EXCLUSIVE: Prime Video will not be going forward with the previously ordered second season of its sci-fi drama series The Peripheral, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Deadline has learned.
I hear The Peripheral is not the only Amazon scripted series whose renewal has been rescinded and there is at least one other series that won’t go to a second season.
According to sources, the cancellation stems from the length of the work stoppage due to the ongoing WGA strike, now in its 109th day, and the SAG-AFTRA strike, in Day 36, which have delayed production, creating large gaps between seasons and making shows miss their target release dates.
While this is the first known case of a renewal reversal amid the current strike, as Deadline reported earlier this week, there may be more series whose renewals could be rescinded or pending pickups not happen if the work stoppage stretches past Labor Day, with freshman series going into Season 2 the most vulnerable. There was a similar string of unrenewals during the pandemic.
The Peripheral’s first season was released in fall 2022; the sci-fi drama loosely based on the book of that name, was renewed for Season 2 in February.
I hear the series was supposed to go into production this year for a 2024 release and it was in early pre-production when the WGA strike started May 2.
Such a delay would impact Amazon’s pipeline as there are already plans in place for 2025 content rollout. Additionally, first-year shows have harder time keeping viewers who’d tuned in and liked what they saw if they have have to wait a long time — three years in this case — for new episodes.
While Amazon, along with other streamers, does not reveal viewership information, The Peripheral is believed to have done well on the platform.
Still, as a large-scope sci-fi drama, it is expensive, and a delay is incurring charges that are being added to the budget, including for holding stages. Additionally, because the series had only aired one season, there would have to be a marketing campaign around its return that also would have to be factored in.
It is not surprising that series renewed for a second season were hit disproportionally harder by pickup reversals and cancellations after the pandemic shut down production for months, creating big gaps between seasons. While there were other contributing factors too, most of the unrenewed series during Covid were headed to Season 2, including Netflix’s The Society and I’m Not OK With This as well as Showtime’s On Becoming a God in Central Florida and ABC’s Stumptown.
Additionally, the strikes coincide with a period of increased financial scrutiny among most media companies, which have been recalibrating their streaming strategies.
The Peripheral is produced by Amazon Studios and Warner Bros. Television, in association with Kilter Films.
Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s Kilter Films has another series, the first under the company’s deal with Amazon Studios, Fallout, which has been getting strong early buzz.
The Peripheral centers on Flynne Fisher (Moretz), a woman trying to hold together the pieces of her broken family in a forgotten corner of tomorrow’s America. Flynne is smart, ambitious, and doomed. She has no future; until the future comes calling for her.
Season one also starred Jack Reynor, Gary Carr, Eli Goree, Louis Herthum, JJ Feild, T’Nia Miller, Charlotte Riley, Alexandra Billings, Adelind Horan, Alex Hernandez, Katie Leung, Julian Moore-Cook, Melinda Page Hamilton, Chris Coy, and Austin Rising.
Executive producers for The Peripheral are creator and showrunner Scott B. Smith, director Vincenzo Natali, Nolan and Joy, Athena Wickham, and Steven Hoban.