“Girl Meets World” was canceled after three seasons by Disney Channel, but showrunner Michael Jacobs is not done with the story of Riley Matthews and her friends just yet.
As fans mount campaigns for Netflix or Hulu to pick up the show, Jacobs admits he doesn’t agree with the cancellation decision at the show’s current network and said that there is more story to tell.
“We are certainly having discussions, there are some interested platforms,” he said. “I don’t think ‘Girl should have been canceled. We signed to do four seasons. I thought we would be able to tell stories through four seasons. That’s the way we set it up. It was going to be a remarkable final year. But I understand, things end.”
An individual with knowledge of the show’s Disney Channel contract told TheWrap the show was contracted through Season 3 and only had an “option” for a fourth season.
“The decision to not option a fourth season of ‘Girl Meets World’ was made after careful consideration of many factors,” Disney Channel told TheWrap in a statement. “While all good stories have an ending, we’re proud to have presented a generation of kids and families with 70+ episodes and especially the heartfelt finale with so many fan-favorite characters from ‘Boy Meets World.'”
As for when the fate of “Girl Meets World” might be finalized, Jacobs thinks a decision will happen in the next couple of months if not sooner.
“I don’t think this thing can go on three or four months without a decision,” he said. “I think it will be sooner rather than later.”
Below, Jacobs also reveals whether the cast would all be on board to continue, why a time jump may be in order, and whether his vision of a series finale might be realized if the show does not get picked up elsewhere.
Is the whole cast on board to continue should the show get picked up elsewhere?
I believe everyone will be on board. But I have to say, there are practicalities to this. When something is canceled, that basically releases everyone to make their own decisions. But I think the experience of this particular show was such a good experience for this cast and this crew that — I can’t speak for everyone — but I think the inclination would be to stay together if we could.
The fan support was immediate with campaigns targeted at places like Netflix and Hulu. Does that help?
I think there’s no question that the fan reaction to this is noticed. I think what is astounding is the places the fans have picked out for us are incredibly astute. I think in terms of not only what the show is, and what they want it to become, they have picked out those places accordingly. I should say the reason “Girl Meets World” — People always ask me, ‘Why did you go to Disney Channel?’ The original was on ABC. You dance with who brung ya. Disney Channel asked if we were interested in continuing the story. We put it there because that’s where the invitation came from. I think they were excited about seeing what happened to these characters. Within the parameters of the people that invited us, we created an executed a show for that audience. When it was announced, the old “Boy Meets World” fanbase was very excited about coming to this. The immediate realization was that we would not be able to do the exact same tonality we had originally done. And we knew that that might be off-putting to expectations.
However… Whether it was Cory Matthews or Riley Matthews, nothing’s changed as to how a young person grows up. But let me say that, the difference between “Boy Meets World” and “Girl Meets World,” if you examine the first three seasons of the two shows, what we attacked in those first 3 seasons are at least comparable in severity of stories to “Boy” and had we been allowed to continue — we were pushing down all kinds of walls at Disney, I don’t think they expected or had really ever seen — we would have kept going. But it becomes problematic because I think the mandate of that network is younger kids. If you examine what happened, it’s OK, no harm, no foul, we simply outgrew that venue. That’s why I perceive there might be interest somewhere else, because of the types of stories we could tell.
I’m not intimating or suggesting we would go absolutely crazy with license to tell extreme and severe stories. I would, however, love to continue the reality of what happens to these characters as they grow up in this world.
Are you re-calibrating the show’s fourth season now that it won’t be on Disney Channel?
Yes. One of the things about meeting the world is that sometimes you will make a mistake. And I think that’s been part and parcel to so many of our stories. So it’s OK that Disney Channel made a mistake. Maybe they’ll come around to realizing they made a mistake, and if that happens, sure, we would be able to continue with I think an extraordinary entertaining fourth season. And if it is that we go to another venue, yes, there would be a re-calibration of what that audience wants and expects from us. In the end, we’re doing this for the audience. That’s the relationship that would spur us to continue if we were so lucky to get the chance. The audience at the venue we would go to, if that happened, would be who we would cater to.
Would you still approach it as the last season?
No. I don’t think there’s anybody out there that wants to buy the last seaosn of anything. If you look at TV shows that have left one network and gone to another, you realize that there’s another venue that looks at something and says this is a mistake that this is done, let’s continue it. Hopefully it’s open ended. Hopefully we tell stories that are so interesting that there is reason for a good amount of sustenance. So no, we would not be trying to compose a last season of anything, we would be trying to compose a next season.
I also have to say, my instinct for what this is worth, is I always have to plan a little bit ahead and think, creatively, what should happen if this went to another venue that is not necessarily a children’s venue? I don’t know that we’re doing Season 4 at all, I think we may be doing Season 6. We need to take a look at what surprises — I think the audience would be so shocked and surprise and they would hold in wonderment, if we skipped two years or three years anyway. If you look at the natural ages of the actors in this cast, a lot of them are older. If we simply sped the thing up to how old they actually are, and we came in at their lives then, these are things we have to think about.
But again, there’s nothing. These are just talks. I’m sure with any show that gets canceled, there’s talks about sustaining it. The difference here is the audience reaction. Circling back — the paper airplane campaign, calling the actual cable stations and saying ‘this is the next show we want here,’ the overwhelming response — there’s a symbiosis between this show and its audience, that is so incredibly appreciated by us that yeah, if there’s a teamwork that is able to create a sustenance in this show, that would be spectacular. if not, and the show ends up going away, as I tweeted, we absolutely gave you our best.
If for some reason the show does not get picked up, what are the chances that we’ll get to know or see what your vision of a series finale would have been?
If the show does not go forward, I have this little thing on Twitter I’ve had fun with… You would probably, at some point, hear what at least I had in mind, in some summation or wrap up, if it doesn’t go forward. But I can tell you, what we were doing and what we were building towards, was really good. It’s also knowing that, that makes the show ending early — it’s too bad.
The series finale of “Girl Meets World” airs Friday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. ET on Disney Channel