NBC announced late Friday that it would commission a sixth season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which had been canceled by Fox only Thursday. The cancellation had been met by widespread furor and disbelief, including from high-profile fans like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mark Hamill.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, NBC has ordered 13 episodes, shorter than a typical broadcast season. In a statement, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said that “Ever since we sold this show to Fox I’ve regretted letting it get away, and it’s high time it came back to its rightful home.” The critically-acclaimed show is produced by Universal TV, formerly NBC Studios.
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The show’s creators and stars have an array of deep connections to NBC flagship properties including Parks & Recreation, The Office, and Saturday Night Live. The show is also tonally a good fit for NBC, with the surreal, slightly edgy, but fundamentally good-natured feel that has helped the network win the key 18-49 demographic for four years in a row.
NBC was one of several platforms, also including Netflix and Hulu, that had expressed interest in picking up the show. Fox’s cancellation of Brooklyn Nine-Nine was in part driven by an effort to make room for NFL games and prepare for a proposed merger with Disney.
Though it has become increasingly common for series to migrate between broadcasters, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine pickup is unusual in one respect. As the television landscape fragmented over the past decade, many shows have been canceled by major networks and then picked up by smaller platforms. Other examples include Futurama’s cancellation by Fox and revival by Comedy Central, and Arrested Development’s continuation courtesy of Netflix after being canceled, again, by Fox.
But it’s less common for one of the Big Four networks to nab a competitor’s rejects. That may be changing, though — Fox itself just picked up Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing after its cancellation by ABC, part of a wave of deals and reshuffles ahead of next week’s Upfront presentations to advertisers.