The co-creator and showrunner of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” doesn’t want to say he’s glad Fox axed the show … but he kind of is.
This comedy set inside a New York police precinct has always had the support of critics and a following of devoted fans. But the ratings have never been great. And, in a time when there are nearly 500 scripted TV shows on broadcast, cable or streaming services, it’s hard for anything to break out.
Executive producer Dan Goor thinks NBC’s resurrection of “Brooklyn Nine Nine” is helping the sitcom do just that.
“I don’t know if it was just a slow news day or what, but the story of our show getting canceled and then getting resurrected really struck some kind of nerve, which has been really great,” Goor said. “It gave this show a story. And so now it’s sort of in … the zeitgeist a little bit on its own terms.
“People go, ‘Oh, yeah. I know about that. It’s the show that got canceled and then picked back up because of that slow news day.’ And, you know, we’ll take it.”
Whether it translates into better — or even equal — ratings remains to be seen. (Season 6 begins Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on NBC/Channel 5.)
The fact is that shows changing networks is nothing new. It’s been happening since television began. It’s happened hundreds of times. And some shows have made multiple switches.
“Bachelor Father” (1957-62) moved from CBS to NBC to ABC. “Father Knows Best” (1954-60) moved from CBS to NBC and then back to CBS. “The Ernie Kovacs Show” (1952-55, 1961-62) aired on NBC, CBS, the (now defunct) Dumont Network and ABC.
That sort of thing is still happening. Later this year, “Project Runway” will move from Lifetime to Bravo; in 2008, it moved from Bravo to Lifetime. In October, “Smackdown Live” is moving to Fox after airing on UPN/The CW, MyNetworkTV, Syfy and USA.
The only difference between what’s happening today and what happened in the 1950s is that today it’s largely about who owns the shows. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is produced by Universal Television, part of Comcast-owned NBC Universal. It was licensed to Fox for five seasons. When Fox canceled it, NBC had a financial interest in keeping the show alive.
To be clear, if NBC programmers didn’t think there was still life in the show, they would have let it die. But they think there’s a upside for both the network and the production company, which will have 18 more episodes of “B99” to sell into syndication.
Programming decisions are made based on ownership all the time. In 2017, ABC canceled “Last Man Standing” (which Fox owns) in favor of “Once Upon a Time” (which ABC owns). A year later, Fox revived “Last Man.”
And if a show is on the bubble for renewal, it helps if the network owns it and hurts if it doesn’t. Thus CBS renewed “Elementary,” which it produces, and Fox canceled “Lucifer,” which Warner Bros. produces.
By the way, Netflix picked up “Lucifer” after Fox canceled it.
As for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” not much has changed other than the network. There is one change in the offing — Chelsea Peretti (who co-stars as precinct administrator Gina Linetti) is leaving the show midway through the season. But what we’ll see on NBC is what we would have seen had Fox renewed it, Goor said.
“Well, I think you’re giving us a tremendous amount of credit to think we’ve, like, planned a whole season in advance when we’re struggling to be, like, 16 minutes in advance. But, yes, it is,” he said. “The mandate from NBC all along has been, ‘We know this show. We love this show. That’s why we picked up this show. Please keep making the same show.’”
After thinking about it for a moment, Goor amended his answer.
“I don’t want to say it’s the same show,” he said. “I think it’s going to be even better this year. Definitely put that in an article.”