Some TV shows are born on one network but find their true home on a different channel. Wonderwall.com is taking a look at series that flew the coop and found a new home on another network, starting with the once wildly popular reality competition series "American Idol," which aired its 15th and final season on original network FOX in 2016. Surprisingly, just a year later, "Idol" announced it was coming back, this time on ABC. The switch, which was blamed on disagreements between production company FreemantleMedia and FOX executives, shocked the original network, which wanted to rest the series in the wake of declining ratings and revive it in 2020. Either way, Season 16 of "Idol" debuted on ABC in March 2018 and was renewed for an upcoming 17th season. Keep reading for more…
When "America's Next Top Model" launched on UPN in 2003, it immediately became a fan favorite. After UPN and The WB shut down operations in 2006, "ANTM" was transitioned onto a new network, The CW, becoming not only its first TV show but one of its most popular series. However, in 2015, the show's creator and host, Tyra Banks, announced that "it was time" to bring the series to an end after 22 cycles. Fans were devastated and made their disappointment known. In 2016, after hearing fans loud and clear, Tyra's series made a comeback, this time on VH1, where it's aired two more seasons. It's unclear if "ANTM" will return for a 25th season.
Melissa Joan Hart's popular supernatural sitcom "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" originally aired on ABC, where it remained for four seasons. But in 2000, the show made a leap to The WB. Melissa claimed the new network didn't "back" the show or "fully support it," leading to a steady decline in viewers. Finally, in 2003 after seven total seasons, "Sabrina" was canceled.
After spending a decade on FOX, Seth McFarlane's adult animated series "American Dad!" was canceled in 2015. Thankfully, that didn't mean the end for the fictional Smith family. TBS picked the show back up and in 2016, Season 11 premiered. The veteran animated series will finish its 13th season in 2018 and has already been renewed for two more seasons.
Originally airing on Bravo in 2004, supermodel Heidi Klum's "Project Runway" brought the world of high-end fashion design into stunning focus. In 2008 after five seasons, "Runway" jumped ship after receiving a plush deal from a competing network, Lifetime. The move brought lawsuits from Bravo's parent company, NBCUniversal, which claimed it was never even given a chance to make a counter offer. In the end, Season 6 premiered on Lifetime in 2009 and remained there until 2017. In a surprising twist, Bravo revealed in 2018 that "Runway" was coming home for Season 17. The switch back to its original network was brought on by the demise of The Weinstein Company, which owned the show.
In 2016 after airing four seasons of the musical drama "Nashville" starring Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton, ABC announced it was canceling the series due to a dip in ratings and the high cost of production. That same year, CMT (which happens to be based in the city of Nashville) picked up the series and debuted its fifth season that December. Sadly, "Nashville" wasn't destined for a long run. In 2017, the network announced it was canceling the show after its sixth and final season, which wrapped up in July 2018.
In 2010, we learned that the Glenn Close-Rose Byrne legal drama "Damages" had been canceled by its original network, FX. The move was particularly shocking given the show's critical acclaim and award nominations and wins, which included a Golden Globe in 2008 and an Emmy in 2009. Thankfully, DirecTV swooped in and saved the day, picking up the series for an additional two seasons as well as securing the rights to the previous three seasons that aired on FX. In 2012, it was ultimately canceled once more, this time for good.
After just one season on the air, the military crime drama "JAG" was canceled by NBC in 1996 due to the emergence of more popular shows like "Friends" pulling in younger audiences. Grasping for the opportunity, struggling competitor network CBS picked up the series, which ended up running for nine more seasons and winning three Emmys before going off the air in 2005.
After eight seasons of Urkel, the TGIF comedy favorite "Family Matters" was canceled by ABC in May 1997. CBS threw it a lifeline and picked up the series that same year, debuting the ninth season just four months after it was originally cut. Sadly, the show wasn't able to regain its earlier momentum on its new network and got the ax after just one season.
After five seasons on NBC, the supernatural crime-drama "Medium" starring Patricia Arquette was canceled in 2009 due to low ratings. CBS came to the show's rescue that same year, much to the delight of fans. But ultimately, a network change couldn't revive the series and after two more seasons, it was canceled for good in 2011.
Proving even popular shows aren't safe from a network's ax, FOX cut "The Mindy Project" in 2015 after three successful seasons, leaving fans distraught. Thankfully that same year, Hulu agreed to pick up the series. The comedy, about the exploits and antics of a bold and confident New York gynecologist (played by Mindy Kaling, center), ran for another three seasons on the streaming service before leaving the air for good in 2017.
First airing on FOX in 2003, the hilarious comedy series "Arrested Development," which followed the exploits of the dysfunctional Bluth family, was surprisingly canceled after four seasons in 2006 due to a decline in ratings (which many believe was caused by FOX's inability to effectively market the series as well as numerous schedule shifts). Because we can have good things, Netflix decided to reprise the show with an eight-episode season that kicked of in 2018, bringing back the entire original cast. It's unclear if fans will get more.
Even though the critically acclaimed mystery-crime drama "Twin Peaks" only lasted for two seasons on ABC before getting canceled, it developed a cult-like following that has lasted over a quarter century. In one of the longest waits imaginable, cable giant Showtime decided to pick the series up in 2017 and debuted a long-awaited 18-episode new season that May. The series saw the return of its original star, Kyle MacLachlan (center), but introduced an entirely new supporting cast. As of 2018, Showtime doesn't have any plans to revive the series beyond that single season.
Interestingly, before "Diff'rent Strokes" first aired on NBC in 1978, it was being considered by ABC under a different name, "45 Minutes From Harlem." After changes were made to the original project, ABC passed on the series, which remained with NBC for seven seasons before getting canceled in 1985. The family comedy, which starred Janet Jackson, Todd Bridges and Gary Coleman (not pictured), was immediately picked up again by ABC but failed to catch on with viewers. It was eventually canceled for good in 1986 after its eighth season.
Suzanne Somers' lighthearted family comedy "Step By Step" first aired in 1991 on ABC. The series, meant to be something of a modern-day "The Brady Bunch," remained with the network for six seasons before getting cut in 1997. That same year, CBS acquired the show and aired its seventh season that September. Unable to find its audience, the show was canceled once again in 1998.
After five incredibly successful seasons on The WB, the hit demon-slasher series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" made a sudden and unexpected move to UPN in 2001. The switch, prompted by UPN offering to pay $2.35 million per episode over the WB's $1.8 million, initially led the show's star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, to threaten quitting. However, once negotiations were finished, she happily stayed on board for two more seasons until the series came to an end in 2003. In July 2018, 20th Century Fox announced that a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" reboot is in the works! No word yet on whether any of the show's original stars will be returning.
When the crime-drama "Veronica Mars" starring a young Kristen Bell jumped ship from UPN to new network The CW in 2006 after two seasons, it wasn't because the studio behind it was seeking a bigger paycheck. In fact, the switch happened because UPN and its competitor network, The WB, were effectively shut down following a major network realignment that year. Unfortunately, the move didn't help "Veronica Mars" with its lackluster ratings. The show was canceled after its third season in 2007.
The wacky medical dramedy "Scrubs" first aired in 2001 on NBC, where it remained for seven seasons. In 2008, ABC ponied up the cash to acquire the series, which featured Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Sarah Chalke, John C. McGinley and a host of celebrity guests (like Brendan Fraser, seen here), initially causing frustration between the two networks. NBC claimed it wasn't given first-negotiation rights as outlined in its contract but, after ironing out the details with its competition, it gave "Scrubs" its blessing to move on. The show ran for two more seasons on ABC before getting the ax in 2009.
The gritty Western crime-drama "Longmire" starring Robert Taylor first debuted in 2012 on A&E, where it quickly became one of the network's most popular series. Shockingly, in 2014 after three wildly successful seasons, A&E announced it was canceling the show with little explanation. Fans were understandably upset about the news and took to social media to complain. Their protests were heard loud and clear and in November that year, Netflix decided to pick up the series, where it ran for three more seasons.
When the Courteney Cox-led romantic-comedy series "Cougar Town" first aired in 2009, it was on ABC. After three seasons and declining ratings on the network, the series jumped ship and found a new home on TBS. "Cougar Town" was able to regain its momentum on the new network and ran for three more seasons, eventually coming to an end in 2015.
The Mat Groening sci-fi animated comedy "Futurama" debuted on FOX in 1999. The series about a pizza delivery guy who's accidentally frozen for 1,000 years before being thawed in a strange new future, ran for five seasons before the network refused to buy more episodes, essentially causing it to go bankrupt in 2003. After six years of silence, a new deal was inked with Comedy Central and in 2010, a new season aired. Unfortunately, the deal was short-lived. By 2013, the network had canceled the show after only two new seasons.
For five seasons, the hilarious comedy "Community" starring Joel McHale and Danny Pudi ran on NBC. Sadly, due to low ratings, the network canceled the series in 2014. Yahoo! Screen revived the series for one final season in 2015, giving fans a chance to say goodbye to their favorite characters.
The 1957 family comedy "Leave it to Beaver" debuted its first season on CBS before getting canceled by the network. The classic series, about a boy named Beaver Cleaver and his family, found a new home on ABC where it ran for five more seasons. The show was never a major network hit, which resulted in its final cancellation in 1963.
In 1986, the mystery-crime drama "Matlock" starring Andy Griffith aired on NBC. The show ran for six seasons before hopping over to ABC in 1992 due to a drop in ratings. After three more seasons, "Matlock" was officially canceled in 1995.
Beginning in 2000, "Gilmore Girls" aired on The WB for seven beloved seasons before getting canceled in 2007. The show about the lives and loves of mom Lorelai Gilmore and daughter Rory Gilmore (played by Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel) had something of a cult following, which caught the attention of Netflix executives. In 2016, a four-episode miniseries reboot, "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life," aired on the streaming service, giving viewers a chance to catch up with their favorite mother-daughter duo. In 2018, news emerged that the show's creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, had struck a deal with Amazon and were able to secure the rights to bring "Gilmore Girls" with them, should they decide to make another season of the show. No word yet on if or when that might happen.