Cinemax moves forward on ‘Hunted’ without the BBC

Both HBO and Cinemax have benefited from trans-Atlantic partnerships the last few years, resulting in shows like “Extras,” “Strike Back” and most recently “Hunted,” the Cinemax thriller starring Melissa George as Sam Hunter, a British private spy looking for revenge on the people who tried to kill her. These partnerships have given the larger HBO family access to series and talent who might not have been available without taking on a partner in the U.K., and at a cheaper price than if they were producing it on their own.

But some partnerships don’t always go smoothly, as Cinemax has found out with “Hunted.” The series still has a few weeks to go in its U.S. run (original episodes air Fridays at 10), but BBC One has already announced that they won’t renew the show for a second season, despite Cinemax’s interest in continuing the show.

As first reported by Deadline, Cinemax will try to continue the story of Sam Hunter, if not the some of the larger stories of “Hunted,” without the BBC’s involvement. Because of the multiple righstholders involved, Cinemax can’t simply  continue “Hunted” as a series, but they and creator Frank Spotnitz do have the ability to build a new show around Sam herself.

“We are making plans with creator and executive producer Frank Spotnitz and star Melissa George to present a new chapter in the Sam Hunter mythology,” Cinemax president Kary Antholis said in a statement. “We are very pleased with what ‘Hunted’ has done for Cinemax’s brand and are very excited about what lies ahead.”

From what I’m hearing, Cinemax executives are frustrated with the BBC for announcing this decision before the American run is over, but also relieved to be finished with a collaboration that they found creatively stifling much of the time.

I’ve seen the full season of “Hunted,” and without going into too much detail, some of the stories get complete closure, while others were left as danglers to be continued in additional seasons. It’s unclear which of those might be allowed to continue in this new Cinemax-only version, which may be frustrating to people who watched this season. On the other hand, the strongest part of the show is Melissa George herself and the character Spotnitz created for her, and a clean break from a fairly complicated storyline in favor of something focused even more heavily on that character – particularly if the people at Cinemax are right that their partners across the pond were holding them back – might not be such a bad thing.