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In a surprising move, Deadline declares that Showtime has opted not to continue Masters of Sex for a fifth season.
The series has had a long-standing relationship with the channel. Masters of Sex quickly garnered critical acclaim after earning several Emmy nominations for their first three seasons. Allison Janney even won for her guest role in the drama as the character Margaret Scully, a sexually unfulfilled housewife. However, the series did not regularly invoke a mass audience. This past season averaged less than 800,000 in Live+3. Showtime’s other series, Ray Donovan and Shameless, managed to attract more than 2 million (L+3) on a regular basis. Undoubtedly Showtime waited until the end of season four to make their decision final.
Masters of Sex starred Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as the pair tried to pioneer the world of human sexuality. Season four of the series began in 1968 and experienced the course of the “swinging ’70s” during its ten episode arc. William Masters (Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Caplan) gained partners in all aspects of their lives: personally, professionally, and–of course–sexually. The two fought to preserve their practice after dissent from the clinic, and found themselves drifting together as everything fell apart. The finale showed Masters and Johnson getting married, and Deadline reports that this may have felt like a fitting end to the series.
Showtime has also released a statement since announcing their decision, saying: “Masters of Sex was a beautifully written and acted exploration of America’s changing sexual mores. We are incredibly proud to have shared the story of Masters and Johnson for four critically-acclaimed seasons. The series will remain available across our platforms where new viewers can discover it for years to come.”