This is heartbreaking news for Timeless fans following the Season 1 finale twists and cliffhangers. NBC time-travel drama series will not be returning for a second season. There is no word whether producer Sony TV will shop the series elsewhere, though co-creator Eric Kripke indicated that is in the works. He didn’t sound too optimistic.
Added co-creator Shawn Ryan:
Timeless has been a big conundrum. It had everything going for it – A-list pedigree with Ryan and Kripke as creators and executive producers; strong reviews; a great time slot, Monday 10 PM after The Voice; an appealing cast, Matt Lanter, Abigail Spencer and Malcolm Barret; and being first to market as the only of the three new broadcast time-travel series this season to premiere in the fall. But, while it quickly established a small loyal viewership, Timeless never found a wide audience the way previous dramas that had launched in the time period did – at least initially – The Blacklist and Blindspot.
With solid time-shifting lifts, Timeless has averaged an OK 2.2 Live+7 adults 18-49 rating, on par with the just-renewed third installment in the Chicago franchise, sophomore Chicago Med.
“Timeless is what they call a ‘bubble show’. It may come back next year, it may not,” Kripke wrote on Twitter while the series was still airing. “We’re damn proud of the show; the actors are killing it; the reviews are great; and our DVR ratings are quite respectable. It’s the live viewer ratings that need some help,” he added, urging fans to get more people to watch the show live.
The modest ratings performance, which had puzzled NBC brass, made Timeless vulnerable to cancellation, but the series had support internally at the network.
“We really like it,” NBC Entertainment president Jenifer Salke told Deadline at TCA in January. “I didn’t think it was going to be like This Is Us, but I am a little surprised that it didn’t settle in at a higher number.”
Still, NBC owns half of the show, produced by Sony TV, and I hear that, even with the so-so ratings, the network did not lose money on it.
But the decision ultimately came down to money, Ryan revealed in a series of tweets, referring to Salke and NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt.
Timeless also is a rare family viewing show, so NBC had been mulling potentially putting it on at 8 PM.
In Timeless, the heroes travel back in time to a major event in history, making the show a potential teaching tool for schools. It drew praise for its depiction of history, recently earning recognition from the Smithsonian.
The cancellation will leave fans of the show hanging as Ryan and Kripke went with a Season 1 finale that ended in a cliffhanger and set up a second season. You can read my finale postmortem interview with Ryan here.