“Masters of Sex” ended its fourth season on Showtime earlier this month — and as it turns out, that was the series finale as well.
The show, a fictionalized account of the lives and work of sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson, won’t return for a fifth season on Showtime. Deadline first reported the cancellation, with both the creative team and Showtime reportedly deciding the show had run its course.
The fourth season of the show dealt largely with Masters (Michael Sheen) and Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) struggling with their notoriety and dealing with internal strife within their practice. The finale saw the duo stave off a professional threat and concluded with the two of them getting married (in real life, Masters and Johnson married in 1971 and divorced in 1993).
The show earned 11 Emmy nominations (and one win, for guest actress Allison Janney) over its first three seasons but didn’t draw viewership on the level of Showtime’s flagship series “Shameless” and “Ray Donovan.” Season 4 of “Masters of Sex” averaged only about 450,000 same-day viewers, less than half the audience for “Shameless” (1.32 million) or “Ray Donovan” (1.22 million). It rose to about 800,000 viewers with three days of DVR and on-demand viewing.