14 popular TV shows that were almost canceled too soon

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‘Family Guy’ came close to cancellation after its third season. Fox


“Friends” currently has around a 78% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


But executives reportedly hated the pilot back in 1994 and thought the show was doomed. “Some people thought the show was too Gen X, way too narrow,” Karey Burke, a former prime-time executive at NBC, told Vanity Fair.

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Source: Mic, Vanity Fair


While it almost didn’t make it past test audiences, it ultimately aired and went on to win a Golden Globe, six Primetime Emmy Awards, two SAG Awards, and six People’s Choice Awards among many others.

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Source: Mic, Vanity Fair, Cinema Blend, IMDb


“Seinfeld” currently has around an 88% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


Brandon Tartikoff, then-president of NBC Entertainment, initially approved the show only for a four-episode arc in the 1989-1990 TV season. He told The Baltimore Sun his thought process was, “Who will want to see four Jews wandering around New York acting neurotic?” Its success picked up after the show was given a time slot following “Cheers,” and Tartikoff later dubbed “Seinfeld” “one of the most important and appealing shows of the ’90s.”

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Source: The Baltimore Sun, Den of Geek, TV Guide


Seinfeld went on to win a Golden Globe, 10 Primetime Emmy Awards, six SAG Awards, and four People’s Choice awards, among others.

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Source: IMDb


“Lucifer” currently has around an 82% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


The show was canceled by Fox in 2018, which cited poor ratings. However, it had a fan base that both Amazon and Netflix wanted to feed. Netflix ended up with the series and has already started production on season four.

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Source: Business Insider, Netflix


The show has been nominated for several awards including a People’s Choice Award in 2017.

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Source: IMDb


“The Expanse” currently has around a 90% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


SyFy canceled the futuristic science fiction show in May 2018, but fans, critics, and even “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin rallied behind it. They flew a #SaveTheExpanse banner over Amazon and signed a Change.org petition — Martin reportedly sent a letter to Jeff Bezos himself — and Amazon responded by taking on the series.

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Source: Business Insider, Deadline


The show has been nominated for several awards including a People’s Choice Award in 2018.

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Source: IMDb


“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” currently has around a 95% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


Less than two days after Fox announced in 2018 it would cancel the show, NBC announced it would be picking it up for a sixth season.

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Source: Business Insider


The police comedy has won a Golden Globe, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and two Critic’s Choice Awards, among others.

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Source: IMDb


“Family Guy” currently has around a 64% approval rating from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


Following its third season on the air, Fox canceled the show in 2003. However, the success of syndicated reruns and DVD sales drove the network to resurrect the adult cartoon in 2005.

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Source: Business Insider


It has won eight Primetime Emmy Awards, among other awards.

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Source: IMDb


“Arrested Development” currently has around a 77% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


The show ran on Fox from 2003 to 2006 before ultimately being canceled, but fans had saved it from cancellation after the second season by sending letters and fake bananas — which is a reference to the show — to executives. Netflix revived the show in 2013 after seeing strong DVD and streaming results and again in 2018 for a fifth season.

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Source: Business Insider


Before Fox pulled the plug, the show won a Golden Globe and six Primetime Emmy Awards. It’s also raked in several wins and nominations since the reboot.

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Source: IMDb


“Parks and Recreation” currently has around a 92% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


Early in the show’s lifespan, critics compared it to “The Office” and thought it was essentially the same show. They also thought Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope was “too ditzy,” according to Thought Catalogue. The comedy almost didn’t make it past a single season — in fact, both Poehler and co-creator Michael Schur said they wrote several seasons as if they were the show’s last.

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Source: Entertainment Weekly, Thought Catalogue


Both critics and viewers started to appreciate the show and its storyline more as time passed, and the comedy went on to win a Golden Globe, two Critics Choice Awards, and several others.

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Source: Thought Catalogue, IMDb


“Roseanne” currently has around a 71% approval rating from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


ABC’s 2018 revival of “Roseanne” — which originally ran from 1988 to 1997 — was a success in terms of ratings, but it was also a gamble. Roseanne Barr had been known for making controversial statements, and her 2018 tweet about a member of the Obama Administration led to the show’s cancelation just after it was renewed for a second revived season.

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Source: Business Insider, Fortune


The original 1990s era show had won a Golden Globe, three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, a People’s Choice Award, and many others. The 2018 season was also nominated for two Primetime Emmys.

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Source: IMDb


“The Conners” — a spinoff featuring the family sans-Roseanne — currently has around a 94% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


Even with the controversy and backlash, “Roseanne” was still one of the most watched shows of 2018. Because of the ratings, ABC ordered a 10-episode season of “The Conners.”

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Source: INSIDER


While the spinoff has only been around for one awards season, actress Laurie Metcalf received a Critics Choice Award nomination for her role.

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Source: INSIDER, IMDb


“GLOW” currently has around a 96% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Allison Brie stars on ‘GLOW.’ Netflix

Source: Rotten Tomatoes


The female wrestling show was almost canceled after the first season because of less than stellar viewership. “There were serious conversations from the tech side pressuring the Hollywood side not to renew it for a second season,” someone close to the show told The Wall Street Journal. While the “tech side” was making its decisions based on analytics, the “Hollywood side” was deciding based on its relationships with the producer and recognition of awards. The show had already received critical acclaim at the time of the discussions.

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Source: The Wall Street Journal


The “Hollywood side” won and renewed “GLOW” for another season. The 2017 show already has one Primetime Emmy Award under its belt.

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Source: The Wall Street Journal, IMDb


“The Big Bang Theory” currently has around an 81% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


The show was what Variety calls a “busted pilot” on its first try. This means it didn’t get picked up and would inevitably end up in a drawer, never to be looked at again. It was piloted twice before being picked up in 2007 and running for 12 seasons. Of course, now it actually has come to an end after Jim Parsons decided now is the right time.

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Source: Mic,The New York Times, INSIDER


The sitcom has won one Golden Globe, 10 Primetime Emmy Awards, six Critics Choice Awards, and seven People’s Choice Awards among others.

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Source: IMDb


“Friday Night Lights” currently has around a 96% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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‘Friday Night Lights.’ NBCUniversal

Source: Rotten Tomatoes


Following season two in 2008, NBC cited low ratings as a cause for cancellation. Fans came together to mail lightbulbs with “lights on” written on them, mini footballs, and eye drops to NBC — all in reference to the show. The broadcasting company struck a deal with DirecTV and kept the show going for three more seasons.

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Source:

INSIDER


It won three Primetime Emmy Awards along with several others.

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Source: IMDb


“Baywatch” currently has around an 83% approval rating from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


After flopping, bouncing around in syndication, casting and recasting parts, and being bought and sold to different rights-owners, the series finally took off in the 1990s. It took some heavy resuscitation at times, but ultimately it was able to survive.

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Source: The New York Times


The show came to an end in 2001, but it was nominated for an ALMA award in 1998 and has inspired several spinoffs, including the 2017 movie starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron.

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Source: The New York Times, IMDb


“TIMELESS” currently has around a 91% approval rating from all critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes


The time-travel drama had been rescued by fans twice: once just days following the cancellation after the first season in 2017, and a second time after season two in 2018. NBC then agreed to bring the show back for a two-part series finale during the 2018 holiday season.

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Source: TV Guide


It was nominated for a People’s Choice award in 2017.

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Source: IMDb