Malcolm Bright can unfortunately add “abandonment issues” to his long list of troubles. Fox has cancelled Prodigal Son after two seasons, TVLine has learned, turning the May 18 season finale into a series ender.
Fox declined to comment, but a network insider tells TVLine that the decision to pull the plug on the dramatic thriller was an “incredibly difficult” one, adding, however, that Prodigal Son‘s viewership was just too small to justify bringing it back for a third season.
Through its May 4 episode, Prodigal Son is averaging just north of 2 million weekly viewers and a 0.4 demo rating (in Live+Same Day numbers) — down 38 and 45 percent from its freshman run. Among the six original dramas Fox has aired this TV season, it ranks fourth in both measures, besting only the already-cancelled Filthy Rich and NEXT.
Prodigal Son starred Walking Dead alum Tom Payne as Malcolm Bright, a profiler for the NYPD and, unfortunately, the son of Martin Whitly — better known as infamous serial killer The Surgeon (Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex). As Bright assisted the Major Crimes division with solving grisly and unconventional cases, occasionally with his father’s input, he attempted to manage the psychological toll taken by reconnecting with Martin. (Emphasis on “attempted.”)
The cast also included Lou Diamond Phillips (Longmire) as Gil Arroyo, an NYPD lieutenant and Bright’s longtime mentor; Bellamy Young (Scandal) as Jessica, Bright’s mother; Halston Sage (The Orville) as Ainsley, Bright’s sister (and a murderer herself!); Aurora Perrineau (When They See Us) as Dani, Bright’s coworker and potential love interest; Frank Harts (Billions) as Det. JT Tarmel; and Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls) as medical examiner Edrisa, who harbored a serious crush on Bright during the show’s run.
Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones was added to the cast this season in an effort to boost the series’ lagging ratings.
As the end of Season 2 nears, Bright is searching for his on-the-lam father, who escaped from Claremont Psychiatric Hospital in the May 4 installment, all while trying to cover up his sister’s murder of Nicholas Endicott. The now-series finale airs Tuesday, May 18 at 9/8c.
The show’s cast took to Twitter with their reactions to the cancellation news, with Payne writing, “What a trip. Playing 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. Love to everyone who enjoyed it all along with us. And check out the last two eps! THEY ARE AMAZING.”
Young, meanwhile, added: “Just wanted to pop on & say THANK YOU, wonderful #Prodigies, for sharing this adventure with us. I am, as you can imagine, heartbroken that we can’t keep telling this story. We’re gonna go out in STYLE tho- these last 2 eps are [fire emoji]. Love each of you. So much.”
Perrineau also shared her thoughts. “Love you Dani. Thanks for the ride! Thanks to the crew, the cast , the fans, @FOXTV and @warnerbrostv for everything. Forever grateful for this experience,” the actress wrote.
Our handy 2021 Renewal Scorecard has been updated to reflect Prodigal Son‘s cancellation. Are you sad to see it go? Tell us below.