As the showrunner for two of ABC's most popular dramas, Grey's Anatomy executive producer Krista Vernoff expected to have ABC's support for her first show as creator, the Katey Sagal-starring Rebel. However, the show was canceled on Friday, after just five episodes aired. After Sagal said the cast was left scratching their heads because of the decision, Vernoff blasted the network in a tweet.
On Monday, Vernoff quote-tweeted Deadline's report on the show's cancellation, which included a line noting that there was speculation that Rebel's strong cast would "earn it more time to find a wider audience." Vernoff included that line, adding, "You'd think, wouldn't you? You give them three shows during a pandemic, they give you five episodes. Cool cool. Cool." Vernoff later deleted the tweet, but TVLine published a screenshot.
Rebel was the first show Vernoff created herself. She is the showrunner for both Grey's Anatomy and Station 19, which are coming back in the 2021-2022 TV season. Rebel averaged 3.2 million viewers and a 0.43 18-49 rating in live numbers. ABC will continue airing the five remaining episodes of Rebel on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET. The show is also available to stream on Hulu.
In Rebel, Sagal played Annie "Rebel" Bello, a working-class legal advocate inspired by Erin Brokovich, who served as an executive producer on the show. In addition to Sagal, the series boasted a strong ensemble cast, including Oscar-nominee Andy Garcia. In her response to the cancellation, Sagal said everyone was shocked and they thought ABC would give Rebel a chance to build an audience. She also endorsed fans' efforts to keep the show going, adding a link to a Change.org petition demanding ABC save the series.
"Things take time to catch on. Rebel tells the story of a woman who speaks up for what is right, the show has heart and purpose, funny and tears, and we, the cast, are all scratching our heads at the reversal of support from ABC," Sagal wrote. "As Rebel would say, fight for what you want, make people listen, and in this case, if our show can find another, more suitable place to land, we will do the happy dance. If not, we gave it our all and made our voices heard, which is the message behind Rebel! Always Speak Up!!"