HBO has canceled the critically acclaimed Enlightened, the network confirmed Tuesday, its low ratings trumping the passionate audience that rallied to keep it going.
Enlightened was created by Mike White and Laura Dern. It told the story of Amy Jellicoe, a troubled crusader played by Dern, who won a Golden Globe for the role after its first season. At the end of its second season earlier this month, Amy succeeded in exposing the misdeeds of the company where she worked.
White wrote the episode “as a series finale, in case it was,” he said in an interview with BuzzFeed before the finale. “Even if it doesn’t have the life you’d hope that it has, just as a cultural artifact, the fact that it can end I think would bring more people to it. If they think it’s just an abortion that ends before it begins, at least for me, I wouldn’t want to see that.”
Season 3 would have featured Amy going through all the resulting lawsuits, he said.
HBO is known for nurturing critically praised shows that don’t always have large audiences, which had bought Enlightened a second season — but apparently not a third.
“It was a very difficult decision,” HBO said in a statement. “We’ve decided not to continue Enlightened for a third season. We’re proud of the show and we look forward to working with Mike White and Laura Dern in the future.”
This post has been updated with HBO’s confirmation.