With series like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Lucifer finding themselves on the chopping block, Google searches for “how to bring back a cancelled TV show” presumably skyrocketed in 2018. Fortunately for those desperate viewers, there have been a litany of shows saved from cancellation by fans and fan campaigns. In certain circumstances, the public can undo the decisions of television networks and executives if they complain loud enough for long enough with enough passion.
Television series get cancelled for a multitude of reasons, but one of the biggest factors can be a perceived lack of interest. When viewers go to extreme lengths to campaign for their favorite shows, it demonstrates to networks the fan interest exists, and that can be enough to save a show.
Whether the series is uncancelled on its original network or picked up by a different channel, the end result is the same: more of what fans want. Who can argue with that?
America’s Most Wanted was not a typical television program. While many found it entertaining, its main purpose was to alert Americans to the most dangerous criminals at large in the hopes they would be found and brought to justice.
Because of its perceived importance, there have been intense campaigns to save the show each time it has been cancelled. The first came in 1996, when 37 state governors, multiple law enforcement agencies, and droves of fans numbering in the thousands wrote letters to Fox demanding its return.
The series came back and lasted another 15 years before getting cancelled again in 2011. Another campaign erupted, and the program was picked up by Lifetime, where new episodes continued to release until 2013.
- Photo: CBS
The story of how fans of CBS’s Jericho campaigned to revive the series is absolutely nuts, and that’s a far more literal statement than one might initially anticipate.
In the series's supposed final episode, one of the main characters responds to a call to surrender by saying “Nuts!” and fans took that statement as a sign. They collectively shipped more than 20 tons of nuts to CBS, and the network couldn’t help but respond - bringing Jericho back for seven additional episodes before cancelling it again.
- Photo: Disney/ABC
Fan campaigns don't usually emerge to save children’s programming, as young people just don’t have the same resources to make their voices heard. However, Disney’s Kim Possible was certainly an exception.
When the show was cancelled and concluded in an unsatisfactory fashion after its third season, fans campaigned through internet petitions and old-school letter-writing and convinced Disney to bring it back for a fourth and final season.
- Photo: Comedy Central
The program Mystery Science Theater 3000 has had a long and convoluted history of cancellation and revival. The show started out on a UHF channel in Minneapolis, MN, but moved over to HBO's Comedy Channel (later rebranded as Comedy Central) a year later in 1989 after the original network went under.
Eight years later, Comedy Central cancelled the show, but a massive fan campaign convinced the Sci-Fi Channel to pick it up. When that network cancelled it in 1999, the show went on hiatus, but fans' desire for it to return never really dissipated.
A decade-and-a-half later, a 2015 Kickstarter campaign was highly successful, leading MST3K to return for its third reincarnation on Netflix in 2017.