Updated Monday, 10:08: a.m.:
The online petition to save ABC’s “Forever” has almost doubled over the last 24 hours. It now has more than 12,600 signatures.
Despite a loyal following and a promising premise, ABC’s “Forever” didn’t exactly live up to its name. The crime/science-fiction drama, centering on a New York medical examiner who happens to be immortal, expired Friday after only one season -- the victim of spring cleaning as ABC makes room for its fall slate.
Now fans are rallying to save the high-concept drama from total oblivion. Under the hashtag #SaveForever Sunday, viewers beseeched the Alphabet Network with Facebook and Twitter appeals to keep the show on the air. A number of fans are saying the show suffered not because it was of poor quality but because ABC failed to give it the marketing push it deserves.
“There is a great lack of excellent television these days,” one Facebook user wrote. “‘Forever’ is one that deserves another chance and better marketing to bring in more viewers. It is a gem of a show, and I would hate to see it discarded just because not enough people know of its existence.”
Some fans are saying another network -- or perhaps Netflix Inc. -- should pick up the series where ABC left off. Such a move would not be unprecedented. For instance, Hulu is rumored to be in talks to revive Fox’s “The Mindy Project” after the ax fell on that series.
An online petition targeting Warner Bros. Television, the distributor of “Forever,” is calling on the company to explore other options and keep the show alive. The petition attracted more than 6,500 signatures in less than two days.
Campaigns to save canceled series are pretty common, but, unfortunately for viewers, rarely successful. Last year, fans of the “Dallas” reboot took to social media and demanded mercy for the Ewing clan after TNT axed the series. The effort was ultimately abandoned.
Still, the rapid outreach for “Forever” speaks to a growing chasm between broadcast television’s business model -- which relies on attracting massive audiences to win over advertisers -- and the sometimes small but passionate audiences that gravitate toward certain series. “Forever” averaged almost 5 million viewers an episode, which is far larger than the audience for cable-TV hits such as “Mad Men” on AMC.
“Forever” stars the Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd, who admitted the cancellation took him by surprise in an Instagram post Friday. “Tonight, as you all now know, I received a phone call that I was hoping not to receive, and to be honest I really wasn’t expecting it,” Gruffudd wrote. “I knew the numbers hadn’t been great, but I also knew the studio and the network both loved the show, and of course that it had an incredible fan base ... so I thought we were in with a pretty good chance.”