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NBC has announced that Hannibal, the network’s newest drama, will not air its fourth episode this Thursday, April 26, at 10/9cst. Citing concerns about the episode’s content in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing, the network will instead air the series’ fifth episode of the season.
The fourth episode, which guest starred former Saturday Night Live star Molly Shannon as a woman who brainwashes children to kill other children, is not expected to air at all this season. Selected scenes from the episode will be available online for viewers, including commentary from Hannibal’s executive producer Bryan Fuller, so that fans will not miss out on important character developments from the episode. Reports indicate that it was Fuller’s choice to pull the episode, with the producer approaching NBC with the option shortly after the attacks occurred. Several other television programs, including Castle on ABC, have opted to delay the airing of episodes in the aftermath of the Boston attacks. However, Hannibal is the only show to opt out of airing an episode.
Hannibal has been one of the few bright spots for the peacock network this spring, garnering a string of positive reviews from critics. However, the show continues to struggle in the ratings - at least when compared with other networks’ strong Thursday night line-ups. The often graphic drama, starring Laurence Fishburne, Hugh Dancy, and Mads Mikkelsen, is based on novelist Thomas Harris’s novel Red Dragon, which was previously made into two feature films, and spawned the sequels Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.