NBC has canceled Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist after two seasons. TVLine reports there was a bid for the show to be picked up by the network's sibling streamer Peacock for an eight-episode final season, but negotiations fell apart over the weekend. Lionsgate is said to be pitching the show to other streamers in the hopes it can be revived.
Showrunner Austin Winsberg told the outlet in May of the possible switch that there would be some benefits to the different platform. “If we had the ability to not be so beholden to the network runtime, I mean, there are scenes I have to cut every week or songs I have to cut for time,” Winsberg explained. “To able to have a little bit more creative freedom and flexibility, there could be great.” The showrunner said at the time that he knew a move to a streaming service was "one of the discussions" being considered, but there was nothing "concrete" to report.
The musical dramedy followed main character Zoey (Jane Levy), a software developer who suddenly develops this sixth sense that allows her to hear the innermost thoughts of those around her as musical numbers. The strange new super-power enhances her ability to communicate with her loved ones, and most importantly, her father, Mitch (Peter Gallagher) who suffers from a neurological disease called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). Showrunner Winsberg crafted the idea for the original series from his own life story. His father suffered from the same disease until he died. “It started from the fact that my father passed away several years ago from PSP, this degenerative neurological disease,” Winsberg tells Entertainment Weekly of the difficult time. “In a year, my dad went from being this super dynamic, vibrant, outgoing guy to pretty close to a vegetable. He couldn’t move; he could only kind of move his right hand. He was losing weight rapidly. He couldn’t speak anymore. For the last six months that my dad was alive, we didn’t really know how much he was processing if he was processing what was really going on in his brain.”
The season 2 finale closed on a major cliffhanger, with Max suddenly developing the same power as Zoey and finally hearing the song in her heart. But, this abrupt cancellation will leave Zoey fans in the dark as. to the couple's future. “Just in terms of thinking how could Zoey and Max work long-term, for me, it was important for Max to have an understanding of what it’s like for Zoey to experience heart songs,” Winsberg said of the finale during a post mortem Q&A. “And I also like the idea that Max could know what’s going on in Zoey’s head as well. And certainly, from a romantic comedy perspective, to be able to play stories where these two people are in a relationship, but they also know exactly what the other person is thinking about, felt like ripe ground for storylines.”