NBC renews ‘Hannibal’ for season 3

Dinner will be served for at least one more year: NBC has renewed “Hannibal” for a third season.

Last spring, NBC waited until well after the upfronts were over to order a second season, in part because the show had premiered so late, in part because the network’s deal with Gaumont International to make and air the show is unusual enough that it didn’t have to follow the traditional schedule. This year, though, the good news came days before NBC’s schedule for next season will be announced. (NBC presents it to advertisers on Monday, though it’ll be released to the press on Sunday.)

“Hannibal” remains one of NBC’s lower-rated shows, but the Gaumont deal also means the cost to NBC is significantly less than for a conventionally-made drama. It’s also one of the very best shows on television, and Fridays are already something of a dead zone.

“Hannibal” developer Bryan Fuller has a long-term plan for the show that will involve getting to the plot of “Red Dragon” eventually, and perhaps doing a twist on the “Silence of the Lambs” story (at the moment, the show doesn’t have the rights to use Clarice Starling or any other characters introduced in that book/film). We still don’t know if they’ll get there, but we’ll have at least one more year of Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy’s chilling brilliance, and of all those delicious/disgusting meals Dr. Lecter is fond of making.

This season has three episodes to go, with a new one airing tonight at 10.