The rare move follows three days of very strong reaction from fans to the cancellation of the time-travel drama, which was the top pick in USA Today’s Save Our Shows poll.
There have been just handful series that have been canceled and then un-canceled by the same network, including Fox’s Breaking In and Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva. Coincidentally — or not — both of them and Timeless come from Sony Pictures TV, whose executives had worked hard over the past few days to find a new home for the NBC drama.
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. That was far above the 1.4 rating Taken, which also has been renewed. averaged in the same Monday 10 PM slot.
While the modest ratings performance, which had puzzled NBC brass, made Timeless vulnerable to cancellation, 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.”
Additionally, NBC owns half of the show, produced by Sony TV. I hear heading into the original renewal decision, Sony TV had offered a guaranteed profit to NBC. That still wasn’t enough to clinch a Season 2 pickup, with the network opting to bring back the Warner Bros. TV’s The Blindspot instead after that independent studio made license fee concessions.
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. Timeless also is a rare family viewing show, so NBC had been mulling potentially putting it on at 8 PM.
The renewal will not 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.