Tube Talk: Time travel trickery?
By Paula Hendrickson
Last Wednesday, along with Timeless fans around the nation, I was saddened to hear NBC was cancelling the fun and popular time travel series – co-created by Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and Rockford-native Shawn Ryan (The Shield) – after just one season. There was so much story left to tell, and they’d set up some big twists to kick off a great a second season. Kripke and Ryan even told fans via social media that they would try to find the show a new home.
They didn’t have to look far.
Or maybe they somehow managed to send the show’s Lifeboat (the nickname for the heroes’ time machine) back in time a few days to convince NBC executives to reconsider the cancellation, because news broke on Saturday that the #ResuscitateTimeless “mission” had succeeded.
The show is coming back to NBC sometime in 2018. Not details yet on when, but if they’re smart, they’ll move it to an earlier timeslot, since Timeless is a show kids can enjoy alongside their parents. (Doing so might even lead to some good discussions about history and how much impact our actions today might have on future generations.)
The cast and crew were stunned by the reversal – in a good way, of course – and rejoiced with their fans.
NBC’s reversal was newsworthy because it’s almost unheard of for a network to cancel a show, make a public announcement about the cancelation, and then recant it a few days later by saying the show will return.
It’s kind of fitting that it was reserved for a series as special as Timeless.
Ratings were solid – especially after calculating in delayed viewings – and reviews were good, so it seemed a no-brainer for NBC to keep Timeless, right?
Sure, but those factors aren’t necessarily enough to save a show.
Timeless is a Sony Pictures Television production (in conjunction with Davis Entertainment, Kripke’s Kripke Enterprises, and Ryan’s MiddKid Productions) in an era where vertically-integrated entertainment companies’ bottom lines benefit most by broadcasting their own productions air on their own networks. Let’s just say it’s no coincidence that all of the new shows NBC bought for the coming season are from Universal Television. (Universal Television and NBC both are owned by NBCUniversal.)
Outcry on social media undoubtedly played into NBC’s decision to un-cancel Timeless despite the production costs involved in a sci-fi series with special effects, and ever-changing costumes and sets, but the ultimate decision fell to a couple of NBC executives: NBC’s head of programming Vernon Sanders; NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke: and, another Rockford-native, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt.
We may never know what the final factors were involved in saving Timeless, but thankfully we will be able to enjoy at least ten more episodes.