Katey Sagal is not happy that ABC did not give Rebel a chance. The network canceled the series, in which she plays an Erin Brokovich-inspired activist, on Friday after only five episodes aired. Sagal, who also stars on ABC's The Conners, called the cancellation heartbreaking and voiced complete support for disappointed fans. The rest of the episodes produced will continue airing on ABC Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.
Sagal shared a statement to fans on her Instagram page Monday, thanking fans for their support of the show. "As a cast and great crew and the amazingly talented [Krista Vernoff] have just begun to gel and find our footing, the plug has been pulled, and I feel you and hear your disappointment," she wrote. "I wholeheartedly stand with you." She called the "abrupt announcement" that there will not be a second season based on only a few airings a "shock and a heartbreak."
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The former Sons of Anarchy star said everyone involved in the show was left "scratching our heads" by ABC's sudden reversal of support for the show. "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," Sagal wrote. "If not, we gave it our all and made our voices heard, which is the message behind Rebel! Always Speak Up!!"
She encouraged fans to share her message. Sagal also added a link to a Change.org petition calling for ABC to save the series. Nearly 8,000 fans have signed the petition since the show was canceled on Friday.
Hundreds of fans agreed with Sagal that Rebel should have been given more time to develop a fan base. "I LOVE this show! I'm so upset they never even gave you a real chance," one fan wrote. "ABC made a huge mistake," another chimed in. "I truly hope Rebel will get picked up by another network or streaming service soon! The show and the storytelling is absolutely amazing and so is the cast," one fan wrote. "We've got your back, always."
Rebel starred Sagal as Annie "Rebel" Bello, a working-class legal advocate without a law degree who fights for what she believes in. The ensemble cast also includes John Corbett, Lex Scott Davis, Tamala Renee Jones, James Lesure, Kevin Zegers, Sam Palladio, Ariella Barer, and Andy Garcia. The show was the first series created by Krista Vernoff, who also serves as showrunner on both Grey's Anatomy and Station 19. While both of those shows were renewed for the 2021-2022 season, Rebel was not.