Showtime's 'On Becoming a God in Central Florida' Latest Pandemic-Driven Renewal Reversal

On Becoming a God in Central Florida _ Publicity Still - H 2019
Courtesy of Showtime

Add Showtime's On Becoming a God in Central Florida to the list of scripted series that have been canceled because of the pandemic.

The ViacomCBS-owned premium cable network has reversed course on doing a second season of the Kirsten Dunst dark comedy, citing scheduling issues relating to the novel coronavirus.

"Last year, Showtime renewed On Becoming a God in Central Florida but unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we were unable to move forward with production on the new season," Showtime said in a statement late Wednesday night. "The pandemic has continued to challenge schedules across the board, and although we have made every effort to reunite the cast and crew for a second season, that has become untenable. It is with great regret that we are acknowledging On Becoming a God will not return. We extend our deepest thanks to star and executive producer Kirsten Dunst, creators Robert Funke and Matt Lusky, showrunner Esta Spalding and their fellow executive producers George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Charlie McDowell, the terrific cast and crew, and our partners at Sony Pictures Television."

The first season garnered favorable reviews after Showtime picked up the series when YouTube, which developed the series after AMC passed on the script, opted to retreat from the expensive scripted programming space. Théodore Pellerin (Genesis), Mel Rodriguez (The Last Man on Earth), Beth Ditto (Nocturnal Animals) and Ted Levine (The Silence of the Lambs) round out the cast of the series. Likely complicating issues is the fact that the series was produced by an outside studio (Sony TV), meaning Showtime would have had to pay a licensing fee. That means the show would have been increasingly expensive to produce after factoring in rising costs to produce the series when factoring in added time and safety precautions stemming from filming during a global pandemic. The cast, sources say, was already paid for season two.

Set in a small Orlando, Florida-adjacent town in 1992, On Becoming a God starred Dunst as aa minimum-wage water park employee.

On Becoming a God joins a rapidly growing roster of scripted series to be "un-renewed" amid the global pandemic as financially challenged Hollywood studios look to navigate rising costs and scheduling challenges. Netflix earlier this week reversed course on the fourth and final season of GLOW. That joined the streamer's The Society and I Am Not Okay With This as well as TruTV's I'm Sorry, USA Network's Evel and ABC's Stumptown as scripted originals who met a premature demise.