It was a rare instance of a TV network second-guessing its decision.
NBC canceled Timeless late Thursday, spelling an end to the time-travel drama after a mere 16 episodes. Two days later, it reversed course and announced a 10-episode renewal.
“There was a moment earlier in the week where we just thought, ‘We have all these shows that are coming back and these new shows and maybe there’s not room for Timeless, and we decided to move on from it,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told reporters on Sunday. “And then we woke up the next morning, all of us, and heard from fans and the outcry and we thought, ‘Well, let’s figure out how to try to bring it back,’ ” he said. Quick negotiations with producer Sony Pictures Television — and quite possibly, a lower price tag, which Greenblatt wouldn’t confirm — produced a “great deal,” he said. “We love the show creatively,” he added, noting it could return as early as next spring.
In an email, Greenblatt said the fans went to the annual Save Our Shows poll, which asked readers to vote on the fate of 24 borderline series, was a factor in NBC’s reversal, along with an organic #RenewTimeless fan campaign. “All of the fan reaction, which was confirmed by your poll, was part of the reason we worked so hard to bring it back,” he said of the series, which stars Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter and Malcolm Barrett.
The #TimeTeam went back 3 days, and changed history. @nbc picked us up for 10 episodes. Seriously. Airs next summer. #TimelessRenewed pic.twitter.com/SDkeShlByL
— Eric Kripke (@therealKripke) May 13, 2017
Mission #ResuscitateTimeless completed. Couldn't have done it without you!!! NBC heard your cries and changed their minds! We're baaaaack.
— Matt Lanter (@MattLanter) May 13, 2017
1) I have been in this business for almost 20 years & never have I ever experienced anything like what has happened today & this week…
— Abigail Spencer (@abigailspencer) May 13, 2017
Timeless, which topped the poll with 49% of the record turnout (more than 146,000 voters) wasn’t the only fan favorite to win a reprieve. No. 2 pick Elementary, with 48% support, was renewed by CBS late Saturday. (Only 15% of fans wanted either show dropped.) No. 3 pick Blindspot, with 36% support, also was renewed by NBC, along with ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. Other returning “bubble shows”: CW’s iZombie and The Originals, NBC’s Taken and Fox’s The Exorcist, while the fates of some others, including NBC’s Chicago Justice, are unsettled.
By Gary Levin