NBC Boss: Timeless' Un-Cancellation Was Not a Publicity Stunt

Timeless‘ whiplash-inducing resurrection was not a buzz-generating stunt.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt shot down speculation that the network’s unprecedented decision to renew Timeless for 10 episodes just days after officially cancelling it was a covert marketing ploy.

“I wish that we were that clever,” the exec said with a laugh. “We would never do that to the creators of the show. That did not happen. These negotiations are really tricky… It just happened the way it happened.” 

How did it happen? “We all love the show creatively,” Greenblatt said. But as a result of its subpar ratings, “We decided to move on from it,” he added. “And then we woke up the next morning, heard [about] the [fan] outcry and went back to the drawing board with our partners at [producing studio] Sony. And I’m happy to say we were able to figure out a way to bring it back. It’s extraordinarily well produced and it deserved to come back.”

Scheduling wise, Greenblatt confirmed that Timeless won’t return until midseason at the earliest, and also didn’t rule out a summer launch for Season 2.

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36 Comments
  1. Kevin Tran says:

    NBC should be very proud to bring back Timeless since they reverse their decision for not having the time traveling series getting cancelled. Hope Season 2 is about to get re-invented and having a loyal passionate fanbase.

  2. Dominique says:

    i’m just glad NBC took one look at the massive outcry and realized how badly they effed up. i’m happy this show is coming back and who knows; maybe it’ll draw in more audience as a midseason show. still so excited!

    • Matt says:

      I’m sorry but if the show had subpar ratings, then they were right to cancel it. Magically uncanceling will do NOTHING to increase it’s viewership numbers. People won’t just start tuning in out of nowhere. It’s only back because they worked out a deal with the production company that likely makes it more profitable with the current numbers it’s pulling in. It’s not like it will suddenly start pulling in better ratings. So the decision was right under the current framework.

      • Susie says:

        Disagree. Sure, many shows sputter or die in season two, but if everyone went by your rules, then massive successes like “Seinfeld” or “Cheers” or “JAG” or “Law & Order” or “Buffy” or “Gilmore Girls” would have never become the hits they are. In other words, Ha-rumph!

        • peterwdawson says:

          Those are exceptions, sure, but there’s still many other programs that prove the rule rather than break it. Galavant and Agent Carter are a couple of recent examples off the top of my head as while beloved shows by the fanbase the audience just didn’t grow, despite managing to defy the Cancellation Bear.

        • xoxo says:

          You should pay attention to what kind of shows those exceptions are…. they are not really genre shows and shows that are likely to draw many kind of people… unlike a show like Timeless which is a genre show and cult show … which makes it less likely it will rise… it will likely be dragged along by people online like you…

          • Susie says:

            Of course there are many genre show examples as well. X-Files, Buffy, Alias… I could keep going. Seriously, come on. Why can’t “Timeless” be the exception and not the rule, you cold-hard cynics?

      • chiguy79 says:

        It’s actually quite possible they may see a bump in the ratings. If they move the show to an earlier time instead of 10pm, you could see an increase just from that as it fits better earlier than later. Also, with the news of the show getting un-cancelled some viewers may try to catch up on VOD/Netflix/Hulu to see why the fans were able to resurrect the show and join in on season 2. That’s not to say you’re entirely wrong, because at the end of the day this is all a business decision and they likely were able to get a better deal for it, but ratings aren’t the only factor in todays broadcast environment. Taken had lower ratings than Timeless yet was renewed likely because it’s an in-house production so it’s cheaper and they still need shows to fill the schedule.

        • Steve says:

          It isn’t likely. Unforgettable at CBS is probably the best example, and it lost a quarter of its viewers with a shortened 2nd season during the summer. The show did make it to 4 seasons on two different networks though.

      • Amy says:

        What do you care about how much money the network makes? It should be about the quality and the fans. You seem to be supporting the suits in their decision making. I know many who have now picked the show up and are eager to see more. I’m sure the powers that be who control what you and I watch are pleased with your support.

  3. Television says:

    Timeless is truly a great show!! It is unique and we really want to see more of it. Excellent cast, writing, directing, everything.

  4. Sam says:

    I don’t watch this show but for some reason I’m really really happy for its fans! I guess the publicity worked because I’m going to try and watch it tonight!

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for being happy for us! I’m always pleased when fans of stuff I don’t watch get to have more of it.

    • lindsay says:

      I felt the same back when Friday Night Lights got resurrected after its season 2 cancellation. The adamant online fanbase made me really happy for them. And made me interested in checking it out despite being sure I’d hate a “show about football.” I was SO glad when I did watch because I ended up becoming a lifelong fan.

      I fully support any strong fanbase for any show I’m not currently a part of…never know when I might become a member down the road and benefit off their prior love and renewal success!

  5. Asia says:

    I’m so glad it’s back. Timeless was the only new show I was excited to watch weekly after it premiered in the fall. One of the few shows I made sure to watch live.

  6. Joey Padron says:

    Glad NBC noticed the fan outcry. Thankful they took a 2nd chance with the show and will give it a good place at midseason to do well in the ratings.

  7. MMD says:

    Although I have not watched the show I do admire the fact that TPTB listened to the viewers and fans and rectified the situation. Too bad it isn’t done more often. That is why Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services are gaining in popularity. I would rather buy a good British, Aussie, NZ show that doesn’t air here anywhere on iTunes than watch most of the crap that is on and I’ve found some gems.

  8. Bill says:

    It wasn’t fan outcry it was money. Sony gave them a big portion of streaming proceeds. Don’t be gullible people

    • And you know this how???

    • Anne says:

      Money was obviously involved, but if the fan outcry wasn’t there, they had no reason to rework the finances. So the fans absolutely had a massive role in the renewal

      • Steve says:

        I’d disagree with that quite a bit. The minute the show was cancelled Sony had a large incentive to rework the finances for NBC and simultaneously significantly less leverage in any negotiations with them. I’m glad for the fans of the show that they’ll get more episodes, but it wasn’t because of their “role.”

  9. AngelWasHere says:

    I’m just glad it’s back. Now I hope they return sooner than summer 2018. Waiting that long seems a bit ridiculous.

  10. Anne says:

    I think making it a summer show is a great idea. And I’m glad it’s back; I’ll watch it whenever it’s on. This type of tv is what we should be investing in

  11. Sonny Beez says:

    AWESOME that Timeless is back!! Please move the timeslot- having it up against Monday Night Football is a losing cause. NFL beats everything.

  12. Adam Bramble says:

    Yeah bring it back and just cancel it like Revolution 😔

  13. Ashley says:

    Best news all weekend. 😁😁

  14. dman6015 says:

    Great. I’ll take the 10 episodes. Tighter scripts without having to come up with “filler” episodes makes for better drama. Now, everyone who yelled about the cancellation needs to show up when it premieres.

  15. Geo says:

    “NBC Boss: Timeless’ Un-Cancellation Was Not a Publicity Stunt”

    Sure, Jan.

  16. yl3x0t says:

    I really like the show however this is how i see it happening. NBC renewed it after fan outcry, but by the time it airs again for 10 episodes it will have bee off the air anywhere from a year to 18 months since it wrapped a shorter than usual season one back in January. It will get little fanfare from NBC who will then again cancel it, citing that the ratings are just not there, for a show which had a small buy loud fan base to begin with, as we saw with the last writers strike12-18mo is a LONG time for a new show to be away and it will fade from many viewers mind.

  17. Marilyn J wilson says:

    I am so happy NBC is not going to cancel Timeless after all. I love, love, love that show.
    Thank you! Thanks you!

  18. Judson says:

    I don’t care about what reason the show was resurrected, I am just glad it was. Now please NBC : 1) put it on earlier, 2) don’t put it up against stupid football and 3) don’t wait until 2018 summer. We fans can wait for winter 17-18 but any longer would be a death sentence.

  19. lindsay says:

    If they’re able to air the episodes without as much disturbance between airings that happened this past season, I think a second season will have a much better fighting chance.

    I loved the show and kept checking back to see if a new episode was up/available to watch, only to be left waiting without realizing it over and over again. That kind of break in airing can’t be good for building an ongoing following for such an intricately plotted show.

    So happy for this 11th (12th? 13th?) hour renewal. More Rufus, Wyatt, and Lucy please!

  20. Thank you Thank you for not cancelling Timeless, I think it is a marvelous show and looking forward to what the creative writers and marvelous actors bring to Season 2

  21. This is one of the few new shows (aka Lucifer) with strong writing and excellent characters. I am glad the show is getting a second chance.