It’s hard to imagine a popular series such as Seinfeld or Parks and Recreation ever being on thin ice, but it happens more often than you’d think. After all, it takes a lot to keep a show on air. A whole season of television costs a lot of money to produce, and sometimes a network is no longer willing to take that financial risk. As a show grows in popularity, there are cases – such as with Friends – in which the lead actors are paid a hefty sum to stay attached to the series.
Since television can be so expensive to make, it often doesn’t make sense to produce another season of a show if the viewership numbers are dropping. However, these decisions can be met with pushback from the series’s passionate fanbase. As it turns out, a high-profile fan campaign can sway a network in their overall decision of whether or not to can the show. It can make a network realize the show’s true potential and bring it back for another season, rather than just nixing it altogether. Other times, it can motivate another network to pick up the show and put it back on air.
While some TV series never fully lift off the ground, others just need an extra push. When a network can see past a show’s initial unpopularity, there’s a chance that the series will grow into something that fans can’t live without. And while every show eventually comes to an end, it’s always nice when it gets to finish on its own terms. Here are 12 popular TV shows that were almost canceled too soon, but weren’t.