There was only a sliver of hope, but it’s now official: Sony Pictures TV’s attempts to find a new network home for Timeless following the time-travel drama’s cancellation by NBC have ended without a deal. Series’ co-creator/executive producer Shawn Ryan gave fans the update on Twitter, thanking them for their unwavering support.
The studio already had tried shoppingTimeless to other buyers ahead of the series’ official cancellation by NBC and was not planning to extend the cast’s options, which expired June 30. Ryan today confirmed that the actors’ options indeed have expired. He also confirmed that discussions with NBC about a possible two-hour movie that would wrap the series’ story are still ongoing, stressing that “there are considerable economic obstacles that make it an uncertainty.”
As we previously reported, the two sides had not been able to make the economics work so far but NBC appeared interested. Doing two-hour movie finales is very expensive as it involves ramping up production and reassembling a team with little financial upside for the series’ network or studio. The economics are especially challenging on broadcast TV; the only series that has done it in the past decade or so was CBS’ CSI, which already had made a ton of money, spawning a billion-dollar franchise for sibling CBS TV Studios. On SVOD, Netflix recently did it with its cult sci-fi drama series Sense8.
“Behind the scenes, Sony has been trying hard to set it up elsewhere, but no luck so far,” co-creator/executive producer Eric Kripke said on the day of Timeless‘ cancellation 10 days ago. “I think this 2 hour movie is our best shot. We’re ready to make it if @nbc really wants it.”
For the second year in a row, Timeless ended its season finale with a massive cliffhanger. SPOILER ALERT. In the Season 2 ender, soldier Wyatt (Matt Lanter) and historian Lucy (Abigail Spencer) return from their latest mission without their trusted engineer Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), who was killed. But in a last-second twist, an upgraded Lifeboat shows up with future versions of Wyatt and Lucy emerging to ask, “You guys want to get Rufus back or what?”
Created by Kripke & Ryan, Timeless launched with a mysterious criminal stealing a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. It then was up to a soldier (Lanter), a history professor (Spencer) and a scientist (Barrett) to use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. Goran Visnjic, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit co-starred.
Produced by Davis Entertainment, Kripke Enterprises and MiddKid Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television, Timeless is exec produced by Kripke, Ryan, John Davis, John Fox, Marney Hochman and Neill Marshall.