Why Lucifer Got Cancelled, According To Fox's CEO

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Fans of Lucifer got some very bad news earlier this year when Fox announced that the series would end after Season 4. The word came down from Fox before the third season had even finished airing, and it added a distinct sense of gloom to a finale with a cliffhanger that should have been nothing but exciting. Although a whole bunch of those fans began campaigning for a renewal, Fox did not come around to order any more episodes, and the good news had to come from elsewhere. Now, Fox Television CEO Dana Walden has explained in detail why the network gave Lucifer the axe:

We had a great time working with that cast and the executive producers of the show. It worked well for us. [But] as we were going into this season, we looked at the size of the audience, which was starting to get pretty narrow. We just made a determination that given ... it was owned by an outside studio, at the time we couldn't justify the economics. It was not an inexpensive show, and we just made a decision that ultimately it wasn't performing to a broad enough audience in a way that worked for us. We thought a lot about [the decision to cancel the show. It was a lot of conversations.

Shortly after the cancellation was announced, Fox chairman Gary Newman stated that Lucifer was ending due to low ratings, which unfortunately happened in a TV season that saw the premiere of four new dramas that delivered the kind of numbers Fox was looking for. Now, Dana Walden's comments at the TCA summer press tour (via TV Guide) reveal that ratings weren't the only factor that played into the decision that disappointed so many fans. The fact that an outside studio owned Lucifer was too much for Fox to accept.

Lucifer was actually one of the shows we considered in danger after news broke of the Disney/Fox merger. Like Gotham (which was also cancelled, although not without one final season), Lucifer was owned by Warner Bros. Television. If too many things didn't go exactly right for Lucifer while it aired on Fox, Lucifer seemed like a likely candidate for cancellation.

The good news is that Lucifer's cancellation didn't stick. While the show did indeed end on Fox after those two leftover episodes hit the airwaves, it was rescued by Netflix after a #SaveLucifer campaign from fans and stars alike. The Netflix renewal came as a bit of a surprise, as the announcement came only days after revival conversations were reportedly happening at Amazon. The move to Netflix may result in more uncensored episodes.

Netflix doesn't have the same ratings concerns as traditional broadcast networks, so Lucifer could enjoy a long future on the streaming service if all goes well. Netflix original content VP Cindy Holland stated that Lucifer deserved to be rescued because it "really resonated with audiences in parts of the world." The goal was to allow Lucifer to continue the devilish fun for fans.

Lucifer doesn't have a Netflix premiere date just yet, but there are plenty of other promising Netflix series in the works. If you need some shows to watch in the upcoming months without Lucifer, take a look at your options on our fall TV guide.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).