NBC pulls "Hannibal" episode in wake of Boston bombings

Mads Mikkelson as Dr. Hannial Lecter on NBC's "Hannibal."
Brooke Palmer/NBC

NBC has decided not to air next week's episode of "Hannibal" in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

The episode, Variety reports, contains content involving children killing other children. The decision reportedly came after series creator Bryan Fuller called the network and said that, "given the cultural climate right now in the U.S., I think we shouldn't air the episode in its entirety."

"I didn't want to have anyone come to the show and have a negative experience," Fuller told Variety. "Whenever you [write] a story and look at the sensational aspects of storytelling, you think, 'This is interesting metaphorically, and this is interesting as social commentary.' With this episode, it wasn't about the graphic imagery or violence. It was the associations that came with the subject matter that I felt would inhibit the enjoyment of the overall episode. ... It was my own sensitivity."

Instead of airing episode four of "Hannibal," NBC will air the fifth episode in its place. The network says there won't be any continuity issues, according to Variety, and that critics have already seen the third and fifth episodes but not the fourth. However, Alan Sepinwall of HitFix writes that "it was clear in watching the fifth episode (and the 'Previously, on "Hannibal"' clips before it) that some notable character and plot arc things had happened in between the hours I'd seen."

Removing the fourth episode also bumps up the show's season finale date -- the last episode will air now air June 20, instead of June 27.

Other networks have made similar programming decisions -- ABC opted todelay an episode of "Castle" that had a bombing storyline, and Fox pulled an episode of "Family Guy" that depicted Peter Griffin hitting Boston Marathon runners with his car from its rotation and online viewing after YouTube users manipulated the video.