The cancellation of Y: The Last Man took many TV fans by surprise last week.
The show, which airs on FX on Hulu in the US and Disney+ internationally hasn’t even finished its first season run when network executives decided to axe it.
Showrunner Eliza Clark announced the cancellation on Sunday through Twitter, but she didn’t address the reason behind the decision.
But according to The Hollywood Reporter, execs at FX were bound by an October 15 deadline by which their options on the cast of the show expired, meaning they had to decide whether to renew everyone’s deals for another outing or not.
Ultimately they decided to play it conservatively and not renew the show, which is quite unusual for FX.
The network usually waits to gather data from delayed viewing and digital returns before making a decision and even in the case of a cancellation tends to announce final seasons for its original shows.
Over the years, FX has made a name for itself because of its creator-friendly executives, so it was pretty odd when their usual leniency did not transpire with Y: The Last Man.
However, the show already had quite a turbulent journey to the screen which might have swayed FX’s decision on the show’s future.
The network bought the right to adapt Brian K. Vaughan’s comic all the way back in 2015 but filming did not start until October of last year.
After a pilot was produced in 2018 and the show was officially picked up for a full series order in 2019, Y: The Last Man lost its original showrunners Michael Green and Aida Croal over creative differences.
The series seemed to be moving forward again when Clark joined in June 2019 but at the start of 2020, it was announced that Barry Keoghan who was supposed to star as the titular last man on Earth Yorick, was being recast.
Days later, Ben Schnetzer stepped in to take on the role but the approaching pandemic put another stop to the development of the show.
Throughout this ordeal, FX has been paying for the chance to extend their options on the cast, which added up and meant that by last week’s deadline they were not willing to pay any more.
Clark pitched a second season in late September when reviews for the first season were already out and pretty favourable.
According to the publication’s sources, the decision was not made based on viewership figures, though the fact that Hulu does not release traditional ratings meant that FX had limited data to base their decision on.
‘Without Covid-19, the show would have been on a different clock,’ the Hollywood Reporter’s source said, suggesting that in a different world the show probably would have been renewed.
In her tweet however, Calrk said how ‘We are committed to finding Y its new home,’ adding the hashtag #YLivesOn.
With three more episodes of the show still to go, we might not have to wait long until it’s over to hear some good news.