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Hannibal Season 3 Release Date: NBC Renews Show, Air Date Likely Late 2014 or Early 2015

Hannibal has been renewed for a Season 3, which will delight fans of the NBC Friday night show following its Season 2 finale on May 23. At the moment the network has not confirmed a specific date for the Season 3 premiere, but it is believed that it should have an air date in late 2014 or in the first half of 2015.

Hannibal NBC
Hannibal |

Many had been concerned for the series after it continued to have poor ratings in its second season. In Season 1 of Hannibal the ratings were distinctly lower than the network had hoped for, but it was still renewed for a second season.

But this time around things have gotten even worse, with the ratings for Season 2 even lower – by about 23 percent in the demo. That basically ranks the series as NBC's lowest rated scripted series. That led many to predict that it would get the chop this time around, but NBC has still moved to renew the series for a third season,

According to various rumors, NBC may have renewed the series due to the network's agreement with the show's studio. It is believed that under that agreement, episodes of Hannibal only cost the network $500,000 each, which is far lower than most of the network's dramas, and relieves some of the pressure on its ratings.

Bryan Fuller, who developed the American psychological thriller–horror television series for NBC previously explained to Digital Spy that he was confident the show would be renewed for a season 3: "I hear very positive things. All of the creatives at NBC are so supportive of the show and want it back, and the schedules and salespeople are like, 'It's a new show, get rid of it'. We are banking on the creative people winning out over the salespeople."

He added, "The ratings are not anything to jump up and down about, but the critical acclaim is great, and we're sort of a prestige project for the network, so we're hoping that's enough, like it was last year. There have been indications that it will be."

Fuller also indicated that the Season 2 finale would "leave things in the air" and so a Season 3 would definitely be necessary to resolve various storylines: "We end season two in such a strange way - boy, I would be ****** [if that were the end]! We don't quite land the plane, we leave the plane in the air."

Hannibal is based on the Red Dragon novel by Thomas Harris, and revolves around the early relationship between FBI investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), a forensic psychiatrist who becomes a cannibalistic serial killer.

The cast also includes Caroline Dhavernas, Hettienne Park, Laurence Fishburne, Scott Thompson, and Aaron Abrams.

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