Sometimes even network executives admit they've made mistakes. After canceling Unforgettable last year, CBS is bringing back the cop drama this summer. AMC changed its mind about dropping The Killing and, most recently, Lifetime decided to revive Drop Dead Diva.
While it's rare for a network to pick up its own reject, it has happened before (to varying degrees of success): See CBS's Cagney & Lacey, Fox's Family Guy, The WB/The CW's 7th Heaven and CBS's Jericho.
"[Currently] the biggest factor is that, with so much competition and so much fragmentation, it's difficult to establish a new program," says Katz Media Group analyst Bill Carroll. "If you have an existing show that you realize could still have potential, you'll go with it because it's established with the audience."
That explains what happened with Unforgettable, which CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler essentially said was canceled in May 2012 (despite pulling in an average of 11.3 million viewers) to make room for the new shows of the 2012-13 season. Less than two months later, Season 2 was a go. The police procedural, starring Poppy Montgomery and Dylan Walsh, will have a new location — Manhattan's major crimes division — and supporting cast, including The Walking Dead's Dallas Roberts, when it returns July 28.
Cost cutting prompted Lifetime to cancel the solidly performing Drop Dead Diva (an average of 2.3 million viewers) in January. "This was always a strong brand," says Lifetime programming chief Robert Sharenow. "There was a massive outpouring of support." Producer Sony, Lifetime and the show's creators figured out how to make the dramedy for less money, which means Diva will be back later this year. "There will be a few changes," Sharenow says, "but fans will get the show that they love."
In perhaps the biggest surprise of all, AMC's The Killing will return in late May or early June. After Season 1 ended without revealing who killed Rosie Larsen, fans expressed outrage, viewership for the second season dropped 27 percent and the drama was not renewed for a third go-round. "We clearly underestimated the fans' passion for closure," says AMC president Charlie Collier. "But after making the difficult decision to cancel it, we never got the show out of our heads." The agreement between the series' production company, Fox Television Studios, and Netflix to stream The Killing three months after its cable run helped off-set costs. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman are the only actors returning in the new story, about a series of murders connected to an old case. And, Collier promises, "We'll have the conclusion [to the investigation] by the season's end."
Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!