‘Timeless’ Fan Outcry Was ‘Smaller Than You Think,’ NBC Execs Say

TCA 2017: “Where were you when we had the show on the air?” Bob Greenblatt asks about un-canceled series

TIMELESS — "Public Enemy No. 1" Episode 114 — Pictured: (l-r) Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan, Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)

NBC executives are opening up about the surprising turn of events that helped give new life to “Timeless.”

During a presentation at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour on Thursday, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt and president Jennifer Salke spoke about the chronology-hopping drama series that premiered in the fall. The show was canceled in May before NBC surprisingly changed course three days later and granted the show a reprieve in the form of a 10-episode second season. 

Greenblatt said that he wishes viewers would have demonstrated more support throughout the season, rather than making their voices heard at the last minute.

“What I say to the fans when they come out in droves when we cancel a show is, ‘Where were you when we had the show on the air, and helping us build this into a huge ratings success?’” he said.

“The outcry from fans — I don’t know how many there really were, but like all things [on] social media, it’s a lot smaller than you think,” Greenblatt continued. “But we’re happy to know that they care and love the show — we love the show.” 

Salke pointed out that “Timeless” had a few strikes against it, which led to it initially getting the axe.

“There were some financial challenges to the show, there were ratings challenges with the show,” she said. “I like to say it’s a collaborative passion swell that made us open it up and look at it again and say, ‘Could we figure out a way to make this make sense.’ And I’m so glad that we did. Genre fans get so excited and noisy about things — I love that. That’s why we love to program for them.”