'Of Kings and Prophets' Canceled at ABC

The Biblical drama debuted to a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 3.3 million viewers and dipped even lower in its second outing.
Bob D'Amico/ABC

ABC's attempt to find its own version of Game of Thrones has failed.

The network has canceled freshman drama Of Kings and Prophets, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Shark Tank spinoff Beyond the Tank will take over its Tuesdays at 10 p.m. slot for the remainder of the season. Insiders say plans for the show's future are currently being evaluated, though it will not air on ABC.

Described as an epic Biblical saga of faith, ambition and betrayal as told through the eyes of a battle-weary king (Ray Winstone), a powerful and resentful prophet and a resourceful young shepherd on a collision course with destiny, the Biblical drama debuted to just a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 3.3 million total viewers. That's down from the unimpressive launch for the since-canceled fall freshman Wicked City. Its second episode proved even worse, sinking to a mere 0.5 rating in the key demo and only 2.4 million viewers.

The drama — said to have been a favorite of former ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee — was originally scheduled to launch in the fall in the prime Sundays at 10 p.m. slot. However, recastings and reshoots on the 15-episode straight-to-series drama pushed the series to midseason. The show also drew the ire of conservative watchdog group Parents Television Council, which decried Kings for its graphic sexual content and violence and declared the Biblical drama unfit for children.

When speaking to reporters at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, showrunner Chris Brancato said producers would continue to fight with broadcast Standards and Practices as the series intended to push the envelope of what was acceptable in primetime.

For ABC, Kings becomes its latest freshman flop. In addition to Wicked City, Blood and Oil saw its order trimmed to 12 episodes as the drama limped off the schedule; midseason drama The Family debuted to lackluster reviews and faded in its move to Sundays; and comedy The Muppets — considered a slam dunk before the season started — ended its season with a whimper. 

Coincidentally, Beyond the Tank opened the season on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. after Quantico — which was originally designed to occupy the slot — was moved to Sundays when Kings was bumped to midseason to allow more time for its reshoots.

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