This proves once again that comparing subscription streaming audiences to those of broadcast TV is like sizing up a missing jetliner to an orange.
Netflix is reportedly "in the home stretch" of negotiations with Warner Bros. Television to produce a fourth season of cancelled NBC drama Manifest. The talks have been so fruitful, according to Deadline Hollywood, Warner Bros. has already started negotiating with the cast about returning to the set.
Updated 8/25/2021: As part of those negotiations with Warner Bros., Netflix seems to have licensed streaming rights to the third season of Manifest. The that third and seemingly final 13-episode season just dropped on Netflix, and is already ranking as the No. 1 show in America, according to the SVOD service's ranking widget.
NBC cancelled Manifest in June after three seasons. This wasn't an abrupt, impulsive decision by the network. Executive producer Jeff Rake's series about an airliner that mysteriously disappears, the suddenly reappears, along with the crew and passengers five years later, had seen its network ratings performance steadily decline from its 2018 premiere.
Almost simultaneously, however, Netflix debuted the first two seasons and 29 episodes of Manifest on June 10, and the show about Montego Air Flight 828 flew in an entirely more successful ratings trajectory.
Manifest was the highest rated show on the major U.S. SVOD services for five straight weeks, according to Nielsen, debuting at a stratospheric 2.5 billion weekly viewing minutes. In fact, Manifest has been the most watched subscription streaming show this year, Nielsen said.
Netflix's decision to renew the show represents a reversal--the streaming service, along with NBC, initially balked in June at a social internet-fueled campaign, #SaveManifest, led by Rake.
NBC had reportedly re-considered, as well, but has since decided to take yet another pass.
Netflix's rescue of Manifest is similar to its decision to keep producing Lucifer after FOX cancelled the series, also after three seasons.
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.
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