Manifest seasons 1 and 2 have been lighting up the Netflix top 10s since their arrival on Netflix in both the United States and Canada on June 10th, 2021. With NBC and its streaming service Peacock passing on the show, fans pinned their hopes on Netflix reviving the show for season 4 although now that’s been ruled out. Here’s a look as to why.
Just a quick recap if you’ve not been following along.
Manifest is an NBC show that’s produced and distributed by Warner Brothers Television. The show first aired back in 2018 and three seasons later, the show was canceled by NBC.
As we first reported, Netflix was picking up the show as a licensed title in the US and Canada on June 10th. The third season’s finale was released on the same day it was added to Netflix and just four days later was when the show was officially canceled.
That led to a massive fan campaign to “#SaveManifest” and because Netflix had licensed the first two seasons, they were number 1 on the shortlist to revive the show.
Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva then reported on June 18th that Netflix was, in fact, looking at the possibility of reviving before just three days later, announcing that Netflix had passed on the show.
Well, my #manifesters, I’m sorry to say that it’s the end of the line for now. We are so proud to have brought you this story over 3 seasons. We so wished we could’ve finished the journey with you. But it wasn’t in the cards. Thanks to our incredible EP’s, producers, writers… pic.twitter.com/jPnnqndQQ5
— joshdallas (@JoshDallas) June 22, 2021
So the question becomes, why did Netflix pass on the show? Here are a few reasons that we think.
Why Netflix Passed on Manifest
Just to caveat before we dig in further, this is not the official line. It’s simply speculation.
As Julia Alexander’s post on IGN states, Netflix hasn’t been known for saving shows for a while. There’s a bunch of reasons for this but there are three we suspect for being the case with Manifest.
First and foremost is cost. While we don’t have specifics on Manifests costs, we know that it does play a key role. In addition, because the show would still be licensed as such, Netflix could eventually have to give up the rights to all the seasons (and previous seasons) it pays for exclusively (see The Killing as a good example for that). Long term, Netflix needs/is moving towards in-house projects to hold on to rights much longer.
International rights could’ve also been a sticky point. After all, Netflix has a lot of regions to serve and it only managed to license the first two seasons in the US and Canada. Could other purchasers of the rights internationally made life difficult for Netflix holding back the first few seasons? A good example of this for Lucifer was the fact Amazon Prime video still holds exclusive rights in Germany for all seasons and the first few seasons in the UK.
Lastly, Netflix’s internal data (not Nielsen or the Top 10 data) could’ve shown that the show wasn’t sticky enough (people didn’t watch all the way to the end or lots of people dropped out early). In addition, TV ratings for the show continued to dwindle throughout season 3. It reportedly bled close to a million viewers in the final season. Season 1 peaked at 18.40 million viewers whereas the finale for season 3 was only 4.62 million.
As the IGN post states, Netflix’s objectives are key to understanding what they’re doing moving forward. In our view, licensing Manifest was simply to plug a rather depleted TV content slate thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic causing havoc on productions.
Can Manifest be revived outside of Netflix?
Whether the show can now be renewed outside of Netflix seems unlikely. The seeming last-minute license to Netflix could’ve been a last-ditch effort and the creator of the show on Twitter seemingly put out a final word on the show being done.
Our biggest question remains as to why HBO Max passed. After all, they’re within the same organization as Warner Brothers Television. Did they know something others didn’t?
There is still hope, however. Jeff Rake has told EntertainmentWeekly that there’s the possibility of a movie finale of some sort but again, up in the air.
Are you disappointed Netflix isn’t going to be making season 4 of Manifest? Let us know in the comments.