Be it poor ratings, a major cast member exit or a showrunner shake-up, TV series can suffer many a crisis that puts them on the rocks with their network. But several shows have managed to back away from the cliff, thanks to some successful Hail Mary passes. Heck, a few have even been resuscitated after cancellation. Check out the gallery below to see programs that were on the brink of cancellation (or already canned) for one reason or another, and the last-ditch efforts to save them.
The 2018 revival of Roseanne Barr's hit '90s sitcom brought John Goodman's Dan Conner back from the dead and became an instant hit -- until a racist tweet by its star got it canceled just after the season finale. ABC then ordered a spinoff series called "The Conners" -- without Roseanne either on or off-camera.
A story so nice we'll tell it twice: What became one of the most influential shows of all time was a low-rated cult hit when it originally aired on NBC in the late '60s. It was almost canceled after its second season, but an intense letter-writing campaign by the show's dedicated fans convinced NBC to give it a third season -- after which it was canceled for good.
The show went into syndication in the 1970s and became a truly monster hit. It was revived as a film series in 1979, which in turn spawned a sequel television series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation," in 1987.
Simply put, this was one of the most infamous cast shake-ups in sitcom history. Star Valerie Harper, for whom the show was created and named in 1986, was fired after the second season -- and her character was killed off -- over a fight with NBC and the show's producers over pay. (This would lead to a bitter lawsuit that Harper eventually won.) Instead of canceling the hit show, NBC cast Sandy Duncan as a new live-in aunt. The network retitled the show "Valerie's Family," then changed it to "The Hogan Family" from Season 4 on.
The original run on NBC from 1989-90 suffered from poor ratings and a studio shutdown, but David Hasselhoff and the creators helped get the show into syndication, where it ran for a decade as a worldwide hit.
20th Century Fox Television
The WB let "Roswell" live after fans sent in bottles of Tabasco sauce (the characters' favorite condiment) to beg the network not to cancel.
20th Century Television
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
The WB didn't put a stake through "Buffy's" heart, but the network wasn't willing to shell out the cash that UPN was for the series -- so it jumped networks. The resurrection was studio 20th Television's (then 20th Century Fox Television) way of keeping the popular show alive and getting as much bang for their buck as they thought Buffy Summers was worth.
Fans rescued the NBC show by getting advertiser Subway involved with a "Save Chuck" campaign that actually worked.
Fans thought the Bluth Family was gone for good when Fox canceled the show in 2006, but Netflix picked it up for a fourth season in 2013 and then gave it a couple more rounds.
"Friday Night Lights"
NBC struck a deal to have DirecTV produce the show, which kept the Panthers playing for several seasons.
The cult show spent its life on NBC perpetually on the bubble until the network finally canceled it after Season 5. Yahoo Screen picked up the series soon after, so fans got their "six seasons." Now they just need the "and a movie" part.
Fans took a main character shouting “nuts” to heart and sent CBS studio executives tons of the snack. Lucky for them, the network reviewed the ratings and renewed it.
"Parks and Recreation"
This satirical sitcom was criticized for being too similar to "The Office" in its first season and was almost cancelled. Thankfully, the creators shifted their approach for the subsequent seasons, carrying the show for renewal through its seventh season.
"Once Upon a Time"
Almost every key regular decided to leave after the ABC fantasy show's sixth season in 2017. It looked like all might be lost, but producers opted for a soft reboot that kept it going for one more year.
Diehard fans showed up at HBO's headquarters in NYC dressed as the show's Guilty Remnant faction, which was good enough for the network to go for one more round.
ABC denied the country music-centric show a fifth season, so CMT stepped up and brought it to a new home where it ran through Season 6.
This series following professional women's wrestling was almost canceled after its first season. Netflix then reversed its decision and renewed it for a fourth and final season -- which was subsequently canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Bold Type"
This female-centered Freeform series disappointed longtime fans in a shortened fourth season (due to the pandemic) by pairing together Kat, an outspoken leftist activist, with a staunch Republican advocate. Aisha Dee, the actress who plays Kat, spoke out about the storyline feeling unauthentic and called for more diverse voices in the writers' room. After her plea was supported by the show's creators and fans alike, "The Bold Type" was renewed for a fifth and final season.
This DC Comics spinoff lasted three seasons on Fox before being canceled and landing a new home at Netflix. After a second almost-cancelation after Season 5, fans rallied around the show, earning it a final sixth season.
When "La Casa de Papel" debuted on Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 in 2017, show creator Alex Pina didn't imagine the worldwide attention it would soon receive. Although Antena 3 cut the number of planned chapters, Netflix made the series available for screening and drew in record audiences. The streaming giant then signed a global deal with the creators and ordered more seasons.
The police sitcom was originally canceled after its fifth season by Fox -- but was thankfully picked up by NBC. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" will end after its upcoming eighth season.