If you're disappointed by the news that Enlightened has been cancelled, you were probably one of the 500,000 or so viewers who tuned in for the HBO dramedy's second season finale. Even on premium cable, half a million total viewers is a low number. Too low, in fact, which is why it's not entirely surprising that HBO has decided not to move forward with Laura Dern's series.
Created by Dern and Mike White, Enlightened starred Dern as an executive who's trying to get her life back together following a professional meltdown and a visit to rehab, which results in a philosophical awakening. In addition to Dern, the series starred Luke Wilson, Diane Ladd, Timm Sharp, Sarah Burns and Mike White. Enlightened wrapped up its second season earlier this month.
Ratings have never been particularly great for the series, and Variety says 220,000 tuned in for the initial airing show's finale, down from 300,000 for the second season premiere. The finale numbers were also down 67% from its lead-in, Girls, which brought in 673,000 viewers for its airing. In total, when factoring in all three airings of Enlightened for the night, the dramedy only took in 500,000 total viewers. Apparently, that just wasn't enough for HBO to offer the series a third season. Variety quotes HBO's statement:
“It was a very difficult decision,” HBO said in a statement. “We’ve decided not to continue Enlightened for a third season. We’re proud of the show and we look forward to working with Mike White and Laura Dern in the future.”
Having heard a lot of good things about the series, Enlightened is a show I honestly kept meaning to watch, but never got around to. Judging by the numbers, I'm probably not alone there.
Fans of Laura Dern will get to see her back on the big screen soon enough, as Jurassic Park is headed back to theaters for its 3D debut next month.