NBC surprised pretty much everyone when the network reversed course and opted to bring the time-travel action series Timeless back for a second season — and now studio execs are offering up a bit more intel on how the decision went down.
The call to renew the show came after a brief, but fervent, fan campaign that made a whole lot of noise in the days after the network pulled the plug. Speaking at the TCAs, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt joked “don’t write this, but they don’t,” when asked if fans really do control his renewal decisions. Tweets are one thing, but ratings are another. Greenblatt said he’d obviously like to see all those fans making noise, and watching the show, while it's still on the air to generate some buzz.
“What I say to the fans when they come out in droves when we cancel a show is, ‘Where were you when we had the show on the air in helping us build this into a huge ratings success?’” Greenblatt said. “The outcry from fans, I don’t know how many there really were. Like all things on social media, it’s a lot smaller than you think. But we’re happy to know they cared and love the show. We love the show.”
Though fan love obviously can’t snatch many low-rated shows from the jaws of cancellation, NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke said it did help push the decision across the finish line, by giving evidence that a devoted contingent of viewers really do love and follow the series.
“That’s what it was: we loved the show. There were some financial challenges with the show. There were ratings challenges with the show,” Salke said. “To be able to have a fan base that’s so engaged in the show just kept bombarding us with feelings that we had about the show, I like to say it was a collaborative passion swell that made us open it up and look at it again. Could we figure out a way to make this make sense? I’m so glad that we did. Genre fans get very excited and noisy about things. I love that. That’s why we love to program for them. It was a good story.”
The second season of Timeless is set to arrive in the midseason of 2018, with a 10-episode order in the works. The show is unlike pretty much anything else on the airwaves, serving as a mostly family-friendly adventure weaving through a dozen or so interesting time periods throughout history. The characters have heart, and the show is just a heck of a lot of fun.
Are you glad NBC pulled the trigger on a second season?