With the return of The X-Files, MacGyver, Gilmore Girls and Full House, you can’t blame us for dubbing 2016 the year of TV reboots and remakes. But while some shows are immediately successful and continue to be for many seasons, others had to fight for survival – rather, their fans had to fight for their survival.
Today, we’re taking a look at four series which were saved from cancellation by their devoted (and persistent) fans.
1. Star Trek
Perhaps the first ever fan-resurrected show, the original Star Trek series’ future was in serious doubt after rumours began to circulate in late 1967 that NBC planned to cancel it. In response, hundreds of thousands of viewers (116,000 between December 1967 and March 1968 alone) wrote letters to network execs begging them to give the show another chance and hundreds of students staged protests. The fans got their way, but their favourite sci-fi series was cancelled again (for good) the next year.
2. A Place to Call Home
This beloved Aussie period drama debuted in 2013 on Channel Seven to rave reviews and ratings well over the 1 million mark, but the network decided to pass on the opportunity to renew the series for another season. Enraged fans banded together, passionately protested the cancellation and lo and behold, someone listened – only it wasn’t Channel Seven. Foxtel stepped in and saved the program, producing two seasons with another currently in production.
3. Designing Women
Despite running for an impressive seven seasons, this US sitcom about four women and a man working at an interior design firm was cancelled just one year in after a ratings dip. Inspired by a letter-writing campaign that saved ‘80s cop drama Cagney & Lacey, around 50,000 fans petitioned the network to renew the show. In January 1987, the head of CBS Entertainment reportedly waved a white flag outside his window and announced the series’ renewal.
4. Friday Night Lights
This US drama received positive reviews from the get go, but never quite reached its ratings potential. As a result, it was at risk of cancellation after just two seasons, the second of which was cut short by the 2007-08 Writers Guild of America strike. Its passionate fanbase ran email campaigns, started Facebook groups and created online petitions, and the higher-ups paid attention. They struck a deal with a pay-TV provider and gave fans three more seasons.
Were you a fan of any of these shows? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.