10 TV Shows That Were Rescued by Their Fans

From Futurama to Arrested Development and Family Guy, these fandoms rallied together to keep their favorite series alive

01 of 10


Futurama TM and © 2010 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Fry, Leela and Bender are headed to Hulu! Matt Groening and David X. Cohen's animated sci-fi comedy will premiere 20 episodes in 2023 with a returning voice cast that includes Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman. (John DiMaggio, who voiced robot Bender, will not return.)

Futurama first aired on FOX from 1999-2003 and brought back in 2007 with four direct-to-DVD movies which later aired on Comedy Central.

02 of 10


Manifest - Pilot
Craig Blankenhorn/NBC/Warner Brothers

Manifest was canceled by NBC in June 2021 after three seasons. Then two months later, Netflix announced that the fourth and final season would live on the streaming platform with 20 episodes expected to premiere in multiple parts.

03 of 10

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Beth Dubber/FOX

Brooklyn Nine-Nine's rescue by NBC was a bit of a rollercoaster. After Fox canceled the show following its fifth season, stars like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Seth Myers, Mark Hamill, and Guillermo Del Toro tweeted the #SaveBrooklyn99 hashtag, expressing their distress. "RENEW BROOKLYN NINE NINE. I ONLY WATCH LIKE 4 THINGS. THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS," tweeted Miranda.

The show's immense support was in no small part due to its diverse representation of characters. Its debut starred an openly gay, black precinct captain in a loving marriage and two Latina detectives, one of whom — Stephanie Beatriz — recently came out on the show (and in real life) as bisexual.

Within 24 hours, NBC had decided to pick up the show and renew it for a sixth season with 13 episodes.

04 of 10

Arrested Development

Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Any fan of Arrested Development — which chronicles a riches-to-rags dysfunctional family — knows the iconic status of bananas on the show, which is perhaps why dozens of fake ones were sent to producers after Fox announced its cancellation following Season 2.

The move could have been a symbolic of the famous show line; "There's always money in the Banana stand." Although Fox then renewed the series for a third season, they cancelled it soon after, and Bluth Family fans were left in the dark until its revival in 2013 by Netflix for a fourth and fifth season (which came out this year.)

The show reached such cult status that — aside from the heaps of letters flooding Fox headquarters — a group of fans registered the website SaveOurBluths.com, emblematic of another line in the show where the father, George, suggests that very same URL to raise money for the family.

05 of 10

Family Guy


Family Guy was saved by — wait for it — DVD sales. Ah, the early 2000s. Family Guy is one of the most successful fan-rescue models. Now in its 17th season, Fox actually decided to cancel Family Guy after season 3, due to less-than-favorable ratings.

Thanks to the millions (3.5, to be exact) of bundled DVD sales as well as T-shirts, ball caps and dolls, the network reversed its decision.

Even the president of 20th Century Fox, Gary Newman, realized they had made a mistake after giving a speech at Yale University, where during question time, "about 20 hands shot up, and they all asked about Family Guy," he said, according to the Baltimore Sun.

06 of 10


Community; Season 6; Episode 601
Trae Patton/Yahoo/Sony Pictures Television

It's hard to think of a TV show that breaks the fourth wall as craftily as Community. Sure, Modern Family and Glee were also "that's so meta" productions, but the writers and producers of the show consistently and creatively incorporated fan homages and tweets into the actual screenplay.

In 2009, creator Dan Harmon cheekily included a dialogue whereby the actors make fun of the phrase, "Streets ahead," one that was used in a tweet to criticize the show. Harmon even spent $30,000 of his own money to use Sara Bareilles' "Gravity" as tribute to a fan-made video about characters Jeff and Annie's relationship.

The band of adult college misfits so tenderly won over viewers that Community's uncertain future following the fifth season created a wave of panic. Fans had originally picked up on the "Six Seasons and a Movie" tagline pushed forward by the characters and were soon demanding its completion. They held a free Community-themed art gallery in Los Angeles and created Communicon, a convention with panels from some of the writers, all run by the fans themselves.

Eventually, Yahoo Screens saved the day by granting the series a sixth season.

07 of 10


Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

This lighthearted spy drama was about to take a bow after low ratings in its second season, when a rare unison of corporate and fan support took place.

The Subway brand partnered with NBC to get prominent product placement throughout the show, paired with lead actor Zachary Levi's mentions of the chain's widely known promotional $5 foot-longs. This drove fans in hundreds to visit local Subways and order the sandwiches under the name "Chuck," sending a clear message to the network and sponsor.

One fan even created a "Finale & Footlong" blog post asking fans to write letters and watch the season finale live, hoping to drive Subway ad revenue, bolster its sales, and thus encourage it to nudge the network in the right direction. Levi drew a rally of fans to a Subway in Birmingham promoting the grassroots campaign.

They pulled all of it off, because Chuck got three more seasons.

08 of 10

Veronica Mars

VERONICA MARS, front: Kristen Bell; back row: Ryan Hansen, Kyle Gallner, Tessa Thompson, Enrico Cola
Everett Collection

When the teen noir mystery drama starring Kristen Bell faced cancellation rumors after season 2, fans rallied together to raise $7,000 in just one week. For what, you might ask? A plane flying a banner that read, "Renew Veronica Mars CW 2006."

The show did get a third season but was promptly cancelled afterwards. Creator Rob Thomas and Bell knew it couldn't end there, however, and they launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a movie—with a $2 million dollar goal. If it took them a week to raise a mere seven grand, the outlook didn't seem too positive. No one could've expected that they'd manage to raise the grand total — and in just 11 hours.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Bell said of her fan base, "I knew [they] were cool, but I had no idea they could rally with such power." The movie was released in 2014.

09 of 10

Friday Night Lights

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, Taylor Kitsch, Kyle Chandler, Gaius Charles, Zach Gilford, 2006-2011, ©NBC / C
Everett Collection

NBC was sent dozens of light bulbs when it became known that Friday Night Lights' second season had suffered a little too much in ratings. The television drama series following a high school football team in a fictional Texas town garnered a small but devoted audience.

Referencing the show's motto, "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose," fans also sent in eye drops to network executives.

They also launched a "Save FNL" campaign, raising $20,000 to send footballs and Friday Night Lights DVDs to overseas troops.

Eventually, they got the network's attention; NBC struck a deal with DirecTV to co-produce three more seasons.

10 of 10


ROSWELL, (top, from left): Shiri Appleby, Nick Wechsler, (middle): Katherine Heigl, Colin Hanks, Emi
Everett Collection

Anyone remember a 17-year-old Katherine Heigl playing an alien disguised as a high-schooler? Roswell became a cult classic in 1999 when it first hit The WB, adapted from the Roswell High young adult book series written by Melinda Metz.

Despite a largely positive debut, the show's ratings began to sink after its first season. In the series, the aliens' favorite condiment was Tabasco, so Roswell devotees to send loads of the hot sauce to executives over at The WB.

Roswell aired for a second season on The WB before jumping ship to UPN for its third, after which it was canceled.

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