117,000 Try to Save Nashville as Its Last Episode Airs

Nashville aired its last episode on Wednesday. Well, it aired its last episode on ABC. Fans are still holding out hope that the drama will be picked up by another network.

A petition to save Nashville has reached 117,000 signatures just two weeks after ABC announced it was cancelling the TV show, which was on the air for four seasons.

The supporters plea to #BringBackNashville is addressed to ABC as well as five other networks -- NBC, CBS, CMT, TNT, and AMC -- and three digital properties -- Hulu, Netflix and Amazon — signalling their hope that the show might get picked up by another TV or digital channel. It’s a hope shared by the show’s production company Lionsgate, which is also working to find a new network or digital home for the drama, according to The Tennessean.

It may be a good prospect for a digital property that has a global audience as fans of the show live all over the world. While 75% of the signatures on the petition come from people in the United States, people have signed this petition in more than 125 countries including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

Support for the petition spiked in the lead up to the final episode last night, increasing by more than 75,000 signatures since May 21. That growth was likely amplified by tweets from some of the show’s stars supporting the petition.

Nashville is one of a number of shows cancelled in May as networks firmed up next season’s line-ups.

Networks often cite ratings as a reason for cancelling a show. When asked about Nashville, ABC’s new president, Channing Dungey, told Us Weekly:

“Internally on the network side, it was kind of the best fit for things on the schedule — obviously looking at ratings, looking at our own finances and looking at some of the new development. A lot of the decisions really did come down to the wire, which is the difficult thing about these jobs. You have to kind of weigh and measure a lot of different things.”

But just because a show might not have great ratings doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have devoted fans.

And as you might expect, Nashville is not the only television show that people are petitioning to save. Here are some of the other campaigns started by loyal fans in response to recent cancellations:
 

 
 

In the past, these fans have appealed to networks to save their favorite shows. Friday Night Lights fans kept the low rated show on NBC by sending the network emails along with light bulbs and eye drops (a reference to the show’s line “Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t lose.”).  

And there’s a tradition of other networks picking up cancelled shows when fans have shown an interest. Take Roswell, which The WB ran for three seasons because fans were so vocal in the face of cancellations. When it was finally cancelled, UPN picked it up.

But, as we see with these petitions, now fans are appealing to the digital properties like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon to pick up cancelled shows.

Because they are paid services, and don’t have to rely on advertisers for revenue, digital channels don’t rely on TV ratings either. They are concerned with getting people to subscribe to their site, so a show with an extremely devoted following is an asset.

That’s why Hulu saved The Mindy Project after it was cancelled by Fox, Yahoo! picked up Community when NBC axed it, and Netflix brought back Arrested Development seven years after its much-maligned cancellation.

Fans see these digital channels as the sanctuary for their favorite shows, but will any of them save this year’s crop of cancelled programs? For Nashville fans, there may be hope yet, according to Lionsgate.

Which show do you want to see saved? Tell us in the comments.