pandemic are becoming more and more common and now a critically-acclaimed Showtime series becomes the latest show to fall victim to it. The ViacomCBS-owned premium cable network has reversed course on doing a second season of the Kirsten Dunst dark comedy, On Becoming a God in Central Florida. The series had previously been renewed by Showtime but scheduling issues relating to the novel coronavirus has caused them to reverse that decision.
The premium cable network had picked up the Kirsten Dunst dark comedy from YouTube after the latter bailed on scripted originals and the series received favorable reviews, even scoring Kirsten Dunst a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy. The show also scored a Writers Guild of America nomination for Episodic Comedy. Showtime had this to say about the renewal reversal:
“Last year, Showtime renewed On Becoming a God in Central Florida but unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we were unable to move forward with production on the new season. The pandemic has continued to challenge schedules across the board, and although we have made every effort to reunite the cast and crew for a second season, that has become untenable. It is with great regret that we are acknowledging On Becoming a God will not return. We extend our deepest thanks to star and executive producer Kirsten Dunst, creators Robert Funke and Matt Lusky, showrunner Esta Spalding and their fellow executive producers George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Charlie McDowell, the terrific cast and crew, and our partners at Sony Pictures Television.”
Other issues complicating matters for Showtime were that the series was produced by an outside studio which means they would have to pay a pretty expensive licensing fee. That means the show would have been increasingly expensive to produce after factoring in rising costs to produce the series when factoring in added time and safety precautions stemming from filming during a global pandemic. The good news, according to “The Hollywood Reporter“, is that the cast was already paid for season two.
On Becoming a God in Central Florida was set in a small Orlando, Florida-adjacent town in 1992 and starred Dunst as aa minimum-wage water park employee. Unfortunately, the show joins a rapidly growing roster of scripted series to be “un-renewed” amid the global pandemic as financially challenged Hollywood studios look to navigate rising costs and scheduling challenges. Netflix earlier this week reversed course on the fourth and final season of GLOW. That joined the streamer’s The Society and I Am Not Okay With This as well as TruTV’s I’m Sorry, USA Network’s Evel, and ABC’s Stumptown as scripted originals who met a premature demise.
Are YOU sad to see the series go? Do YOU expect more renewal reversals due to the COVID-19 pandemic?