Reportedly, the #SaveManifest fan campaign wasn't the major pull that drew Netflix to pick up the canceled NBC series for a 20-episode final season pickup. Rather, it was the hidden number of viewers that the streamer doesn't release to the public that informed them of its possible future success on the platform.
"Fan enthusiasm is always great to see, but it really isn't the emails or tweets — it was all about the viewing," Netflix's head of global TV Bela Bajaria tells The Hollywood Reporter. "To save a show in this way, it has to have that fan viewing. I appreciate their passion and being connected to the characters, but the viewing is the thing that saved the show."
While it's not necessarily the fans Netflix is acknowledging as the reason behind the deal, the streamer is definitely still banking on the show's supportive fan base to add momentum. The fan campaign likely helped to boost those numbers considering the heightened visibility prompted those curious to at least give the show a chance. Of course, the streamer is pumping up the show's reported $4M - $5M budget to make it "creatively fulfilling."
"Netflix said they want us to continue making the show we've been making and if they can help with some extra bells and whistles to make it more compelling and spectacular, they want to be able to support that," the show's creator Jeff Rake shared. "But I think that it will still feel like the show people have fallen in love with. It's going to be an incredibly visual 20 episodes and there's some important [location filming] that's always been built into the roadmap."
At the time of its announced cancellation, Manifest fans quickly organized a social media campaign asking any and all possible avenues to give the show another chance. "I've had shows canceled before and this is the first time that I experienced such a wave of support among the fandom," Rake says. "A small group of super fans formed a Twitter group and said, 'We got you Jeff. #SaveManifest. The campaign is beginning.' So before we even had a chance to lift a finger to figure out if we need a PR campaign to help save us, the fans rose up and created this campaign and spread the word — which was incredibly rewarding and heartening." The moment touched Rake, who profusely thanked the fans when the show's new season was finally announced. At one point, NBC attempted to fix their mistake in canceling the show by trying to pick it up, but by that point Rake says Netflix was just the better option.