The viewers have spoken, and they want to make time for NBC's Timeless.
The freshman series was the favorite in USA TODAY's Save Our Shows poll, with 49% of voters saying they'd like the historically minded time-travel drama to stick around for a second season. CBS's Elementary, wrapping its fifth season this month, was a very close second with 48% (a difference of 1,350 votes), with NBC's Blindspot and ABC's Last Man Standing tied for third place with far less support.
This year's turnout of 146,603 votes marked a new record for Save Our Shows, now in its 20th year. And Timeless star Matt Lanter, who plays Wyatt Logan, a soldier in a team trying to stop a villain from changing history, is thrilled. "That's incredible to hear. Fan passion for this show is so high," he says of the #RenewTimeless movement. "I just hope we get to make more of it, obviously for selfish reasons, but also because the fans deserve it." Lanter spent his break from the show, which ended its season in February, in Atlanta shooting Pitch Perfect 3.
Viewers were far less excited about renewal prospects for Fox's remake of The Exorcist: Just 6% wanted it back, the lowest level of support for any of the 24 shows hovering "on the bubble" between renewal and cancellation (and 40% want it gone). That's less than half of the 16% who wanted the network's renewal-seeking rival Pitch to return. And despite an internal campaign at the network to save it, the baseball drama is a lost cause: Fox canceled it this week.
Save Our Shows 2017: What's returning, what's gone and what's on the bubble
Other shows leading the dump-this list were CBS's 2 Broke Girls and CW's iZombie (34% want them killed); ABC's spring Jenna Elfman sitcom Imaginary Mary (33%) and Fox's fading Will Forte comedy The Last Man on Earth (30%). Fox's Making History topped the list of indifference, with 70% of voters saying they didn't care either way.
And while the top 5 keepers were fairly consistent across state lines, Timeless was the clear favorite among viewers under 50 (74% of teen voters picked it), while Elementary outshone it among the 50-plus group. Younger voters also liked Quantico and Prison Break more than the older crowed, which preferred Code Black and Last Man Standing. Women also picked Timeless as their favorite to return, while men chose Elementary and even put 24: Legacy in their top 5.
Networks are weighing the fate of all of these shows as they screen pilots this week in preparation for an annual rite of spring, the unveiling of their new lineups to advertisers in New York starting May 15. The main factors in their decisions: Ratings trends, creative momentum, profitability and their ownership stake. Which of these shows will live on and which will die, replaced by a fresh crop of would-be hits, will be revealed soon.