20 Shows That Have Been Canceled More Than Once
For these shows, the second time was the charm.
It’s hard enough seeing your favorite TV show canceled once, let alone twice—or, in some cases, three times. And while it’s rare, it does happen. Throughout the course of TV history, we’ve seen some series—even ones that made a huge impact on pop culture—have to fight their way back from cancelation to see the light of day yet again. And fans can play a huge part in bringing a once-dead series back to life. So, we've rounded up the 20 TV shows that have been canceled more than once, proving that Hollywood does actually give second (and third) chances.
Ultimately running for 11 seasons beginning in 1996, 7th Heaven followed the Camden family—featuring minister dad Eric (Stephen Collins), mom Annie (Catherine Hicks), and their seven children (played by the likes of Barry Watson, David Gallagher, Jessica Biel, Beverley Mitchell, Mackenzie Rosman)—and the ups and downs of their daily lives.
The series originally aired on The WB for its first 10 seasons and was canceled ahead of the network's merger with UPN to create The CW. Fortunately for the show's fans, the newly formed network decided to reverse the decision in May 2006—three days after a supposed series finale—and give it one more season, which ended in 2007.
Baywatch—the L.A. beach-set series about lifeguards in red uniforms—sank instead of swam when it first premiered on NBC in 1989. The network canceled the show after just one season.
Fortunately, star David Hasselhoff—along with the creators and executive producers—inked a deal to keep Baywatch going on other networks. The show gained traction, especially overseas, and ran for 10 more seasons before being canceled again in 2001. Not only that, but it led to a spin-off, Baywatch Nights, three direct-to-video films, and a 2017 feature film.
Cagney & Lacey
Born from a successful 1981 TV movie about two Manhattan cops, Cagney & Lacey—starring Meg Foster as the former and Tyne Daly as the latter—debuted on CBS in the spring of 1982. The network initially pulled the plug after that first season, but then decided to give it a second chance the following fall after swapping Sharon Gless into the role previously played by Foster.
Even still, ratings weren’t stellar and CBS canceled the series for a second time. The network decided to burn off the remaining episodes in the summer and, to their surprise, ratings began ticking up. The newfound popularity allowed the show to run until 1988 for a total of seven seasons, in addition to four TV movies.
Charles in Charge
The setup of Charles in Charge was pretty simple: Charles (Scott Baio) was a college student in New Jersey who took on the role of being a caretaker for children in exchange for getting to reside with the family. The show ran for one season on CBS from 1984 to 1985 before being canceled and then returning for four more seasons from 1987 to 1990.
Airing for six seasons between 2009 and 2015, Community followed a group of friends—played by Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, and Chevy Chase—who form a study group at Greendale Community College. Despite being adored by fans and critics alike, NBC canceled the show after five seasons.
After that, Community was picked up by the now-defunct Yahoo! Screen, where it lived for one more season. Creator Dan Harmon and the cast have continued to talk about making a film, although it has yet to come to fruition.
Cougar Town—named after the fictional Florida town where it was set—followed Jules (Courteney Cox), a recently divorced 40-something raising her son, Travis (Dan Byrd), and parenting with her ex (Brian Van Holt). In the end, she finds love again with Grayson (Josh Hopkins) while navigating life with friends like Ellie (Christa Miller) and Laurie (Busy Philipps).
Centered around a brilliant, ruthless lawyer named Patty (Glenn Close) and her mentee and protégée, a recent law school graduate named Ellen (Rose Byrne), Damages focused on a major legal case each season, taking inspiration from real-life legal events.
The first three seasons aired on FX before the network decided to cancel it. The show moved to the DirecTV channel Audience Network for the final two seasons. In total, it ran for five seasons between 2007 and 2012, earning four Emmys along the way.
Inspired by the 1980 movie of the same name, Fame followed fictional students and faculty at New York City's High School for the Performing Arts, incorporating music to go along with their already dramatic lives. The most famous face on the series was Debbie Allen, who played dance teacher Lydia Grant.
The show, which premiered in 1982, originally aired on NBC for two seasons before it was canceled. But then it lived on—not quite forever—for four more seasons via a new deal. By the time the curtain closed in 1987, it had run for six seasons.
Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights—the show that taught us the mantra “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose"—almost lost when it was canceled by NBC after two seasons in 2008.
The series followed the lives of football coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), his wife Tami (Connie Britton), their daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden), and a slew of other high school students (played by Zach Gilford, Minka Kelly, Taylor Kitsch, Adrianne Palicki, Jesse Plemons, Michael B. Jordan, and Jurnee Smollett).
The story of Futurama—which follows a slacker named Philip J. Fry (Billy West) who is cryogenically frozen for 1,000 years and revived in the 31st century—is a wild one.
Starting out on Fox for four seasons beginning in 1999, the series was canceled in 2002. Reruns began airing on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim from 2003 to 2007. Then, Comedy Central saw some potential and revived it for four direct-to-video films between 2007 and 2009, later turning those movies into a new season of the show—its fifth overall. The network gave Futurama two more seasons from 2010 to 2013 before canceling it. It’s a journey almost as crazy as the premise of the show itself!
Even though JAG—which stands for Judge Advocate General—ultimately ran for 10 seasons, it lasted just one on NBC, from 1995 to 1996. The series followed Harmon Rabb (David James Elliott), a former Navy fighter pilot and his fellow lawyers in the U.S. Navy (played by Patrick Labyorteaux and Catherine Bell, among others) and didn’t prove too popular.
CBS decided to pick it up and the show gained popularity over the course of nine more seasons from 1997 to 2005. In fact, it went on to create a massively popular spin-off, NCIS, which in turn has spawned into even more spin-offs with NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. It wasn’t until Elliot chose to leave the show that the network decided it was officially case closed.
The fandom was so strong with post-apocalyptic series Jericho that it led to CBS reversing its decision to cancel the series after its first season, giving it another shot.
The show—which ran from 2006 to 2008—owes the revival to fans who mobilized online to send more than 20 tons (or 40,000 pounds) of nuts to the network's headquarters. The gesture bought Jericho one more season until CBS decided to cancel it again.
The Killing—an American version of a Dutch series following homicide detectives Sarah (Mireille Enos) and Stephen (Joel Kinnaman) in Seattle—is one of those rare shows to have been canceled three times between 2011 and 2014. AMC canceled it after two seasons only to backtrack on that decision. After another season, they tried canceling it again. This time, Netflix stepped in to co-produce a fourth season which offered some closure. Finally, the show was canceled for the last time in 2014.
The Mindy Project
Split evenly between its years on Fox and Hulu, The Mindy Project ultimately ran for six seasons between 2012 and 2017. Created by and starring Mindy Kaling—along with Chris Messina, Ed Weeks, Ike Barinholtz, Xosha Roquemore, Beth Grant, and Adam Pally—the show followed a romantic comedy-obsessed OBGYN named Mindy Lahiri (Kaling) trying to balance her personal and professional life in New York City. Fox canceled it after three seasons, but then Hulu decided to pick it up and air it for three more seasons.
My Three Sons
My Three Sons was a big sitcom for ABC first, and CBS second. It followed the life of widower and aeronautical engineer Steven Douglas (Fred MacMurray) raising, you guessed it, three sons. It began on ABC in 1960 where it aired for five seasons until 1965. With the network not wanting to pay for it to be shot in color instead of black and white, CBS swooped in and saved it. The show aired there for seven more seasons from 1965 until 1972, bringing the total run to 12 seasons.
Friday Night Lights alumna Connie Britton is the queen of canceled-then-revived TV shows. Nashville, following a group of country singers, starred Britton as music legend named Rayna Jaymes and Hayden Panettiere as up-and-coming talent Juliette Barnes. Rounding out the cast were Clare Bowen, Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Chris Carmack, Lennon Stella, and Maisy Stella.
The series ran for four seasons on ABC before getting canceled. CMT decided to pick up the show for another two seasons before canceling it as well. Still, Nashville had an impressive run, airing for a total of six seasons between 2012 and 2018.
Roswell—a show about three young alien/human hybrids who go to high school with regular kids—began airing on The WB in 1999 and gained an outspoken fanbase during its first season. They organized a campaign to send bottles of Tabasco sauce (a popular condiment for aliens on the show) to the network in the hopes of a more science fiction-heavy second season. But the move didn't work and the show was canceled after one season. It was then picked up by UPN in a package deal with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it aired for one more season as viewership continued to dwindle.
A decade later, a reimagining of the book series that the original show was based on is airing on The CW, titled Roswell, New Mexico.
Scrubs—a series starring Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, and Donald Faison as medical interns at the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital—ran for nine seasons between 2001 and 2010, first on NBC and later on ABC. NBC canceled the show after seven seasons, but ABC snatched it up and ran it for two more seasons before canceling Scrubs yet again. Creator Bill Lawrence has teased a return, but nothing has materialized on that front yet.
Focusing on the everyday lives New York City taxi drivers—played by Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza, Andy Kaufman, Christopher Lloyd, and Jeff Conaway—as well as their antagonistic dispatcher (Danny DeVito), Taxi ran for five seasons between 1978 and 1983. It began airing on ABC for its first four, then it was canceled, andNBC picked it up for one more season.
Timeless—a time-traveling series starring Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett as a team trying to stop a mysterious organization from changing the course of history—aired for just two seasons on NBC from 2016 until 2018.
The network canceled the show after its first season and reversed their decision just three days later amid fan outcry. After the second season, NBC canceled Timeless again, but they did give fans a proper finale to reward them for their devotion. And if you love rooting for the underdog, check out These Movies on Rotten Tomatoes with the Lowest Ratings.
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