Syfy's 'Defiance' Canceled After Three Seasons

The drama was the first TV series and video game to launch in tandem and was a $100 million gamble from NBCUniversal.
Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

It's the end of the road for Syfy's Defiance.

The drama, produced by corporate sibling Universal Cable Productions, has been canceled after three seasons, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The futuristic drama, from showrunner Kevin Murphy and starring Grant Bowler and Julie Benz, ended its third season Aug. 28 with 1.17 million total viewers after notching a string of series lows. The overall third-season average of 1.12 million total viewers is down a far cry from both its freshman and sophomore runs. At the time of its debut, Defiance was Syfy's second-largest series premiere in network history and was a proven performer on Monday nights among adults under 50. 

Syfy and UCP parent NBCUniversal made a historic $100 million gamble on Defiance when it debuted in 2013 as the first TV series and video game to launch in tandem. The experiment created the most expensive series in the cable network's history at the time with an equally pricey massively multiplayer online video game. The series needed both viewers and gamers to invest time in both in order to justify the franchise's future.  

"Defiance was a truly groundbreaking series, delivering an immersive, cross-platform experience that transcended the television screen in a way that viewers had never seen before," the network said in a statement. "We are incredibly proud of the work of the extraordinary cast, writers, artists and designers — and especially showrunner Kevin Murphy — who together brought the rich world of Defiance to life over its three season arc."

The decision to drop Defiance comes days after the cabler axed Dominion after two seasons. The latter was part of the first wave of new orders to come after Syfy renewed its focus on science-fiction fare.

Syfy, meanwhile, has a robust slate of high-profile dramas coming, including The Expanse and Childhood's End — both of which are due in December — as well as fellow freshmen The Magicians and Hunters, both due in 2016. Its returning fare includes season two of 12 Monkeys as well as Killjoys and Dark Matter

On the pilot/development side, the cabler has Incorporated, from Matt Damon and Ben AffleckDavid Goyer's Superman prequel Krypton, as well as Hyperion, Brave New World and 3001: The Final Odyssey

"I got to collaborate with a group of stunning artists operating at the top of their game, and together we built a world. Because of that, there is no room for anything other than joy in my heart," showrunner Murphy said.

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