In one of the more mysterious juxtapositions between the Darwinian, apocalyptic world of broadcast TV and the thriving new paradigm of video streaming, Manifest, the No. 1 show on Netflix since Sunday, just got canceled by NBC.
The series, co-produced by Warner Bros. TV and Universal TV, created by former David E. Kelly writers room stalwart Jeff Rake, and produced by Robert Zemeckis, follows the passengers of the mysterious Montego Air Flight 828, which took of from Jamaica in 2013, went missing, then reappeared at JFK in 2018, its passengers somehow unaware that more than five years had passed.
Manifest was the top-rated show among NBC’s four series that were reportedly “on the bubble” for fall renewal. But through three seasons on NBC, the audience declined precipitously. The series premiered to a 10.4 million viewers in September 2018, but declined to an audience of just 2.78 watchers for its final season three episode on June 3, according to Nielsen. (Notably, the entire broadcast TV audience also dropped precipitously over this period.)
Netflix debuted the first two seasons and 29 episodes of Manifest on June 10. Nielsen won’t include data on its streaming performance for several weeks, but Manifest currently ranks No. 1 on the SVOD platform, according to its top 10 ranker.
Rake has said in earlier interviews that he thought of the idea while vacationing with his family back in 2014. His pitches couldn’t get traction until the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370 made headlines and created an aura of relatability around the concept.
Rake had described a six-season arc for his story concept. He tweeted Tuesday that he is “devastated” about the cancellation, but hopes to find a new home for the series.
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. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
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