What can we do (as television watching fans and enthusiasts), to get cancelled shows back in production and back on TV?

I really miss Fringe, for instance, and I know others do too. Surely there must be something that we can do to get more episodes when our favourite shows get cancelled.

  • 4
    Look, it ain't happening. TV shows getting un-cancelled in whatever way is a very rare occurrence, especially years after their demise. Fringe's cancellation happened 3+ years ago, the show had 100 episodes, and the viewing figures never were good enough to justify the expense.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 12:49
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    It has something of a cult following.
    – voices
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 5:05
  • 1
    Buy all of the DVDs. Not a guarantee, but it did work for Family Guy.
    – Raj
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 13:01

2 Answers 2


Other than paying a network $50 Million to air it? Not a great deal. Networks will only pick up a show they think will sell well. However, there other options if fans and the cast of the show work together.

The prime example right now would be the Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter. This was a project created by one of the original cast of the show, to do two things. 1, bring back a cult show for the fans to enjoy, and 2, show cable networks that the show can be profitable. The show was able to raise enough money to run 14 full length episodes. The idea is that they'll use the viewing figures for these new episodes, along with how well their kickstarter went, to sell the show back to a network.

They way the fans contribute to this is, well, giving them money and watching the show.

  • 1
    Fans can also organize themselves and petition to bring the show back, e.g. the successful peanut campaign that got Jericho a 2nd season.
    – Walt
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 8:31
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    You would be better offer petitioning providers such as Amazon, Netflix which may be more open to suggestions than networks. You would need to prove viewer base though and outline the benefits for them Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 8:41
  • I've never heard of MST3K before. Is it any good? More importantly; do you think this Kickstarter approach is viable for something else (i.e. Fringe) ?
    – voices
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 9:18
  • @user2389087 Yes, I had the same thought Re: Netflix. If I'm not mistaken, I think something like that happened with the TV show; Community.
    – voices
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 9:22
  • Kickstarter isn't a good idea for most shows, since the budgets involved are waaaay beyond what a handful of fans can invest. (Look at the Veronica Mars movie, which still looked fairly cheap despite Warners paying for reshoots etc.) And platforms like Amazon, Netflix et al aren't going to revive an existing show unless there's a lot of potential and limited cost. They'd much rather start up their own (cheaper) shows.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 12:56

Make it cheaper and more popular than it was. This is highly unlikely. Or be a cult hit that's still a cult hit decades later with a cult that's grown.

The days of letter campaigns "saving" shows and getting them an additional season (e.g., Star Trek (TOS) or Remington Steele are long gone. And generally when they did succeed, you only got one more season. Shows have natural lifespans; they jump the shark, and oft-times, getting more episodes doesn't mean you actually get more of the show to love.

Something like Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life or the recent revival of The X-Files really only happens because the episode count is low enough to make the budget relatively small, and they had found new audiences. Something like Longmire can continue on Netflix after having been cancelled by A&E, because it's a short-run show with a low budget and has good enough ratings for Netflix to find it desirable.

But it also had the advantage of still being in production. Once the cast moves on to other projects, and the sets are broken down and all the costumes and props go away, it becomes very tough to put it all back together again.

Shows don't get cancelled because they have huge mass audience appeal. Today's bazillion channel-mit-streaming outlets world, nobody gets a 40 share any more, like they did when there were only three broadcast channels. Everybody's clawing at smaller and smaller pieces of the pie, which is why we see so many shows with lower episode counts these days. Smaller risk for the networks to pull in the advertising dollar or subscription fees to pay for it.

As someone who lived through the Fox Friday-night-slot-o'-death-show-parade throughout the '80s and '90s, I will also note that SF shows tend to be higher on the kill list, simply because FX and building a world you can't just find adds to the budget. Fox was all set to renew James Cameron's Dark Angel for its fourth season, when they got a last-minute pitch from Joss Whedon, and they cancelled Dark Angel so they could pay for Firefly. Them's the breaks.

Personally, as a fan, the best thing you can do for yourself is participate in whatever activities that happen around the death of the show, just so you can mourn it, if for no other reason. But if nothing comes of it, give it up, let it go, and follow the showrunner to their next project.

The showrunner is the guy you follow. In the case of Fringe, that would probably mean keeping an eye out to see if J.H. Wyman is making any pilots for the 2017-2018 season* (or maybe hunting up Almost Human). Was I disappointed when Leverage went down? A bit, but I knew John Rogers was working on The Librarians and The Player. Was I crushed when Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, and Hannibal were cancelled? Of course. But I trundled after Bryan Fuller wherever he led (including The Amazing Screw-On Head, Mockingbird Lane, and High Moon, all of which went to pilot and then died), and I'm still following Bryan Fuller to American Gods. Was I heartbroken when Person of Interest was cancelled? Yes. But I let it go, and followed Jonathan Nolan over to Westworld. As a fan, that is what I do; be a fan of the creator.

  • footnote added in 2021: J.H. Wyman has a new NBC show, premiering Mar. 1, Debris.
  • Just to note, we are in an age were some things can come back. Currently Bryan Fuller has began talks for a possible Hannibal season 4, as Silence of the Lambs rights with MGM have been lifted, which is one of the reasons the show was canceled. Longmire was saved by Netflex, argumentively has become better for it, because streaming services allows for more mature content. Netflix seems pretty liberal on the creative front. Even CBS ALL ACCESSES has The Good Wife spin off, The Good Fight--it is just so much more capable of going places that TGW couldn't due CBS ratings/content standards. Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 15:06
  • @DarthLocke you did notice my mentioning why Longmire was on the list of the rescued? None of which apply to Fringe three years after cancellation (can you really see Anna Torv working Mindhunter in between Fringe seasons?). Hannibal, too, was a short-run show. And Fuller had to give up ST:Discovery because he's doing American Gods and Amazing Stories. I wouldn't count on any Hannibal rumors just yet unless we're talking a self-contained movie/miniseries of SotL.
    – inkista
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 17:08
  • Ya--I did. I wasn't trying to discredit or anything, just discussing. I thought you had a great answer! :) Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 17:30
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    Also Hannibal's cancellation was in part about not being able to move forward because they still couldn't get Silence of the Lambs rights. Allegedly they may finally be able to negotiate now (not to mention NBC wants to launch their own streaming service). However Fuller has been fired from many jobs via excessive budgets or creative differences (American Gods, Star Trek: Discovery, Amazing Stories, and The Vampire Chronicles Pilot) it looks like his career is on the fritz for the time being. And Yes, Anna Torv could do both shows if Fringe revival was streamlined to 10-13 episodes. Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 12:53
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    @shoover, Yes, Devlin's EP, but Downey & Rogers are only consulting producers, and the showrunner is going to be Kate Rorick. She was one of The Librarians writing crew, so I'm hopeful, but I'd've been happiest with Rogers and Downey more actively involved. Then again, I'd probably be happiest if Showtime hadn't passed on Rogers's Kingkiller Chronicles. Remember, I follow the showrunner. :)
    – inkista
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 3:16

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