Top 10 TV Shows Saved by Fans


Every season networks broadcast new shows, eager to have fans tune in. Every season some shows just can’t seem to bring in enough viewers so they are canceled. Yet, once in a while, there comes a show that has such a strong fan base that they are able to bring a show back from being on the “bubble” of being canceled. Here are 10 shows that were saved thanks to the quick efforts of their fans:

10. Jericho (2007)

CBS canceled this show due to the poor ratings it was receiving. Jericho fans were not satisfied with that response so they launched a massive campaign to get their show back onto the air. They sent 20 tons of peanuts to the network executives in order to convince them to change their minds. The show was brought back for a second season although the ratings continued to decline. When a similar movement was held at the end of the second season, there was not enough support for the show to return to air.

9. Arrested Development (2005)

FOX decided to cancel Arrested Development after the ratings were dropping over the course of the second season. The season had already been cut from 22 episodes to 18. Fans wrote in for the return of the show and even sent banana crates to the FOX offices to convince them to return the show. FOX agreed to return the show for a short third season with only 13 episodes.

8. Futurama (2010)

When FOX canceled Futurama in 2003, fans were disappointed and began to buy the series on DVD. The show was picked up by Comedy Central in 2006, which led to Futurama movies. Soon after, fans began to write in wanting to see more of their favorite futuristic sci-fi comedy. FOX and Comedy Central talked with creators Groening and Cohen and returned the show to air on Comedy Central four years after it had been canceled.

7. Chuck (2009)

The spy comedy series was in trouble after its second season failed to maintain the strong response of the first season. NBC executives were trying to decide between keeping or canceling the show when fans launched into a massive two month campaign aimed at keeping their favorite show alive. The use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter gained a strong following. Fans also donated money in NBC’s name to the American Heart Association in their “Have a Heart, Renew Chuck” campaign. Eventually NBC executives decided to renew Chuck, which is still on the air.

6. Designing Women (1989)

When CBS moved the popular show to different nights, the ratings plummeted. When they were considering whether or not they should cancel Designing Women, the fan base wrote in. They wanted their show to remain on TV but they wanted it moved to another night. CBS agreed and moved the show, which had usually placed in the top 30 ratings, to Monday night. From then, the show was in the top 20 until CBS once again moved the show to Friday night. The show dropped off in popularity and ended in its seventh season.

5. Star Trek (1968)

When the popular show Star Trek was canceled, fans were quick to respond with an overwhelming amount of support for the show to return. NBC obliged but the show was moved to late Friday nights with a lowered budget which lead to the unsuccessful season. This was the first instance of fans writing in to get their show back on the air.

4. Roswell (2000)

In 2000 at the end of its first season, Roswell viewers who feared their show was going to be cancelled launched a massive campaign to keep their show on the air. Many supporters sent in bottles of Tabasco sauce to the network. These bottles were used because of the aliens affection for them in the series. When The WB brought it back, it went on to have two more successful seasons because of its strong fan base.

3. Felicity (2000)

When the show dropped in ratings during its second season, The WB decided to cancel the show. Not only did fans rally for the show to return by showing up in front of the station but the stars themselves showed up to lend their support. After a massive Internet and letter campaign, The WB agreed to renew the show. The show went on to have two more seasons before it ended.

2. Cagney and Lacey (1983)

Cagney and Lacey was canceled at the end of its first season. A letter writing campaign convinced CBS to bring the show back. The fans added additional support when Ms. Magazine and the National Organization for Women joined in on their crusade. When it returned, the series went on to have six more successful seasons. Between the two leading ladies, there was a total of six awards won including Best Leading Lady.

1. Family Guy (2005)

The first show to be brought out of years of cancellation, Family Guy has proven itself to be strong in the ratings that FOX said initially eluded them. FOX canceled the show back in 2002 after a second season because of low ratings but bought another season even after it had been canceled. During the time between, the show was picked up for syndication by various other stations including Cartoon Network where fans began to show interest. After maintaining strong ratings, FOX asked Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to recreate the show again. The show has returned for six more seasons as well as creating movies and spin-offs (The Cleveland Show), and was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series which is the first time an animated series had been nominated since the Flintstones in 1961.

by Danielle Kazemi

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  1. Michael May on

    Don’t Cancel SMASH!! Quality programming should be applauded and supported. The talent displayed is amazing!!

  2. I wish Kyle XY was on this list. It should have been returned after cancellation. The ending of the third season was so in the air with unanswered questions.
    If it could be anything like Futurama and Family guy (even though they’re animated) I would be psyked.

  3. Friday Night Lights just ended its firth and final season after being saved by fans as well. Its one of my top five favorites ever!

  4. Futurama should be # 1, It came back after a 7 year hiatus! Also futurama is the best show on that list.

  5. I think star trek should have been number one, not because I’m a “fan-boy” – i’m not, though I like it. But because although it only got one more season at the time, continued fan support and syndication success led to10 movies, a return to TV in the form of ST the next generation, and 3 more shows for a total of 25 more seasons of star trek after the cancellation.

    • I counted ST Next Generation, Deep Space 9, and Voyager as three separate TV shows as compared to the original Star Trek. While they are still all part of the same family, they came later and under a different title.

  6. Um, did we forget about the US version of the office. That show was very close to getting pulled after the first season. I know, I wrote in to try to save it. Yes, the show has been in steady decline over the years. But for the first few seasons it was pure greatness.

    • LOL This one I will admit I did not know. I thought I had found all of the shows that were saved by fans but I guess one slipped. Thanks for the great catch!

  7. Firefly should be on this list. Even though they never got to finish their first season the fan support from DVD sales eventually lead to big-budgeted Hollywood movie to tie up all the loose ends.

    • When I looked up information about Firefly/Serenity, the creator stated that there were plans for the movie to be made before the fans started to request it. So I kept it off because it would have happened regardless.

      Wish it would come back though – I’d love to see some more adventures of Mal and the crew.

  8. Chuck should be higher on the list, The fans buying up all those Subway sandwiches was incredible.

    • It will probably be higher eventually than the position it is right now if NBC keeps renewing it. Almost every season though it’s a close call to see whether it’s coming back or not.