EARLIER: Yippee kayak! “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” could be back after all. Just hours after Fox announced that “B99,” “The Last Man on Earth” and “The Mick” wouldn’t be renewed for next season, rumors began about another outlet stepping in and saving the show.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has already aired five seasons and made it to 112 episodes, which means its back-end is secure: The comedy has more than enough for long-lasting syndication. It’s also not much of a surprise that Fox would shut down the precinct: It doesn’t own the show (it’s produced by Universal TV), and “B99” has not been much of a ratings performer as of late. Also, by a show’s sixth season, costs shoot up as new talent deals are secured.
In a different age, that would be the end of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” But in 2018, there are enough outlets out there looking for shows with built-in awareness that “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is already generating interest from other networks and platforms. Several of those outlets aren’t looking for ratings — they’re looking for the buzz that comes with saving a beloved TV show (and the goodwill that it generates with new and existing subscribers).
And the outpouring of support for “B99” — including a heavily retweeted plea from Lin-Manuel Miranda — makes those programmers sit up and notice.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which premiered in September 2013, was created by Dan Goor and Mike Schur and centers on an eccentric group of detectives in a Brooklyn-based NYPD precinct. Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Melissa Fumero, Stephanie Beatriz, Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio and Chelsea Peretti star.
“Wow. Thank you all for this incredible outpouring of support,” Goor wrote on Twitter. “‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ fans are the best fans in the world. It means the world to me and everyone else who works on the show.”
Here are some of the outlets said to be kicking the tires on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” in order of possibility:
Precedence: Hulu already saved another Universal TV show on Fox, “The Mindy Project,” after the network canceled it. “Mindy” aired for three seasons on Fox, then moved to Hulu in 2015 and ran for three seasons more.
Likelihood: Hulu also already has the “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” library, which means it has a good idea of how the show performs, and whether first-run episodes would move the needle.
Stumbling block: Hulu hasn’t been as eager in recent years to save long-running shows, no matter how popular.
Precedence: NBC has more often been the network that gave up shows that went on to success elsewhere (“JAG,” “Baywatch,” “Southland”) than the network that picked up others’ cancellations. The last two examples may have been in the late 1990s, when “The Naked Truth” and “The Jeff Foxworthy Show” left ABC and went to NBC — and didn’t work.
Likelihood: But nonetheless, Universal TV owns “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and if it’s worth making more seasons for that Hulu backend cash, then perhaps there’s room on the Peacock’s schedule. The show would fit nice with Schur’s other series on NBC, “The Good Place” and new comedy “Abby’s,” and its tone is right in place with workplace comedy “Superstore.” And with no Thursday Night Football next year, NBC has a bit more room on its shelf.
Stumbling block: Because series relocations haven’t worked on NBC in the past, everyone involved may decide the risk is too great.
Precedence: TBS has picked up canceled network series including ABC’s “Cougar Town” (which ended in 2015) and Fox’s “American Dad” (recently renewed for two more seasons).
Likelihood: TBS/TNT president Kevin Reilly developed and scheduled “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” back when he was Fox Entertainment president, and defended the show even when others inside 21st Century Fox griped about non-vertically integrated series. He’s a fan, and might welcome the role of hero in bringing the show to TBS, giving it another critical darling along side “The Last O.G.,” “The Detour” and “Search Party.”
Stumbling blocks: Price could be an issue, given the show’s age, and Reilly may decide he wants to stick with homegrown series. (“Cougar Town” and “American Dad” were both acquired by his predecessor, Michael Wright.)
Precedence: Although Netflix has been at the forefront of reboot mania (“Arrested Development,” “Fuller House,” “Gilmore Girls”), it’s been more selective in saving shows that have just been canceled by the broadcast networks. An early example of one, however, comes from “B99” studio Universal TV: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which Netflix picked up after NBC decided that it didn’t fit on the network.
Likelihood: Because Hulu holds the streaming rights to “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” domestically, that seems to be a huge stumbling block. Netflix has passed on other canceled shows in the past for similar reasons. But it does have rights to the show internationally, including in Canada.
Stumbling blocks: Netflix uses very specific data and algorithms to see whether a show should be saved, which is why in swooped in to bring over “The Killing” and “Longmire” when those dramas were canceled. Without “B99” episodes on its U.S. service, does it see anything that suggests that it might? Perhaps. Even though it doesn’t have “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” in its U.S. library, because of its international availability, Netflix has a page for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” — so it can still measure when people are searching for the show even here.
Stay tuned — but keep the faith, the lights are still flickering for the Nine-Nine.