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Fans Help Extend Television Shows' Lifetimes

Futurama went the way of the dinosaur in 2003 (thanks, Fox), but on June 24, Comedy Central resurrects the animated show for two seasons, spurred by fans who spent millions on DVDs. Here, a look at some of the TV shows saved by loyal viewers — and how many seasons their fan campaigns bought them.

Fans Help Extend Television Shows' Lifetimes


In 2000, fans sent 3,000 bottles of Tabasco — aliens' sauce of choice — to the WB. Ratings spiked 32% the next season.


More than 3,000 fans organized on Facebook and then bought sandwiches at Subway (a Chuck sponsor) last April. NBC took notice.


Forty-thousand pounds of peanuts were sent to CBS in defense of the show, but viewers slid from 7.8 million to 7.1 million in the renewed 2007-2008 season.


Superfan Bjo Trimble led a letter-writing campaign that delivered more than 250,000 handwritten pleas to NBC, which almost canceled the show in 1968, after its second season.


Cut after its fifth season, in 2003, Futurama spawned four DVD movies, selling 1.4 million total copies.


After 2.6 million DVD sales convinced Fox in 2004 to bring back the show it had cut in 2002, ratings soared 64% and the show is now everywhere.

A version of this article appeared in the June 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.