In an extraordinary show of support, NBC's "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" is the hands-down winner of USA TODAY's 23rd annual Save Our Shows poll, as a record 67% voted to keep the series around for a second season, with only 8% preferring to drop it.
With more than 62,000 votes counted, a distant second place went to ABC's crime drama "Stumptown," starring Cobie Smulders, which 38% of voters want to keep. NBC's sci-fi "Manifest" placed third, as 34% sought a third season. CBS drama "S.W.A.T." ranked fourth, with 32% support. And ABC's "Single Parents" was the lone comedy to land in the Top 5, preferred by 27% (while 11% want it to go away).
Voters chose from among 19 endangered broadcast comedies and dramas hovering "on the bubble" between renewal and cancellation, just weeks before networks decide their fates. (One of them, CBS drama "God Friended Me," was canceled after the poll was published and has since ended its run. But the series still finished in sixth place, with 26% voting to keep it.)
In a normal year, the networks would unveil their fall schedules next week at splashy presentations in New York, and announce which current series will return. While the coronavirus pandemic and social-distancing rules have upended their plans, typically they must tell actors by June whether they'll be employed for another series. So expect word as early as this week on what will stay and what will go.
Fox's Christmas-themed miniseries "The Moodys" had the lowest vote tally: Just 4% want to keep it. Among shows voters want dropped, four series tied for the dubious distinction: 14% voted to dump "God Friended Me" and three middling sitcoms, "Carol's Second Act" (CBS), "Indebted" (NBC) and "Mixed-ish" (ABC). But "Indebted," co-starring Fran Drescher, about a family whose broke parents move in, wins the honors: Twice as many voters wanted to drop "Indebted" as wanted to keep it.
"Zoey's" is a perfect example of a show that led fans to rally. With less than 3 million viewers on NBC within seven days of airing, it's a prime candidate for cancellation. But the network says the series has a robust (and young) digital viewership. The pandemic has also shut down production on pilots for shows that might've replaced it. And yet it's in a hard to define, rarely successful category: A musical drama in which characters break out into song – as Zoey (Jane Levy) reads their thoughts – with a first season that centered on her father's battle with debilitating supranuclear palsy – and (spoiler alert) – a season finale Sunday that culminated in his death.
Although early poll results suggested "Zoey" was lagging, a late surge, prompted by the social media support from the show's stars and producers, energized its fan base.
"That's what's been really fun about seeing the fans' response," says co-star Peter Gallagher of the poll results. He played doomed dad Mitch Clarke but whose role on a potential second season is uncertain. "Whatever they may have anticipated about the show, I think we surprised you. And even knowing that the finale was going to be possibly moving, I think we surprised you."
Last year's winner, CBS drama "Madam Secretary," was saved for a final 10-episode season, and the 2017 and 2018 winner, NBC's "Timeless," won two reprieves, a second season and then a finale movie.