Network Jumpers: 'Cougar Town' and 12 Other TV Series Saved by a Switch
10:20 AM PDT 5/11/2012 by THR Staff
The Courteney Cox comedy is just the latest in a long line of series to enjoy a second life on another channel. THR takes a look at "Friday Night Lights," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Southland," among others, and what their big moves entailed.
In a move that saved the series from almost certain cancellation, TBS, a cable network which has had troubles finding its footing with scripted comedies, nabbed the beloved Bill Lawrence series from ABC -- where its third season premiered late and to relatively weak ratings. As a part of the deal, Cougar Town gets a 15-episode fourth season on TBS, which will also air encores of the first three. Penny can!
One of the most successful switches in recent memory, Southland lost its NBC spot after its second season when the ill-fated Jay Leno Show devoured five hours' worth of the schedule. TNT swooped in, sparing it from the ax. In 2012, it was renewed for a fifth season.
'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'
From The WB to UPN
An unconventional move at the time (and to this day), producers at 20th Century Fox basically put Buffy up for silent auction when its deal with The WB expired at the end of the fifth season. The WB still wanted its top-rated series, but it ended up finishing its run with two more seasons that aired on the UPN.
'Friday Night Lights'
From NBC to DirecTV
NBC's beloved-but-underperforming high school football drama scored an unexpected touchdown in 2008 when DirecTV agreed to bear some of NBC's financial burden in exchange for first-run rights to the third season. It worked out so well, DirecTV and NBC shared the series for two additional seasons, which finally brought home an Emmy for star Kyle Chandler.
From FX to DirecTV
Though an Emmy favorite and a critical darling, FX canceled Glenn Close's Damages after its low-rated third season. DirecTV, which had pulled a similar move with NBC's Friday Night Lights, swooped in and bought two more seasons of the legal drama -- the last of which premieres in 2012.
From Fox to Comedy Central
Five years after its cancellation, and prompted by DVD sales, Matt Groening cartoon Futurama resurfaced on Comedy Central -- where it's continued to air since 2008. Currently renewed through a seventh season, the network won't have to make a decision about Futurama's future until 2013.
'Grounded for Life'
From Fox to The WB
The first series to ever make a switch mid-season, Donal Logue's sitcom moved to The WB during its third run. It remained on the network for two more seasons.
From NBC to CBS
It's hard to remember a time when JAG didn't air on CBS, but the series got its start on NBC. After the peacock canceled its underperforming drama after the first season, CBS swooped it up, airing it for nine, much more successful years. Its legacy lives on in spin-offs NCIS and NCIS:LA.
'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'
From NBC to USA
One of NBC's many now-defunct Law & Order spin-offs saw ratings woes in the 2006-2007 season. The network decided to move it over to cable sister USA, keeping on the original Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU instead. USA continued to air Criminal Intent through its 10th season, with a revolving door of leads, before ultimately deciding to end the run in 2011.
From Showtime to Sci-Fi
As Showtime's programming began to evolve, it dropped SG-1 in 2002 after five seasons, noting its syndication prevented the network from drawing new viewers. Sci-fi (now Syfy), a natural fit, picked up the series, airing five more seasons, syndicated episodes and two spin-offs. The original Stargate went off the air in 2007 after a decade-long run.
From Bravo to Lifetime
Something of a coup for the reality darling, Project Runway closed up shop at Bravo after five seasons as one of cable's highest rated reality shows. Lifetime bought the series, prompting an unrealized lawsuit from Bravo parent company NBCUniversal, and continues to air it and its several spin-offs today.
From NBC to ABC
Not ready to say goodbye to Scrubs after seven seasons, ABC Studios moved its comedy from an uninterested NBC to ABC for two more seasons. The last, which largely featured a new cast working in a new hospital, prompted its cancellation in 2010.
From NBC to CBS
Like JAG before it, CBS saw something in NBC's Medium -- though it did not work out as well the second time around. Medium only earned another two seasons at CBS, ending with an abbreviated seventh run in 2011.