Back before the era of streaming networks and any channel aside from the “Big Four” being worth your time, hearing your fave TV show was canceled was the worst. But now when a show is axed at its home network, a chance of survival exists. Whether the show is picked up by other networks or taken on by Netflix or Hulu, there are more avenues than ever for shows to live on after cancellation. This is great and all, but we can’t help but lament all the amazing shows that were canceled before this was the norm! Luckily for us, true cancellations are becoming less and less normal (for good shows, at least) as we get years and years with our faves that we would never have had even a decade ago!
In the last few years alone, several TV shows have been saved from an early death by another network. And not only is this great for fans but oftentimes it gives the show an extra boost. When they get to make the jump to a streaming network or to another channel more suited to their tone, they get to branch out further, get some creative wiggle room, and it begins to feel more at home than it did originally. And when a show feels comfortable, the fans are rewarded with richer storylines and more passionate actors!
The Mindy Project
Canceled by Fox, picked up by Hulu
Spoiler alert: tons of the great shows on this list were unfairly canceled by Fox and picked up elsewhere. Apparently, they don’t know what they’ve got ’til it’s gone! The fan-favorite comedy was canceled after three seasons at Fox but quickly picked up by Hulu in one of the first big moves by a streaming network to save an established TV show. Once it moved over to the streaming network, it was clear that they had more freedom. The character of Jeremy (Ed Weeks) shifted from the hyper-masculine Fox ideal to a softer version on the Hulu iteration. The show ended with the sixth season, proving the move to Hulu doubled its lifespan!
Canceled by The CW, picked up by BET
After three years on The CW The Game, a spin-off of the show Girlfriends, was axed by the network. It was soon picked up by BET where it lived on for six more seasons! The TV show truly had a fuller life on the network and much higher ratings than when it was on The CW. It set records at BET for series premiere viewership and gained a larger following. Sometimes making the move from one network to another allows a TV show to find it’s true audience, something they wouldn’t have been able to do where they originally aired!
Canceled by TeenNick, picked up by Netflix
Degrassi, in all of its iterations, has been one of the longest-running teen TV shows of all time. So when TeenNick canceled it, obviously fans weren’t going to just sit back and take it. Netflix swooped in and bought the rights, rebranding it as Degrassi: Next Class. Some of the characters from the previous chapter of the series appeared in this new depiction of Degrassi High, as well as many new faces. Netflix is churning out episodes fast and furiously, with four seasons under its belt from 2016-2017 alone! And that’s just great for everyone because the more Degrassi drama, the better!
Canceled by ABC, picked up by CMT
This was a no-brainer pick-up! When Nashville, a show about country music stars, was canceled at ABC, who else would be as perfect as CMT to pick it up?! The Country Music Network was a natural home for the show and allowed it to grow its audience among country music fans. It was a huge leap of faith for the network that had barely dabbled in scripted programming before picking up the show. But the pick-up allowed for Nashville to air two more seasons and tie up loose ends on its own terms. If it had ended with season four, fans would have been left with a massive cliffhanger. But fortunately, they were able to end the show in a satisfying way.
Canceled by NBC, picked up by TNT
Southland was almost a one-season wonder. NBC axed the TV show after its first season, but luckily, TNT swooped in quickly to save it. The show was all set to premiere its second season when NBC announced they were pushing it off so they could promote it more fully. And then mere weeks later, they canceled it without airing any of the second season eps. TNT bought the rights to the first season, the second season episodes that were already completed, and the rights to the show as a whole. The cop drama went on for four more seasons on its new home and had a full run it wouldn’t have had otherwise. It also helped establish TNT as more than a place to watch Tom Cruise movie marathons!
Canceled by Fox, picked up by Comedy Central
Right from the get-go, Fox didn’t have a ton of confidence in Futurama. They threw it all over the schedule, aired it whenever they felt like it, and regularly pushed the show off for sports games and specials. Midway through the fourth season, the network stopped ordering episodes and let the show’s production lapse. The show landed in syndication and, at that point, Comedy Central discussed the idea of producing more episodes, which led to four direct-to-DVD films, the last of which constituted as a series finale. But eventually, Comedy Central ended up producing all-new episodes of the show, where it aired for two more seasons. Although it was eventually canceled at Comedy Central as well, fans and the cast alike always hope for another revival!
Canceled by Lifetime, picked up by Hulu
UnReal dramatizes the behind-the-scenes craziness of a The Bachelor-esque show. So obviously it’s going to get into some sort of drama itself! The show’s fourth season was completed before the third even aired, which should have guaranteed it would be airing on Lifetime as planned. But suddenly in July 2018, Hulu began airing all the past seasons of the show — as well as the new, un-aired fourth season, hailing it as a Hulu original. Hulu bought the rights to the show in order for the fourth – and now final, – season to be seen.
Last Man Standing
Canceled by ABC, picked up by Fox
When Last Man Standing was canceled, fan campaigns popped up everywhere to save the show. While it ran for six seasons on ABC, fans wouldn’t stop clamoring for more. They praised the show’s conservative ideals and wondered if that was why it was canceled. So it only makes sense that Fox would be the one to revive the show one year after it was canceled. After canceling nearly every comedy the network had in spring 2018 (including one that got revived by another network!), it shocked viewers by picking up the defunct show. Part of the reason? The huge success of the Roseanne revival. Fox realized they could bring another huge sitcom star, Tim Allen, back to TV and capture that conservative, blue-collar audience.
Canceled by A&E;, picked up by Netflix
This western drama doubled its lifespan by getting picked up by another network! While it was one of the highest-rated original series on A&E;, it was canceled after its third season. Reportedly it was canceled because it appealed to an older audience… meaning it didn’t appeal at all to advertisers! Netflix bought the rights to the show, though, and aired it for three more seasons while also streaming all of the previous seasons. They embraced the idea that it would appeal to a certain type of viewer, and since they don’t rely on advertising revenue, it was a non-issue.
Canceled by Fox, picked up by ABC
Once upon a time, American Idol was the biggest thing in the world. But when the three OG judges left, so did many viewers, thus leading to cancellation after 15 seasons. It just wasn’t the same without Simon Cowell or our dawg Randy Jackson! But, in 2018, someone decided the world needed this specific reality singing competition back on TV! ABC picked the show up for a 16th season with all-new judges including Katy Perry. While it hasn’t become the juggernaut the original once was, it’s done respectably well and will return for a 17th season.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Canceled by The WB, picked up by The UPN
Before they merged into The CW, The WB and The UPN were warring networks. Both were trying to appeal to a young, hip audience. When The WB refused to give salary increases to the cast and crew of Buffy the Vampire Slayer after the fifth season, The UPN was right there pick the show up. The WB effectively let the show go, not feeling they should put more time and money into it. If it had not been picked up by UPN, we never would have gotten the last two seasons and some of the best episodes of the series! The new network didn’t stop fans from finding the show, luckily, and the season six premiere pulled in massive ratings due to that massive season five cliffhanger!
Canceled by ABC, picked up by TBS
This is another TV show that doubled its life with a last-minute pick up from another network! When ABC canceled the Courteney Cox series in 2013, many felt that was the end of the road. Revivals from other networks were far from the norm during this time. But then, TBS, a network known for mid-day movie marathons and comedy re-runs, picked the show up for a 15-episode season with the option for more. The show went to keep chugging along for three more seasons, giving fans six seasons of Cougar Town goodness and keeping Cox, a national treasure, on our TV screens even longer!
Canceled by ABC, picked up by Showtime
Twin Peaks is surely one of the weirdest TV shows of all time. And perhaps that was why the ratings declined as much as they did in the show’s season. After the mystery of “who killed Laura Palmer?” was finished, there just wasn’t much to the series to be interested in other than the continuous weird things happening. So, in 1991, it was canceled. Fast-forward to 2017 and Twin Peaks was back, baby! This time as a limited-series run, and not on ABC: on Showtime. It was a move to a network more suited to the bizarre and fascinating things happening on the show! It also gave fans some sense of closure, and a little more time in this interesting little world.
Canceled by Fox, picked up by Netflix
Lucifer, a show in which the Devil abandons hell to run a bar in L.A. and help the LAPD (sure, why not?) was, unsurprisingly, never a ratings bonanza. Declining viewership led to Fox canceling the show after its third season. But Netflix rode in on a white horse to save the day! After making fans wait a month in which they thought their fave show was gone for good, the streaming giant announced they were picking up Lucifer for a fourth season to air sometime in 2019. While it’s a bit of a wait for fans, it’s a hell of a lot better than nothing!
Canceled by NBC, picked up by…Yahoo!
This is one of the weirder revivals! When Community was ousted at NBC after five seasons, fans were clamoring for “six seasons and a movie!” They got their wish for a sixth season when Yahoo! Screen ordered a sixth and final season to air on their lesser-known streaming website. It was a weird move, considering no one really knew what Yahoo! Screen was, but it allowed the series to live on for one more year. The actors’ contracts were up with that sixth season and, with all their careers heating up, they marketed it as the very last season. Yahoo! Screen closed down in 2016, but we’ll always have that sixth season. Now all we need is a movie!
Canceled by Fox, picked up by Netflix
Arrested Development was always the silly little show that could. Despite low viewership, the series lasted for three years at Fox before getting the boot. While there’s always money in the banana stand, there was no more money at the network for the show! It wasn’t until seven years after its initial cancellation that the show was brought back, but this time by Netflix! The fourth season aired in 2013 and was presented in two iterations — one with 15 episodes, another with 22, telling the story more chronologically. While it takes a bit longer now to get these stars together — they are all bonafide stars now! — Netflix is still producing episodes the show and the fifth season is airing in two parts throughout 2018.
Canceled by Fox, picked up by NBC
When Brooklyn Nine-Nine was first being shopped to networks, everyone wanted it, but Fox won out in the end. After getting rid of almost every single one of their comedy shows in spring 2018, the gang at the 99th precinct were one of the many shows canceled by the network and back on the market. NBC had missed out the first time and was back to claim a series they always thought would be a perfect fit with their programming. They swooped in and bought the rights to the show, keeping it on the air to the delight of fans and especially the cast! The show is getting a second life on a home that may more fitting than its first!