While the Silence of The Lambs spin-off series Clarice didn’t receive the best reviews from critics, a month ago it looked like the series was going to be saved from the chopping block by making a move from CBS to Paramount+, with the show being promised a long run. However, it looks like the negotiations between parties have met a sticking point that could see the series meet a premature end after all.
As reported on Deadline, Clarice has no home now on CBS due to the broadcast network having already filled up its line up for next season, and if no kind of deal can be struck to shift it to Paramount+, then it looks like the lambs could be silenced permanently. With Paramount+ and MGM both declining to comment on the situation, it looks like the future does look bleak for the series and its fans.
According to those in the know, it is one of the most bizarre situations to have arisen in recent memory. Clarice was given a season 2 pickup, but has come to a sticky situation. When considering this involves the terms around using the Silence of the Lambs IP and ViacomCBS, who have just recently merged, playing off against MGM who are themselves in the middle of their Amazon take over, it is not hard to see how there could be more than one stumbling block in the way of a negotiation being reached. In addition, some sources have claimed that MGM were the ones to stop negotiations without warning as the deal neared a close, or that they decided to back out when the offer was not something they felt they could accept. Wherever the truth lies, it looks like the outcome is almost certain at this point.
When Clarice first aired on CBS, it quickly became the least viewed and lowest rated scripted series on the network. However when it played on Paramount+ it performed much better. It is safe to say that if the series had performed better out of the traps on CBS, then the issue would have been unlikely to have come about at all, but when the numbers aren’t coming in, it is not surprising that they looked to offload the series. For a deal to break down in the way this one seemingly has, however, was a little more unexpected, seemingly for all involved.
Clarice acts as a direct sequel to the events of The Silence of The Lambs, with Agent Clarice Starling receiving therapy after her ordeal with series killer Buffalo Bill, and tainted in the FBI by her relationship with Hannibal Lecter. While the series does build on the events of The Silence of The Lambs, the lack of Lecter in proceedings was cited as one of the reasons for the poor ratings, and critical approving barely scraping 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, with some calling it “narratively bland” and “a disturbingly safe procedural that lets down both its talented cast and source material.”
Sometimes it takes two to tango, and the tale of the tape here was that without Lecter, the story of Clarice Starling just didn’t do enough to intrigue or make people care. With this in mind, it makes you wonder if someone at MGM just decided that it wasn’t worth taking on such a dead weight.