The episode, which was slated to air on April 25, depicts children, who have been brainwashed by a woman (Saturday Night Live vet Molly Shannon), murdering other children. Instead, NBC will air the fifth episode of the freshman series, but said there should not be any continuity issues.
The decision to pull the episode, following a similar decision by ABC and its hit show Castle, was made by Hannibal boss Bryan Fuller, who cited the country's "cultural climate" when talking with NBC. "I didn't want to have anyone come to the show and have a negative experience," Fuller told Variety. "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."
There are no plans to air the episode in the States at a later date, which means Hannibal will now wrap its freshman run on June 20 instead of June 27.
Besides pulling scripted content, such as the episodes of Hannibal and Castle, programming has been adjusted in other ways in response to the events in Boston. The major networks will air news specials about the bombings on Friday evening. CBS News Special Report: Boston Bombers will air on Friday at 9/8c, subsequently pushing a new episode of Vegas to Saturday at 8/7c. ABC and NBC will both air special editions of their respective news magazines, 20/20 and Rock Center, at 10/9c.
As of late Friday, authorities in Massachusetts were still engaged in an intense manhunt to find 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two individuals believed to be responsible for the bombings.