Marco Polo has come to an end. Netflix has opted not to renew the drama series about the famous 13th century merchant and explorer for a third season. Marco Polo, which launched in 2014, was the first Netflix original series developed in the US for the global market. Created by John Fusco, it was inspired by Marco Polo’s early years in the court of Kublai Khan. Because of its setting and scope, the series, produced by the Weinstein Co., had a healthy budget. It attracted sizable viewership in its first season, earning a second season renewal, but the second season, released in July, was more quiet.
“We want to thank and are grateful to our partners on Marco Polo from the actors, whose performances were enthralling and top-notch; to the committed producers, including John Fusco, Dan Minahan, Patrick Macmanus, and their crew, who poured their hearts into the series; and of course Harvey, David and our friends at TWC, who were great collaborators from start to finish,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix VP of Original Content.
The Weinstein Co., which also has upcoming Navy SEAL drama series Six on History, has ramped up its TV slate with several high-profile series orders in the past couple of months, for two high-end dramas at Amazon — a David O. Russell project starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore, and a Matt Weiner series — as well as event series Waco at Spike with Taylor Kitsch and Michael Shannon starring and Jay Z’s docuseries Time: The Kalief Browder Story, also at Spike.
“Netflix has been incredible to give us the room to make a series with a cast true to every principle of diversity. It’s a bold network that allows you to do that and support us in the way that Netflix did,” said Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairman of The Weinstein Company. “As many people know, Asian history and the world of martial arts have fascinated me for all of my career – I’ve made many movies around these topics and this genre, and now this TV show I’m so proud of. John has been a great partner and we’re both fascinated to continue exploring this exciting period in history on future projects together.”
Added Fusco, Marco Polo’s creator and executive producer, “Harvey and I have a love for this kind of history–we had a fantastic cast, fantastic creative team and crew, and shooting in Malaysia was a privilege,” he said. “We’re working on an idea right now in a similar space that we’re very excited about.”