Fans of Girl Meets World were shocked to hear that after a scant three seasons, Disney Channel decided to pull the plug on the show. Rumors had been rife since late last summer, when the show had finished filming the last episode of its third season, that the show was going to be pulled from the #Disney lineup, but it wasn't until the last couple of weeks that the decision was made official. Word that the decision had finally been made to axe the show has sparked a few fan campaigns to #SaveGMW.
Show creator Michael Jacobs, who also created #GirlMeetsWorld predecessor Boy Meets World, says he think it's possible that the fan campaigns are working. Telling TV Line:
“There are talks underway, but we’re at the very very beginning stages. And I can tell you it’s because of the audience’s reaction to the cancellation that there is interest in other places."
Paper Plans And Social Media Campaigns
According to Jacobs, fan campaigns have included sending paper airplanes to streaming giants Netflix and Hulu and sparking a social media campaign to try and entice the streaming services to pick up Girl Meets World for further seasons. Why paper airplanes? The show's opening sequence features characters Riley and Maya standing together while Riley tosses a paper airplane.
While that open has been changed for the third season, the paper airplane toss clearly has resonated with fans. Jacobs says that although people have noticed what fans are doing to try and get the show picked up elsewhere, nothing has been confirmed as yet.
Shows Saved By Fan Campaigns
Girl Meets World is not the first popular show that fans have attempted to save. Here are four other shows rescued by the fans over the years.
4. 'Star Trek: TOS,' 1966-1969
NBC had been planning to scrub a third season of that "wagon train to the stars," as Star Trek series creator Gene Roddenberry once described the series. Sci-fi fans and Star Trek lovers Bjo and John Trimble, though, were having none of it; they promptly began a letter-writing campaign and told other Trekkies and Trekkers that they knew how to write to NBC to save the series.
It was a bold move, and while NBC only agreed to one more season of the show, it would be hard to imagine what could have happened if no one had tried to show the network how Star Trek was so loved. A fan campaign also inspired NASA to name its first space shuttle orbiter after the Federation flagship Enterprise in 1976, and Paramount to begin producing Star Trek movies in 1979.
3. 'Jericho,' 2006-2008
CBS decided to cancel this series after an 11-week hiatus sparked a significant drop in viewership. In Jericho's finale, the main character had a great deal of pressure to surrender his town, and he bellowed, "Nuts!" That was enough to inspire fans of the series to send CBS some 20 tons of peanuts, which caused CBS to look again at its ratings.
It turns out that, thanks to DVR and online streaming, there were actually far more Jericho viewers than was anticipated, so the network brought the show back for what ended up as an abbreviated second season. The show was cancelled for good in March of 2008, but there was a six-part comic book series released, and many fans consider this the show's third season.
2. 'Cagney & Lacey,' 1982-1988
There were very few cop dramas that starred females in lead roles, and that's what made Cagney & Lacey so darned intriguing. When CBS cancelled the show in 1983 due to low ratings, fans — and particularly fans in the women's movement — got busy writing letters to save the show. With support particularly from Ms. Magazine and feminist Gloria Steinem, CBS began to notice the groundswell of support from the show's fans. Barney Rosenzweig, the scribe behind the Cagney & Lacey television movie, was the organizer behind the charge to save the show, and it worked - the show was renewed starting in 1984 and went on for four more seasons.
1. 'Firefly,' 2002-2003
It seems as though Fox was eager to see Joss Whedon's Firefly crash and burn right from the start. Fox would either change Firefly's schedule or pre-empt scheduled airings of the show, and on occasion would air episodes out of order. The show was cancelled even before all of its 14 episodes had aired, which could have spelled disaster for those fans who loved the show.
However, sci-fi fans are among some of the most powerful forces on earth, and the DVD sales of Firefly's first season went crazy, with stores selling out of the DVDs as fast as they would get them in. You would think that this might entice Fox to bring Firefly back for more, but this wasn't the case. Instead, the 2005 movie Serenity was offered to Joss Whedon as a way to wrap the series appropriately.
The Future Of Girl Meets World
The previously mentioned shows are just a few cases in which fan-mounted campaigns have worked in order to save television shows. While Jacobs has been very clear that no decisions have been made by streaming services or other networks to take on Girl Meets World for a fourth or future seasons, there is little question that there are cases in which fan campaigns can do a lot to keep beloved shows going. Will Girl Meets World find survival with Netflix, Hulu, or some other service? Time will only tell, but if fans continue to mail paper airplanes in hopes of landing their point, there's little doubt that their efforts won't be recognized somehow.
What TV would you like to bring back (if you had the power to do so)?
(Sources: TV Line)