NBC pulls 'Hannibal' episode after violence in Boston
April 21, 2013 1:50 AM

LOS ANGELES — NBC said Friday that it’s pulling an episode of its serial killer drama “Hannibal” out of sensitivity to recent violence, including the Boston bombings.

The episode that was to air next week features a character, played by guest star Molly Shannon, who brainwashes children to kill other children.

“Hannibal” executive producer Bryan Fuller asked NBC to pull the episode, citing the Newtown, Conn., school shooting in December and this week’s Boston Marathon attack, NBC spokesman Stuart Levine said.

Fuller said Friday that he began talking with NBC executives several weeks ago about keeping the episode off the air. His concern was prompted by Newtown and reinforced by Monday’s violence, he said.

Although the “Hannibal” story is unrelated to real-world events, the intent was “to be sensitive to where we are as a nation,” Fuller said.

The episode, the fourth for the freshman series, will be replaced by another “Hannibal” hour. Viewers will not see a plot continuity issue, Levine said.

But a “clip package” with scenes from the unaired episode will be available at NBC.com next week, without the scenes of child violence and with commentary by Fuller. That will allow viewers to keep current with the show’s larger story arcs, the producer said.

“Hannibal” stars Mads Mikkelsen as the title character, the brilliant cannibalistic killer seen on the big screen in “The Silence of the Lambs” and its sequel and introduced in the Thomas Harris novel “Red Dragon.” Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne also star in the drama.

There have been other instances of networks responding quickly to the potentially difficult overlap between fact and fiction.

ABC has delayed airing an episode of the crime drama “Castle” in which a main character, New York police Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), steps on a pressure-sensitive bomb. It had been scheduled to air next Monday, one week after two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 180.

“Out of respect,” Katic tweeted Wednesday.

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LOS ANGELES — The Fox TV series “Glee” will keep on singing for another two years.

The network announced Friday that it has renewed the show about music-loving students through 2014-2015 — its sixth season.

In a statement, Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly said “Glee” continues to break new ground as a rare successful TV musical comedy.

The show been a music hit as well, with more than 50 million downloads of “Glee” tracks and worldwide album sales of more than 13 million.

“Glee” has expanded from its original focus on the McKinley High School glee club to the college world of Rachel and Kurt, played by cast members Lea Michele and Chris Colfer.

Next Thursday’s episode will feature Sarah Jessica Parker. Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson are among previous “Glee” A-list drop-ins.

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BOSTON — The manhunt for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing is causing filming on David O. Russell’s film “American Hustle” to be suspended.

Sony spokesman Steve Elzer said Friday that the film’s producers are heeding official requests to remain indoors as a massive manhunt Friday virtually shut down the city and some suburbs.

Authorities suspended mass transit and asked businesses not to open as thousands of officers swarmed the streets.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra also said it was postponing its Friday night concert for a week.

“American Hustle,” about an FBI sting operation in the late ’70s, features Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper — both stars of Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” — along with Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Amy Adams.

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