Fox cancels sexy Egypt fantasy 'Hieroglyph' before premiere

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Fox has decided not to make its ambitious Ancient Egypt drama series after all.

The network is shutting down Hieroglyph, the network’s sexy historical-fantasy thriller that was previously given a straight-to-series order for midseason.

The show’s writers were informed earlier Monday, sources say. The show starred Max Brown, Reece Ritchie, Condola Rashad and John Rhys-Davies. Only one episode had been shot, but scripts had been written for several more episodes. We’re told that the series wasn’t creatively coming together the way executives had hoped.

The move follows the departure of Fox’s former programming chief Kevin Reilly, who greenlit the series. Fox has yet to announce its new programming leadership.

Hieroglyph was an adventure series from creator/executive producer Travis Beacham (Pacific Rim, Clash of the Titans) that was was seen by some as Fox’s attempt to get into the fantasy genre in the wake of HBO’s Game of Thrones. In the words of the show’s official description, the drama followed a “notorious thief who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharoah, forcing him to navigate palace intrigue, seductive concubines, criminal underbellies and divine sorcerers, as he races to stop the downfall of one of history’s greatest civilizations.”

A broadcast network axing a greenlit series before its even aired is pretty rare, but it does happen. Last year Fox shot a Jason Ritter sitcom called Us & Them, based on the UK comedy Gavin & Stacey, which was quietly shelved. Also last year, NBC’s Next Caller starring Dane Cook was scheduled for midseason, yet the network changed its mind (you didn’t miss anything). Most of the time, such instances are relatively inexpensive sitcoms or reality shows, not pricy dramas, which tend to have more momentum given the commitments involved. Still aborting a drama is not without precedent either — in 2010, NBC shot a post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama called Day One which ultimately never aired.

UPDATE: 7 awesome shows canceled before they premiered

While Hieroglyph may be gone, you can still check out the show’s trailer:

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