It Looks Like Fans Haven't Seen the Last of 'Manifest' Regardless of NBC's Surprise Cancellation

NBC’s surprise cancellation of Manifest left fans reeling. The series, which follows the mysterious tale of a plane that resurfaces after five years, has been wildly popular since it premiered in 2018. As soon as news of the cancellation broke, fans began working on saving the series. While NBC didn’t bite initially, the show’s creator and cast aren’t ready to give it up just yet. One way or another, they insist Manifest will return.

Why did NBC cancel ‘Manifest’?

In a stunning decision, NBC announced the cancellation of Manifest in June 2021. The show’s fans, cast, and creator certainly weren’t expecting NBC to discontinue the series. Admittedly, season 3 of the series did lose a fair bit of viewership. According to several sources, the show lost about 20% of its viewership in season 3. Still, its numbers were healthy. So, why did NBC axe the series when season 3 ended on a huge cliffhanger?

According to Marie Claire, NBC decided to dump the series to make room for a new Law & Order spinoff. The network’s interest in keeping other shows that were on the bubble also played into the decision. In an interesting twist, the spinoff, Law & Order: For the Defense, isn’t happening. And a casting dispute has sent another series packing. Now, NBC has to decide what to do about its fall programming. When all is said and done, Manifest might have its pick of homes.

Will the series find a home on the big screen or the small one?

Where the beloved series will land, and in what format is still up in the air. Initially, it looked like Netflix was interested in taking on Manifest, allowing the show’s creator, Jeff Rake, to finish off the storyline. Now, Rake believes that seems unlikely. At the very least, he doesn’t think a streaming provider will give him the room he initially wanted to finish off the story.

In a sit-down interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rake said that he had three more seasons worth of content worked out in his head. Nervous that networks and streaming platforms aren’t interested in committing to such a lengthy commitment, Rake is coming up with other ideas. He told the publication he’s working on ways to condense the story down to the length of a feature film. The seasoned showrunner said production companies seem more willing to entertain a finale in the form of a feature. He pointed to Deadwood and Firefly as examples.

‘Manifest’ might end up having its pick of a new home

Manifest’s cancellation might have been the best thing to ever happen to the show. News of the series’ cancellation led to a massive social media campaign by its loyal fans. That social media campaign led to new viewers finding the show, which, in turn, led to an enormous surge of viewers in recent weeks. The show continues to top the charts and is one of Netflix’s most-watched shows at the moment.  

Renewed interest in the series might turn out to help Manifest’s cast and production team get what they want. According to Forbes, NBC is showing renewed interest in the series and is in talks with Warner Bros. to bring it back. Netflix has also reentered negotiations with Warner Bros. after the show’s proven success on the platform. How it will shake out remains to be seen, but fans of the series can rest easy knowing Rake will get the chance to finish his story, one way or another.

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