Peacock just canceled one of its biggest shows after just one season

The Peacock app button on the Apple TV home screen
(Image credit: Future)

The list of canceled TV shows in 2022 just keeps on growing, and it’s now the turn of Peacock to swing the cancellation axe for the first time this year. And this time, it's kind of fitting, as this show's premise involved a severed hand.

Deadline reports that Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol won’t be receiving a second season, as Peacock officially canceled it on Monday (Jan. 24). The show is based on the Dan Brown novel of the same name which was a sequel to The Da Vinci Code (the show, however, was a prequel). You don’t need to be a detective, though, to figure out why the series failed to get renewed.

FYI: Peacock just got one of the best movies of the year — and it's 89% on Rotten Tomatoes

Its first season, comprised of 10 episodes, scored a thoroughly average 54% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a similarly unenthusiastic audience score of 53%. The show was perhaps banking on drawing interest from fans of The Da Vinci Code film trilogy starring Tom Hanks. But considering that Inferno, the final installment in that franchise, released in 2016 to a tepid reception (23% RT score, with a 36% audience score), Peacock may have been chasing a non-existent audience.  

The Lost Symbol starred Ashley Zukerman as a young Robert Langdon, who is hired by the CIA to solve a series of deadly puzzles while also stopping a convoluted global conspiracy. The series also starred Eddie Izzard, Beau Knapp, Rick Gonzalez, Valorie Curry and Sumalee Montano.

Peacock released a statement alongside confirmation of the show's cancellation. It reads: “We were so proud to bring this action-packed mystery thriller to our members and enjoyed watching this compelling series unfold with a satisfying, complete story. We’re grateful to [executive producers] Dan Dworkin, Jay Beattie, Dan Brown, Brian Grazer, and Ron Howard along with CBS Studios, Imagine Television, and UTV for bringing this international bestselling novel to life." 

At least the show’s few fans can take solace in the fact the first season covered all the events of the original novel. A second season would have been forced to go off-page and tell an original story. TV history is littered with evidence proving just how difficult that transition from adaptation to original storytelling can be.

Of course, Peacock isn't the only service or network killing off its shows to make space for new ones. Showtime just canceled Black Monday, a show starring Don Cheadle after three seasons. 

Analysis: Peacock has an original shows problem

The failure of The Lost Symbol to generate much interest is more evidence of Peacock’s struggle to find success with original shows. Its revival of Punky Brewster was canceled after a single season, as was its adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic dystopian novel Brave New World. A.P Bio also managed just a single season on the platform after moving from NBC. 

At least Peacock is in good company when it comes to canceling shows after one season. Both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have already nixed single-season shows this year. Netflix canned Cooking with Paris while Amazon pulled the plug on I Know What You Did Last Summer earlier this month. 

Peacock Originals aren't all failures, though. Tina Fey’s well-recieved Girls5Eva and the latest incarnation of Saved by the Bell are pressing ahead with second seasons that could release on the service as early as later this year. 

As for what else is going on in TV, early The Book of Boba Fett episode 5 fan reactions are highly positive, though some say it feels like a different show.

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.