Almost Human was originally renewed for Season 2, according to reports.
The JJ. Abrams-produced serial-procedural was officially cancelled at the end of April, but reports suggest that former Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly (who announced his departure from the network this week) had decided to bring Almost Human back for a second season – a decision that was vetoed by Fox Networks Group CEO Peter Rice, per Vulture sources:
Multiple sources tell Vulture that, during the late April/early May process of deciding what Fox’s new schedule would be, Reilly had, almost reluctantly, chosen to order 13 more episodes of the critically loved freshman comedy Enlisted. He also made the no-brainer call to bring back the J.J. Abrams–produced modest hit Almost Human for a second season. And yet, according to multiple accounts, Rice essentially vetoed Reilly’s decisions in both cases. Rice’s thinking on Enlisted, according to people familiar with the situation, was that the show wasn’t likely to ever be a big hit, so why should the network sink more money into it, even if the show came from in-house production company 20th Century Fox TV? (The fact that Reilly had previously indicated zero interest in Enlisted made it hard for him to dispute Rice’s logic.) As for Almost Human, while the show’s ratings might have warranted renewal, it was a very costly series produced by a competing showbiz behemoth (Time Warner–owned Warner Bros. TV). If WBTV wasn’t going to cut its price for the show, Rice, according to sources, saw no season to bring back a marginal hit, particularly since Reilly had already gone to bat for, and renewed, two low-rated comedies produced by outside companies (The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine).
While the decision to renew the sci-fi series may have been taken out of Reilly’s hands, he subsequently defended Human‘s cancellation and the network’s renewal strategy, saying:
We have some shows that have been on the air for a couple of years, that have small but very passionate and distinct audiences. You’ve gotta make choices. Every show is its own conversation. We look to the ratings performance as one marker. We look to another marker as how the show was run. And then, ultimately, we look at whether it’s profitable, where we can schedule it, and if we can support it, going forward.
It’s too early to say whether Reilly’s departure will lead to the un-cancellation of pilot season at Fox, though presumably it will only add more salt to the wounds of Almost Human fans, who have already been tormented enough.