The Orville creator Seth MacFarlane reckons that the space adventure series’ chances for a Season 4 renewal are currently “50-50” — but a new development has the potential, at least, to nudge the numbers in the right direction.
Season 3 was greenlit by Fox weeks back in May 2019; weeks later, it was announced that the series was relocating to Hulu, with an eye on a “late 2020” return date. COVID-related days famously resulted in filming not wrapping until August 2021, shortly after which the cast’s contract options expired.
Meaning, if Hulu or anyone were to want a Season 4, among other things the cast would need to be regrouped and (hopefully) re-signed.
“There’s some trickiness” involved in that, MacFarlane admitted to TVLine in a Saturday afternoon phone call. “But, look, the actors are the easy part.” The stickier wicket, he said, is “How do I work it into everything else that’s now going on?,” including but not limited to his Ted prequel series for Peacock.
MacFarlane would make it happen, though, if the show and its fans are so blessed with a Season 4 order.
“I will say that I get as emotionally invested in the show as any of the fans,” he attested, “so I will find a way to do it if there is a Season 4.”
Pressed for the current odds on any such renewal, MacFarlane put it at “50-50,” though the release of all three seasons to Disney+ on Aug. 10 could, maybe, move the needle. (The recently concluded Season 3 earned an average TVLine reader grade of “A,” but it has yet to crack the Top 10 on Nielsen’s weekly streaming ranking.)
“My hope is that when the show drops on Disney+, the people who haven’t yet discovered [The Orville] will suddenly give it a chance,” MacFarlane said. “That’s a potential game changer for us.
“I think that creatively and audience-wise, when people sit down and give the show a chance, it upends their expectations,” he added. “The biggest burden with the show is preconceptions. People think it’s one thing — there are people out there who think it’s a sitcom — and when they sit down to watch it they realize its something completely different. Once you get people’s eyeballs on it, the show does the work, its speaks for itself, and people tend to be hooked.”