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The Real Reason Clarice Might Be Ending

Following the conclusion of the long-running crime drama "Criminal Minds," CBS attempted to remain in the creepy serial killer game with the psychological horror crime series "Clarice." Set after the events depicted in Thomas Harris' best-selling novel "The Silence of the Lambs," which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning movie in 1991, the show follows FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling, the character first made famous by Jodie Foster in the film. On the series, she's portrayed by Australian actress Rebecca Breeds, but because the show is legally unable to use the name Hannibal Lecter, the character is largely seen chasing down new killers, while working through her trauma following her run-in with Buffalo Bill.

Unfortunately for Breeds and the cast of "Clarice," the series struggled in the ratings after debuting on CBS in February 2021 (via Variety). However, it reportedly performed well on streaming, so for a while, it seemed like the series was set to follow in the footsteps of "Evil," a creepy supernatural procedural that debuted on CBS in 2019 but moved to the network's streaming service, Paramount+, for its second season. Now it looks like the chances of the show continuing anywhere are slim to none.

Why Clarice is likely canceled

According to a new report from Deadline, negotiations between Paramount+ and MGM Television, which co-produces the series alongside CBS Studios, have stalled after reaching a stalemate, which puts the possibility of "Clarice" continuing on the streaming service in jeopardy.

Sources close to ViacomCBS reportedly told Deadline that MGM refused to make a deal even after the former agreed to the concessions asked for by the latter, including an increased license fee per episode. Meanwhile, sources close to MGM allegedly claimed "Clarice" was given a deal that was "inferior" to the deals Paramount+ gave to shows "Evil" and "SEAL Team," both of which are fully owned by CBS.

Like everything in life, it basically boils down to money and who's paying for what. According to the MGM sources, the offer for "Clarice" initially covered 78 percent of the budget to produce the series (this was bumped to 82 percent during negotiations), while the deals for "SEAL Team" and "Evil" came in closer to 90 percent of the cost.

Is there any hope for Clarice to be renewed?

Additional points of contention between Paramount+ and MGM apparently included episode order — the former wanted 10 episodes, which is standard for the service's original series, while the latter wanted at least 15 — and second viewing windows. MGM, which is in the process of being acquired by Amazon, owns the premium cable network Epix, and apparently hoped to be able to air "Clarice" following its initial run on Paramount+. However, the streaming service has a multi-year hold on the episodes, meaning it would be a long time before "Clarice" would ever be able to air on Epix.

While it's possible the two sides could still come to an agreement for Season 2 of "Clarice," cast member contracts usually expire at the end of June, which means a deal to keep the show alive would need to happen much sooner rather than later if the show hopes to hold onto its stars. Right now, however, it seems like Paramount+ and MGM striking a deal that works for both entities might be wishful thinking. Prospects remain grim.