There’s no question how Of Kings and Prophets made it from the concept stage to the production stage, since highlighting the sex and violence of Biblical times is a hook that seems infallible. But there was obviously no guarantee that the finished product would be the perfect iteration of that concept, and the drama’s broadcast life has already come to a close, as the network has officially canceled it after just two episodes had aired.
This primetime exodus isn’t exactly shocking on the whole, but it’s somewhat surprising that ABC decided to cut ties with Of Kings and Prophets so early into the show’s freshman season. It did suffer from the double whammy of mostly horrible reviews and mostly horrible ratings, so there was little doubt about it having a short lifespan. But two-episodes short is still kind of shameful for what looks like a pricy project.
Of Kings and Prophets debuted just nine days ago, on March 8, and only managed to bring in 3.3 million viewers on the night, netting a lowly 0.8 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. Things worsened for the second episode, with dismal ratings that saw only 2.4 million viewers, with a 0.5 key demo rating. Clearly not as popular as other Bible-themed fare, nor anything else on ABC’s schedule.
To fill the space left by Of Kings and Prophets on the Tuesday night lineup, ABC is calling up Beyond the Tank, the companion series to the popular reality show Shark Tank, which will air next Tuesday, March 22. You know things aren’t going swell when a reality spinoff is the better option over a high-profile period drama. Well, considering the show got pushed back from a fall premiere to a midseason premiere, I guess its profile wasn’t that high.
Clearly trying to capitalize on the popularity of epic shows like Game of Thrones and soapy primetime offerings like Empire, Of Kings and Prophets told the grand story of the warring Israelites and Philistines and all of the personal drama therein. We don’t really have any idea where it would have ended up, say, by the end of four episodes, but it was pretty overwrought and hard to want to get into. (For me, anyway.) Can’t argue with Ray Winstone as King Saul, though.
Unfortunately for viewers who really dug the show’s first two installments, Variety’s report said nothing of what may happen to other episodes that have not been aired. Back when Wicked City was putting out terrible numbers and getting canceled after two episodes, Hulu stepped in and aired the remainder of the episodes that were in production. Could the same happen to Of Kings and Prophets? Possibly, especially if ABC wants to get back any kind of small change on this show.
ABC has a lot of shows that it canceled too soon, leaving behind hordes of angry fans. I’m not entirely sure that’s the case with Of Kings and Prophets, but I’m betting at least one person starts a petition to get it picked up elsewhere by the time you’re finished reading this.