As one show resurrects another finds itself stillborn. In an unexpected turn of events, Fox, who had made a big deal earlier this year of bypassing the traditional “pilot season” for its shows, has cancelled its ambitious Ancient Egyptian drama Hieroglyph before it ever made it to the air.
Only the pilot was shot, but Fox executives reportedly didn’t like where the scripts for further episodes where going…which is ironic as they had initially given the show a 13 episode straight commitment.
Cancelling a greenlit show before it premieres is an extremely rare move from broadcasters, expecially for such ambitious shows as this. Fox had actually pulled the same move last year with Us & Them, starring Jason Ritter (Freddy vs. Jason) and Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls), as had NBC with its Dane Cook vehicle Next Caller, but those were both comparatively “small” comedy shows.
Find out more about the show that will never be and watch its trailer after the jump.
Hieroglyph was the brainchild of screenwriter Travis Beacham (Pacific Rim, Clash of the Titans) and the pilot was directed by Miguel Sapochnik (Repo Men, House M.D.). The show was to star actors such as Max Brown (The Tudors), Reece Ritchie (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time), Condola Rashad (Smash), Caroline Ford (Lake Placid: The Final Chapter) and Kelsey Chow (One Tree Hill) alongside veterans John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings) and Antony Bunsee (Hollyoaks).
The fantasy show would have centered on Ambrose (Brown) a master thief who’s been taken out of prison by young pharaoh Shai Kanakht (Ritchie) to find The Book of Thresholds, a dangerous scroll which was stolen from Egypt’s most secure vault. His investigations would have led him to reunite with his former lover, the magician Peshet (Ford), and his mentor, Vocifer (Rhys-Davies). He would also have had to contend with the pharaoh’s power hungry half-sister (Rashad), the officer who’s arrested him in the first place (Bunsee) and a concubine spying for Egypt’s enemies (Chow) among others.
It should be noted that Kevin Reilly, the channel’s programming chief who greenlit Hieroglyph in the first place, was fired from Fox in June. It is possible he was the driving force behind the show and that without him, the channel just didn’t have any confidence in it. Maybe the powers-that-be were even swayed by the growing criticisms surrounding the show’s almost all-white cast portraying Egyptians.
Nevertheless it is always a shame when something like this happens, if only for the production’s cast and crew who had no doubt cleared their schedules for the foreseeable future, thinking they had a regular gig. Here’s hoping they’ll be properly compensated and that Fox will at least make the pilot episode available somewhere so we can see what could have been. In any case, we’ll always have the trailer which you can watch below. What do you think? Would you have liked to see where this was going or is it just as well it never got a chance to go further?