Fox execs assumed it would land elsewhere, knowing of conversations going on at the time, Fox TV Group co-chair/CEO Dana Walden told reporters on a phone call, a few hours before the networks Upfront Week presentation to advertisers.
“We are really happy for that whole team,” she said.
Asked if the decision to cancel had been creative, or financial, Walden insisted a “variety of factors” led Fox to pull the plug after five seasons. “We love the show,” she said, touting its creators and “phenomenal cast,” while also noting five seasons is a “great length of time for a single cam” comedy run.
“Ultimately we felt we did not have the exact right place to schedule,” the show having performed best on Sunday, where Fox decided to give animated Bob’s Burgers the plum time period and “chance to grow.”
That call made, Fox was left with “limited opportunities” to schedule Brooklyn Nine-Nine and “ultimately decided” they did not have room, what with network’s Thursday Night Football grab also gobbling up time on its fall schedule.
One day earlier, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt spoke enthusiastically about the comedy series, starring Andy Samberg and produced by NBC’s sister studio Universal TV, being “rescued” after Fox cancellation.
NBC last week picked up the comedy series one day after Fox cancelled it, for a 13-episode season.
Brooklyn Nine Nine, Greenblatt said, fits into NBC’s brand of comedy, in many ways better than it ever fit on Fox, adding that, had he known Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg would be cast in the series, he would not have let it be sold to Fox in the first place, calling it a “missed opportunity” for NBC. The network had been among the broadcast networks that bid for the Brooklyn Nine-Nine pitch from creators Mike Schur and Dan Goor when it hit the marketplace in 2012 before the project landed at Fox in a very competitive situation.
Maybe more to the point, the ensemble comedy may have been a “better fit” financially for NBC. Fox did not own the pricey-ish comedy. Greenblatt’s company does; it is produced by NBC sister studio Universal TV.
“We own it,” Greenblatt said on Sunday’s phone call with press. “It’s one of few comedies in recent years to have a really robust international number, a syndication upside which a lot of shows don’t have any more. So there are a lot of business reasons for it to continue, but it’s too early to tell.”