On Friday, ABC opted not to renew five titles, but the most unexpected was Katey Sagal starrer Rebel from Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff. Now somewhat distanced from the news, Sagal and Vernoff broke their silence on the sudden cancellation, which came five episodes into Rebel‘s freshman run.
“The abrupt announcement that there would be no season 2 based on the response from our airings came a shock and a heartbreak,” Sagal wrote on Instagram. “Things take time to catch on. Rebel tells the story of a woman who speaks up for what is right, the show has heart and purpose, funny and tears, and we, the cast, are all scratching our heads at the reversal of support from ABC.”
Rebel centers on Annie “Rebel” Bello (Sagal), a blue-collar legal advocate without a law degree. She’s a funny, messy, brilliant and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves. When Rebel applies herself to a fight she believes in, she will win at almost any cost.
Andy Garcia, John Corbett, James Lesure, Lex Scott Davis, Tamala Jones, Ariela Barer, Kevin Zegers and Sam Palladio co-starred. The series was produced by ABC Signature, part of Disney TV Studios, in association with Sony Pictures Television and Davis Entertainment.
In addition to expressing her disappointment, Sagal encouraged her followers and fans to share her post, and sign a #SaveRebel petition. The online campaign, created by Kellie Ocallaghan, has garnered more than 7,000 signatures.
“As Rebel would say, fight for what you want, make people listen, and in this case, if our show can find another, more suitable place to land, we will do the happy dance,” Sagal continued. “If not, we gave it our all and made our voices heard, which is the message behind Rebel! Always Speak Up!!”
Vernoff, who reshared Sagal’s Instagram post, also expressed her confusion by ABC’s decision on Twitter. Citing Deadline, Vernoff responded to speculation that the series’ pedigree would help put the legal drama towards a sophomore season.
“You’d think, wouldn’t you? You give them three shows during a pandemic, they give you five episodes. Cool cool. Cool,” Vernoff tweeted.
Erin Brockovich, who inspired the ABC series, also shared her two cents.
“There’s an irony to a show by & for strong women who don’t quit, being canceled,” she posted.
See their social media posts below.
“But there was speculation that the new show’s pedigree and strong cast could earn it more time to find a wider audience.”
You’d think, wouldn’t you? You give them three shows during a pandemic, they give you five episodes. Cool cool. Cool. https://t.co/VrOt0R8taC
— Krista Vernoff (@KristaVernoff) May 17, 2021
There's an irony to a show by & for strong women who don't quit, being canceled#Rebelabc isn't going anywhere! She lives on in every one of the thousands who reached out this weekend & who continue to fight in their communities
You'll never cancel this movement, or our voices!
— Erin Brockovich (@ErinBrockovich) May 17, 2021