It's been a rough few weeks for television fans — particularly for those of us who love period dramas and genre properties. Shows are being canceled outright, options to continue are not being picked up, and even shows that were ostensibly seen as "safe" aren't necessarily so much anymore. Over at Warner Brothers, a promised additional half-season of the HBO supernatural Victorian drama The Nevers wasn't enough to save it, and multiple other prestige series are quietly being shuttered despite pre-existing renewal announcements.
Sadly, such is the fate that has apparently befallen the Starz drama Dangerous Liaisons. Despite the fact that the drama was greenlit for a Season 2 before its first episode ever even aired, the cable network has decided not to move forward with another run.
The drama was a prequel (or "prelude" depending on who you ask) to to the events depicted in the classic nineteenth-century French epistolary novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos and the 1998 Academy Award-winning feature film starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Here Alice Englert and Nicholas Denton star as the future Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont when they are still just Camille and Pascal, a pair of young lovers struggling to survive in the gritty underbelly of Paris and longing for more influential positions in society. Betrayals, scams, and a whole lot of drama ensue.
It was apparent that Starz executives initially had a great deal of faith in the series, hence the early renewal announcement and the glowing quotes that came with it. But the team ultimately reported to axe the show after it struggled and failed to find the audience they expected.
According to Deadline, the drama premiered with a 0.03 rating among the 18-49 demographic and just 88,000 total viewers, according to live + same-day Nielsen data. Things apparently haven't improved since then, and the series has reportedly yet to crack a six-figure L+SD audience for any episode. Starz has not released any details about the show's streaming performance (which is often where its shows find the majority of their viewers), but, in this instance, the lack of any information feels uncomfortably notable.
The remaining three episodes in the first season will be released as scheduled, but the season finale will now serve as a series conclusion. Dangerous Liaisons is the second freshman period drama to be canceled at Starz this year; the network also opted not to move forward with another season of its Tudor series Becoming Elizabeth.
Dangerous Liaisons airs Sundays on Starz, and its first season can also be streamed on the Starz App.