If you were hoping to see True Detective bounce back after a lackluster second season, prepare yourself for some bad news: It looks like HBO is not going to bring the anthology crime series back for a third season. The Hollywood Reporter says the premium network is more likely to opt for a new series from creator Nic Pizzolatto instead.
Such a decision wouldn’t be surprising, by any means. Although Nielsen data indicates that same-night viewership was actually higher on average during season 2 than it was for season 1 (2.61 million per episode compared to 2.33 million), audience numbers largely trended in opposite directions during the course of the season. Viewership increased overall during the first season, ending on a high of 3.52 million viewers, while the second season saw declines before its finale drew 2.73 million.
The difference in the response from critics and fans between seasons was also notable. Rave reviews piled in during season 1, while its successor was met with decidedly less excitement. There were a lot of changes, of course, including Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson handing off the series to Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, and Rachel McAdams. First season director Cary Fukunaga also moved on. A third season would mean yet another reboot, a path HBO is evidently hesitant to take.
With True Detective enthusiasm flagging, the premium network seems to be more interested in trying to interest viewers in a new project than reinvigorating a disappointed fan base. At the same time, execs clearly still have faith in Pizzolatto. HBO locked him down through 2018, as Variety reported in November, months after the series’ second season finale had aired.
“I am thrilled to continue our relationship with Nic, as he is one of the most exceptionally talented writers and producers working today,” said Michael Lombardo, then-president of HBO programming, at the time. “I look forward to seeing where his unique creative vision will take us next.”
The decision is now in the hands of Lombardo’s replacement, Casey Bloys, and he seems ready to close the case on True Detective.