8:32pm PT by Jean Bentley
'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Cast Talks Life After Cancellation, Leaving Fox (and Fox News)
It's hard to tell who was happier to be in the room at Brooklyn Nine-Nine's very first San Diego Comic-Con panel: the cast or the fans in the packed-full Indigo Ballroom, who stood and cheered for each actor who walked onstage.
Between "title of your sex tape" jokes and endorsement of WhatsApp (the group text about the cancellation — and quick pickup — were both on the service), Andy Samberg, Melissa Fumero, Terry Crews, Stephanie Beatriz, Joe Lo Truglio, Chelsea Peretti, Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon Miller, showrunner Dan Goor and executive producer Luke Del Tredici discussed the show's resurrection and how much they truly like each other.
But while the moderated discussion leaned toward the lighthearted, in a true upheaval of Comic-Con convention, the Q-and-A portion began with a query about Fox News and then touched on bisexual representation, Latinx representation and mental health representation on the show — leaving castmembers (and the questioners) in tears.
"All I know is there are different factions of Fox," Samberg said of being on such an inclusive show at a corporation that also housed Fox News. "Fox, the people we dealt with there, I truly believe really loved and supported the show. I don't know what they would say publicly about the Fox News wing of Fox."
Joked Peretti, "Fox News is so good, that's the hardest part about leaving."
Of Rosa's coming-out storyline, which Beatriz weighed in on heavily because it was in part modeled after her own coming out as bisexual, she said, "Dan is a person who believes in equality and inclusivity, and that shows in his writers' room. … He wanted a bisexual person's voice to be heard in that storyline, and it just so happened that the person who's playing the character they wanted to turn bi is also bi. It was a gift, and I think we did it in an amazing way."
She also noted that the show takes place in an idealized world where "everyone's a feminist, everyone's into equality, everyone loves their LGBTQIA family members, cops are good in this world," said Beatriz.
When a fan asked about Brooklyn's representation of different mental health issues, Samberg said that the writers want to make sure they treat the storylines with respect.
"Any time we tackle something that is tricky like that … it has to be the right story so we are walking the line correctly and it doesn't come across as us making a joke about it and giving it proper respect," he said. "That's why episodes like Rosa deciding to come out or the episode 'Moo Moo' where Terry is racially profiled in his own neighborhood, those episodes take a lot longer because if you fuck it up it's bad."
While the sixth season won't premiere until midseason, Goor said it's well underway.
"The writers' room is up and we are five weeks into our preproduction," he said. "We've got a bunch of scripts; we've got a bunch of stories; it's going to be good." Episodes will focus on Jake (Samberg) and Amy's (Fumero) life as newlyweds, and Goor said there will also be an episode about Hitchcock and Scully. "We might see them in their past at some point," he teased.
Fox axed the fan-favorite comedy in May, sparking a loud fan outcry. But just one day later, NBC picked up the Universal TV series. While the studio fielded calls from Hulu, Netflix and TBS, the series ultimately went to NBC for an abbreviated 13-episode season. SVOD rights remain at Hulu.
“Ever since we sold this show to Fox I’ve regretted letting it get away, and it’s high time it came back to its rightful home,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement announcing the late-breaking news. “Mike Schur, Dan Goor and Andy Samberg grew up on NBC and we’re all thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest and best-cast comedies in a long time will take its place in our comedy lineup. I speak for everyone at NBC, here’s to the Nine-Nine!”
Goor told The Hollywood Reporter that even his cast was surprised at the rescue by NBC, which happened 30 hours after the cancellation call.
"Most of the cast had no idea and didn't know that there were things being talked about. They felt the lows and the highs even more because they didn't know there was a chance. The world's reaction [to the news] was amazing," he said. "It was obviously hard to hear that the show was being canceled by Fox and then the outpouring of support was so heartening. Somebody said it's like in Tom Sawyer when he goes to his own funeral. You don't usually get to experience that and it was an amazing experience."
Brooklyn Nine-Nine premieres midseason on NBC.