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Network to the Rescue

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"Because it's probably the greatest picture ever made."
Alan Ladd, Jr., 20th Century Fox's Head of Production during the making of Star Wars: A New Hope, when asked why it was so expensive to make

Studios turn down good scripts, networks cancel, screw over, or fail to pick up good shows, and publishers refuse to publish great books all the time. Usually, the suits a) never liked it, b) liked it but it was too expensive to produce, c) liked it but didn't think it would get a large enough audience, or d) they just didn't get it.

Sometimes, a movie, show, book, or video game is an iffy bet, at best. But sometimes a Studio/Network/Publisher (or more accurately a visionary Executive at said organization) realizes that this work is simply brilliant and will make sure the product has all the resources to fund it, promote it, and make sure it gets made. This loyalty stands even when the movie has passed its budget twice, or the series is number 10,371 in the ratings. When the product is a hit, such boldness and support can result in Moments of Awesome for those Executives who defied the predictions of failure from their colleagues and instead stuck by the creators of the work.

The quote above comes from Alan Ladd, Jr., the 20th Century Fox executive whose unwavering faith in Star Wars helped that movie get made when even its own cast and crew had doubts about it. Fox demonstrated similar patience when Titanic (1997) ran way over budget, failed to meet schedule deadlines, and encountered myriad problems in filming.

Sometimes, a network or studio will destroy a good product and learn from its mistakes. Fox built up a reputation for never sticking with its shows due to Profit, Arrested Development and Firefly. (Though Arrested Development was given second and third seasons and a cushy timeslot, making it a case of this trope as well.) However, the network turned around and poured tons of money into promoting and producing Bones, 24 and House, M.D. (although the last-named came from Universal), shows that were big gambles and have since become massive hits. Even more dramatic, Fox even went back and uncanceled a show they had previously screwed, twice — Family Guy, one of their biggest hits, with sister show American Dad! completing its eighth season in 2013 and direct spinoff The Cleveland Show making it to four (before it got the axe). They even gave a second season to Dollhouse, a move which surprised many, though the show was canceled before the second season finished its run (which many feel was done just to avoid what happened last time).

Where TV is concerned, sometimes Network to the Rescue can result in, or be the result of, an un-canceling, as was the case with JAG's move from NBC after its first season (1995-96) to CBS, where it stayed on the air for nine more seasons and spun off a popular show which in its tenth season (2013) became the highest-rated prime-time drama. Not to mention that the spin-off has two successful spin-offs of its own.

Network to the Rescue is not quite the same as a network grudgingly, or reluctantly, taking back a show because they just don't want to upset viewers, as happened with Star Trek: The Original Series (or Jericho (2006)). Both shows came back, but were dumped shortly after for good. No, a production entity has to willingly believe in and be fully committed to the product's success and be willing to put up with quite a few bumps in the road to success, as was the case with Paramount's commitment to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Paramount gave the series the kind of budget that only theatrical action movies had back then, and stuck with it even though the first few seasons were blah.

This trope doesn't apply to sure bets or things that are relatively low-risk. For instance, whereas Fox performed a Studio to the Rescue for the first Star Wars, by the time they decided to make the prequels it was a foregone conclusion that they would make tons of money.

Compare with Adored by the Network and Channel Hop. Contrast with Screwed by the Network; some examples of Network to the Rescue are instances of networks cleaning up their own messes. Note which article has the most examples (though this may not be a case of Accentuating the Negative as much as networks simply screwing over shows more often than saving them).

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Other Examples:

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  • The sock puppet suddenly disappeared along with the company in November 2000. Two years later, 1-800 Bar None got the rights to use him in their commercials.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Big O pretty much flopped in Japan, and for a long time it seemed like the season one cliffhanger would leave viewers hanging. Fortunately, the show was much more popular in America, and Cartoon Network paid a chunk of the cost to make the second season happen. This would later come back to bite the show when Cartoon Network began its Network Decay, and they ended up screwing up the airing of a couple episodes (including accidentally airing a repeat over the finale) and ended up canceling the show before a reportedly expected third season, despite it having paid off financially.
  • The dub of Digimon Frontier was aired either in the early morning or in the afternoon during its run (as a result of Disney buying out Fox Kids and moving Digimon to their UPN spinoff of One Saturday Morning), then rerun for a few years before the creation of Jetix finally gave it a more favorable timeslot.
  • Psyren was this in manga form; though it didn't test very well in Japan, Shonen Jump knew it would do well in America, and thus allowed the Mangaka to finish the story, some one-hundred and seventy chapters later.
  • How about Company To The Rescue? After Bandai Entertainment decided to no longer be involved in the home video department, it seemed that their most notable show in their lineup, K-On!, was likely not getting its second season released. Enter Sentai Filmworks licensing the second season only a month later, and releasing it in two 13-episode sets instead of separate volumes, and including the same English dub cast, to boot.
  • Happens In-Universe in Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!, where the title character explains in one episode that sometimes alien publishing companies will rescue anime and manga titles that got cancelled on Earth but were popular in space. The specific example cited is Shonen Blood, which was a real manga anthology that folded after six issues; no word on its being rescued by aliens, however.
  • When it comes to anime, Nicktoons was on a roll! Examples include...
    • When Dragon Ball Z Kai was licensed by Funimation fans had hoped that Cartoon Network would air the show and were quite shocked when they decided to pass on it. Then Nicktoons announced that they would air it. Not only did Kai proved to be a HUGE success for them, it also made Viacom consider airing anime on their other channels. And when Nicktoons was done with the show? Toonami on [adult swim] began airing it uncut.
    • After two episodes of Digimon Fusion, Nickelodeon re-aired the first episode and outright pulled the show from its schedule. The show ended up airing on Nicktoons instead, where it made it through the second season.
    • After Vortexx folded, Nicktoons picked up newer anime installments from the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, beginning with Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL.
  • The entire anime industry owes a lot to an unsung hero in the form of Television Station Affiliate WNEW (Now known as WNYW). Back when Fred Ladd made the very first English dubbed anime release (Astro Boy), they gave it a chance on Syndication and it was quite successful for them.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn was originally supposed to come out in 2009, but Sunrise officials said the authors needed to polish the episodes a bit more, and changed the schedule. The longer timeframe given for making said episodes by and large paid off.
  • After languishing at or near the bottom of the survey in Weekly Shonen Jump for a while, Isobe Isobee Monogatari was then given a permanent spot at the back of the magazine, effectively giving it immunity from cancellation.
  • While Viceland was touted as the network that would bring millennials back to television, the channel's owners didn't count on its target audience being more interested in repeats of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia than the original slate of documentary, lifestyle, and activist-oriented programming. However, the U.K version did manage to accomplish this trope when brought back mature, adult-oriented anime to British television with the help of Anime Limited in 2017. note  Viceland UK started with the well-rounded lineup of Cowboy Bebop, Tokyo Ghoul, Samurai Champloo, Durarara!!, and Eureka Seven, but they soon got to do an English dub premiere with Seraph of the End in February 2018.
  • Interspecies Reviewers: Funimation simulcast the first three episodes and dubbed the first one, but dropped the show shortly after. In September 2020, however, Right Stuf rescued the license in North America and announced a Blu-ray for it.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman was rejected by every comic strip syndicate and comic book publisher twice when editor Sheldon Meyer convinced the publishers of DC Comics to take a chance on it. Result: the Man of Steel is now one of DC's historical icons, and arguably the best known hero in all of fiction.
  • Krazy Kat is weird and surreal, and was incredibly unpopular among the general public in its time. However, William Randolph Hearst (yeah, that one) loved it and ran it in all his newspapers, eventually giving it a full-page colour spread in the Arts & Drama section. It sometimes ran in his papers only because of his direct order. When Herriman died, Hearst canceled the comic, even though it was common practice to hire a new cartoonist after the death of the author— Hearst didn't want anyone messing with Krazy.
  • The Warlord (DC): Carmine Infantino (editor in chief of DC at the time) cancelled it after the third issue, after promising Grell a one-year run. When Jeanette Kahn, a fan of the series, took over as publisher and found out it was cancelled, she reportedly told her editors "Well, I just cancelled Carmine. Put it back on the schedule." The book was later made monthly, and at one time was the top selling title for DC.

    Films — Animation 
  • Former Fox executive Bill Mechanic took a chance on Henry Selick (who had become a pariah in Hollywood after both James and the Giant Peach and Monkeybone flopped) and a small animated feature based on a book. The result was Coraline, which became the highest-grossing stop-motion animated feature of all time.
  • The Iron Giant was saved and primarily backed by Pete Townshend Of The Who. Why? He liked the story. He loved the original book, The Iron Man, and even made a record out of it. Also, after Warner Bros.' poor marketing of the film caused the film to flop at the box office, they made up for it by giving the film a big boost when it was released on video, where it became a big seller. Later, Ted Turner happened to see it as an in-flight movie and, declaring it one of the greatest films of all time, helped give it a great deal of fresh publicity by airing it frequently on Cartoon Network, further cementing its cult status.
  • Nimona (2023), an Animated Adaptation of the webcomic of the same name, was initially in development at Blue Sky Studios and was close to being finished until Disney shut down Blue Sky Studios in 2021 as a cost cutting measure during the COVID-19 Pandemic. For a time, it seem like all hope was lost, cue Netflix and Annapurna Pictures coming in to revive the project over a year later, finally releasing it in 2023.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Many fans of The Lord of the Rings were convinced that no movie studio could do the books justice. However, New Line Cinema took a chance on Peter Jackson's unorthodox and expensive approach to making the movies and actually stunned everybody with three good movies. In fact, it was New Line who suggested that they make three movies rather than the two that Jackson was requesting.
  • Jaws was so stressful to make back in 1974, that most of the cast were ready to quit on director Steven Spielberg. However, legend has it has Richard Dreyfuss among others believed in him, as did producer Richard Zanuck. They were handsomely rewarded for their faith.
  • The other 'father' of The Blockbuster Age of Hollywood, Star Wars: A New Hope, only came out due to Alan Ladd's faith, as noted by the page quote. Had Fox dumped the film, it is doubtful they would have ever recovered from the abysmal era the studio had entered thanks to bombs like Cleopatra and Myra Breckinridge.
  • Warner Bros. stood and backed Richard Donner's direction of Superman even though it was the most expensive movie they'd made to that point, the star was a complete unknown, and the effects work was, in many ways, just as revolutionary as anything Star Wars did. As history shows, it was worth every penny.
  • With "happy" sci-fi like Star Wars and Superman nobody thought a dark, depressing, and outright horrific sci-fi could be made. Nevertheless 20th Century Fox took the chance on little-known British director Ridley Scott and a movie simply called Alien.
  • Paula Parisi wrote a book called Titanic: And the Making of James Cameron. You get an idea of how close that movie came to not even being made. But Fox executive Bill Mechanic among others truly demonstrated balls of steel. This paid off, literally, as Titanic became the highest-grossing film of all time upon release, and remains at fourth when adjusted for inflation.
  • Peter Jackson had chosen Neill Blomkamp for a Halo movie, that once the budget reached $145 million, the studios canned it. Jackson then gave Blomkamp $30 million and virtual carte blanche to make a movie of his choosing using the props and items already built. The result was District 9.
  • It is a well-known fact that stage-plays aimed at Black audiences were considered amateur fluff at best. Tyler Perry wrote and directed plays centering on Black themes that achieved box-office success on-par with the more mainstream fare. Nevertheless, he had a hard time getting Hollywood studios to make movies based on them. Lionsgate Entertainment stepped in and started producing them, with low budgets, but giving Perry wide control over the projects. Each movie generated considerable profits but the kicker was when both Why Did I Get Married? and Madea Goes to Jail opened at the top of the box-office. Lionsgate and Perry came out huge winners.
  • Producer Joel Silver backed the making of The Matrix even though cyber-movies like Johnny Mnemonic and Strange Days had both failed miserably. Also, no one had even heard of the Wachowskis, nor did anyone think that Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, and Carrie Moss had any kind of "star power". Oh well, luckily for us, Joel Silver saw it differently...
  • A case where the Power of Friendship overlaps with this trope: When Robert Downey Jr. was constantly in and out of drug-related rehab, producers were unable to find insurance on him, and thus he wasn't cast in movies anymore. Mel Gibson, a personal friend of Downey since Air America, personally paid the insurance on him when he starred in his movie, The Singing Detective. Downey's performance in that movie ignited the huge comeback that climaxed with A Scanner Darkly, Iron Man, and his surprise Oscar nomination for Tropic Thunder.
    • Mickey Rourke has stated jokingly that his resurgence around the same time was "freeloading on my friends", with Downey himself bringing him to be the villain of Iron Man 2.
  • Even though the 2009 reboot of Star Trek was a success, remember that at the time Paramount went ahead with it, the Trek franchise was in a rut; before the new movie was announced, the last showings were Star Trek: Nemesis, which flopped badly at the box-office, and Star Trek: Enterprise, that had been cancelled due to poor ratings.
    • Similarly Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was living in the shadow of the flop of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and the new restricted budget literally made the film impossible to make until a new head came in at Paramount, who knew Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer personally and agreed to provide as much money as it would take so that the film could be made.
    • Paramount has a considerable track record as a Studio To The Rescue. Consider the case of Forrest Gump. Or, more famously, another of its Best Picture-winning blockbusters, The Godfather. Back in 1970, gangster movies were action flicks like the James Cagney version of The Public Enemy, not slow character dramas with lots of talking. And you certainly didn't make one with a completely unknown (and eccentric) director, a washed-up star, and a ton of people no one even heard of. Paramount did it; and the rest is history.
      • Not as much network to the rescue as a producer to the rescue. Paramount had been bought out by Gulf+Western and they were considering to actually close down the studio. Robert Evans fought a lot to get Godfather made, but boy did it pay off.
  • After Firefly was canceled by Fox, Universal Pictures swooped in to fund a movie sequel to the series, and Serenity was born.
  • The Santa Clause was originally going to released under the Hollywood Pictures label, but Disney CEO Michael Eisner loved it and decided to release it under the main Walt Disney Pictures label to give it more exposure.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) almost got the can (again!) when Sony lost its main financing partner due to a slew of box office stinkers that cost the firm more money than they made. Since this meant Sony would have to foot the tab on the project, they placed the movie into turnaround, stopping work on the project. Co-producer Neal Moritz, who was getting tired of Sony's Executive Meddling (not to mention the fact that his most recent production at Sony, Passengers (2016), disappointed at the box office), ended his first-look deal with them in protest. Newly-minted Paramount Pictures CEO Jim Gianopulos got word of this and, while negotiating with Moritz, saw early test footage of Sonic before Sony pulled the plug. Gianopulos liked the footage so much that, in addition to signing Moritz to a new first-look contract with them, Paramount took the film rights away from Sony, saving the project from cancellation.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu didn't really have much confidence from Universal due to the reputation of video game movies in general, but agreed to distribute it as part of its deal with Legendary Pictures, who was producing the film. After filming wrapped, tensions between Universal and Legendary boiled over thanks to a long line of box office failures, and Universal terminated its production deal with Legendary, leaving Pokémon: Detective Pikachu without a distributor. Warner Bros., who know the Pokémon franchise and Legendary well, saw an opportunity to reclaim what they had lost to Legendary several years prior by agreeing to distribute the film, acquiring a stake in the film's copyright as well. The result ended up being well-received; becoming the most successful film in the franchise domestically and surpassing Warcraft as the highest-grossing live-action video game movie worldwide, kicking off a new franchise for WB; a windfall that Universal would miss out on.
  • During the Fall of the Studio System in 1957, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer president Joseph Vogel, inspired by the success of Paramount's The Ten Commandments (1956), announced that the studio would produce the 1959 adaptation of Ben-Hur (1959) in a desperate gamble to save it. It ultimately worked in Vogel's favor.
  • Zack Snyder's Justice League became a reality thanks to Warner Bros.' parent company AT&T and HBO Max executives seeing the fan interest in the unreleased material. The theatrical version was a heavily meddled affair and WB and DC Films remained completely silent about anything related to the film since November 2017, including the unused material filmed by Zack Snyder.

  • Bloomsbury, a British publisher, took a chance on the first Harry Potter novel after eight other publishers turned it down. And even they would have turned it down if it weren't for the fact that one of the editors took the manuscript home and his daughter read it and asked for more. The publishers were all focusing on critically analyzing it from their perspective rather than thinking what the kids would want.
  • Dr. Seuss can top that: his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was rejected by almost 30 publishers before Vanguard Press published it.
  • Dune was rejected by science fiction publishers and was finally picked up by Chilton. Yes, the same Chilton known for publishing do-it-yourself auto repair manuals.
  • Ex-pimp Iceberg Slim tried to sell his autobiography, Pimp: The Story of My Life, to major publishers back in the 60s, and had no success in doing so until pornographic novel publisher Holloway House decided to take a chance with it. It became insanely popular with the black community and Slim went on to create several more fiction-based titles based around the pimp experience.
  • Tom Clancy's first book, The Hunt for Red October, was roundly rejected by just about every fiction publisher. Clancy took a long shot and submitted it to the Naval Institute Press. He had published nonfiction articles through the NI and thought the subject matter would appeal to them. The NIP took its own long shot, publishing the book as their first and only novel — which remains by a long shot their most popular publication ever.
  • When trying to publish The Help, author Kathryn Stockett was rejected 60 times until literary agent Susan Ramer agreed to represent her. Not only did it spend over 100 weeks on the bestseller list, but it was also made into a highly successful movie.
  • Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 was rejected by countless publishers but ended up being saved by, of all people, Hugh Hefner, who paid his last $450 to have the novel serialized in issues 2-4 of Playboy. The two men remained friends until Bradbury died in 2012.

  • George Martin, A&R man of the Parlophone Records division of EMI, signed The Beatles after all the other British record companies had rejected them. That's right, all the other record companies, including EMI's other labels. It paid off. This happened repeated times for them. People were shocked when they decided to stop doing live shows and instead just do studio albums. People were even wary of Sgt. Pepper, but Martin gave their full support and it did pay off.
  • Kanye West got turned down by label after label who didn't believe his brand of hip-hop would sell, with one executive allegedly teling him "No one's gonna wanna buy a CD from a rapper who looks like Carlton" and everyone else just told him to stick to producing. After Damon Dash and Roc-A-Fella chose to give him a chance, this resulted in him becoming one of the biggest hip-hop artists of all time.
  • Michael Jackson's first concert in Malaysia was almost not to be. Due to a bunch of religious zealots who were offended by his "crotch-grab" move, the show almost got canceled as the ministry of the state he would be performing in revoked his performance permits amidst the complaints and the original sponsor pulled out. A new sponsor quickly stepped in just as things looked bleak, and he got a new venue at a different state. The concert was a success.
  • On a few occasions in Country Music, a major label has picked up an independently-distributed song after it started making waves, and helped the song rise to prominence with the resources an indie couldn't provide on its own:
    • This first happened when Curb Records picked up Perfect Stranger's "You Have the Right to Remain Silent" in 1995 several weeks into its chart run.
    • BNA Records picked up Blaine Larsen after the single "In My High School" made some buzz. It was included on an independent album, which BNA re-released with some new material, including his only big hit, "How Do You Get That Lonely".
    • Eli Young Band's "When It Rains" spent 30 weeks just under the top 40 before Universal Nashville acquired the single and the band.
    • Zac Brown Band released "Chicken Fried" independently, with Atlantic Records picking them up for promotion partway through.
    • Gloriana was picked up by Warner/Reprise from the independent Emblem Music Group several weeks into the chart run of "Wild at Heart".
    • Chase Rice received distribution rights from Columbia Records partway into the run of his independently-released "Ready Set Roll".
    • Old Dominion was picked up by RCA Records after "Break Up with Him" started taking off, to the point that their original independent label isn't even credited on the album.
    • After losing his contract with Arista Nashville, Scotty McCreery released his 2017 single "Five More Minutes" independently. The song started gaining attention at radio, so Sony-owned Triple Tigers stepped in to promote it.
  • In a few other cases in country music, another label has salvaged a project when the previous label closed:
    • Little Big Town was on Equity Music (owned by Clint Black), but the label closed right after their second Equity album, A Place to Land, came out. Capitol Nashville picked up the band and re-released the album with some new songs. The album itself failed, but their later work with Capitol has largely been more successful.
    • Curb also tried to do the same thing with Andy Gibson's "Wanna Make You Love Me" after R&J Records (formerly known as Stroudivarious) closed its doors, but instead, the single just ended up stalling at #27 for several weeks before faling off.
    • Curb tried it again when Love and Theft's "Whiskey on My Breath" was making some waves as an independent release, but they were also unable to get it any higher than it had gone originally.
    • Similarly, Blake Shelton was the last artist to release a single for Giant Records — specifically, his debut single "Austin". The label closed in 2001 while the song was climbing, so parent company Warner (Bros.) Records stepped in and continued promoting the single, getting it all the way to a five-week run at #1.
    • Warner struck again in 2008 when Raybaw Records, a division owned by the songwriting clique MuzikMafia (Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, James Otto, Shannon Lawson, etc.), closed in March. Warner distributed all of Raybaw's material, so they picked up Otto's then-current single "Just Got Started Lovin' You", pushed the song all the way to #1 — in fact, it was the biggest hit of the year — and releasing his album. However, as for his other Warner Bros. singles…
    • A few months prior to Blake Shelton's case above, Virgin Records closed its Nashville division right after Chris Cagle hit Top 10 with "Laredo", the second single from his debut album. Most of the Virgin roster, including Cagle, was moved to Capitol Records, who re-issued the album with some new tracks. One of said tracks, "I Breathe In, I Breathe Out", became his only #1 hit in early 2002. However, Capitol did nothing at all with Clay Davidson, who was three singles into his debut album when Virgin closed, and was quickly shoved aside.
    • Mark Wills was also a victim of Equity's closure, at which point he was three singles into a yet-unreleased album: "Hank" (which was quickly withdrawn due to objections over the lyrics), "Take It All Out on Me", and "Days of Thunder". The latter two made it to the album Familiar Stranger, which was finally released in 2010 via Tenacity Records.
    • BNA Records closed while Casey James' "Crying on a Suitcase" was on the charts, so he was seamlessly moved to sister label Columbia Records in the middle of the song's chart run.
  • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1999 album Bang Bang Bang was originally going to be released on Rising Tide Records in 1998. Rising Tide also promoted the title track as the lead single, but that label closed before the album could get out. It was then moved over to Decca Records, which also closed (temporarily) before they could release the album. DreamWorks Records finally released it in 1999, and re-released the title track.
  • Inversion: Bigger Picture Music Group closed while Craig Campbell's "Keep Them Kisses Comin'" was in the high teens on the country music charts, so Craig spent the next several weeks calling up stations by himself to request that they keep playing the song, in order to help get it into the Top 10 — which it did. He would later find a new home on Red Bow Records.
  • Toby Keith had this happen twice:
    • Early in his career he moved from Mercury Records to Polydor Records, which closed one single into his album Blue Moon. He was then moved to A&M Records, which pushed one more single off the album before closing as well. So Mercury finally stepped in and took back over.
    • Between 1999 and 2005, he was signed to DreamWorks Records. When they closed partway into the chart run of "Big Blue Note", he used his then-newly founded label Show Dog to push the song into the Top 5, and has continued to record on Show Dog (now Show Dog-Universal) ever since.
  • After the Disney-owned Hollywood Records released and then withdrew Insane Clown Posse's The Great Milenko due to pressure from the Southern Baptists Convention, Island Records agreed to reissue the album intact.
  • Sharptone Records (a subdivision of Nuclear Blast that focuses on metalcore and post-hardcore) has made quite a name for themselves saving artists hosed by their previous labels.
    • Crystal Lake more than likely would have been stuck in Japan if it wasn't for Sharptone Records. Crystal Lake signed to Artery in 2011, but Artery did fuck all with them. Thankfully a combination of strong festival appearances in Europe and their Signature Song Apollo going viral on Website/Youtube put Crystal Lake on Sharptone Record's radar and they became one of their flagship bands.
    • We Came As Romans was dealing with fallout of their Self-Titled Album and Equal Vision wanted more creative control on their next album. We Came As Romans quickly jumped ship to Sharptone and never looked back.
    • Emmure was one of the artists on Victory Records that wasn't screwed over by them. However, by the mid-2010's Victory was bleeding money for various reasons. Sharptone came in and put out Emmure's seventh album Look at Yourself in 2017.

  • Big Bang Bar was a Physical Pinball Table under development at Capcom Pinball when the company closed its pinball division, leaving only fourteen prototypes in existence. Then in 2004, Gene Cunningham of Illinois Pinball Inc. announced that he was buying the rights from Capcom to produce a "remake", eventually releasing 191 more machines in 2006.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • WCW's Eric Bischoff rejected "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's idea for a new gimmick of him being a hardass, take-no-prisoners redneck Anti-Hero, telling him, "Yeah, Steve, we could have you run around in your plain black tights and your plain black boots, but that just wouldn't be marketable." Then Bischoff canned Austin after having hired Hulk Hogan and a veritable entourage of his buddies, feeling that Austin would never go anywhere. ECW head Paul Heyman, on the other hand, was convinced that Austin would be a huge star, and so called him up and said, "You know, I have a TV show. Wanna come on it and bitch about Bischoff?" Which he did, and WWF's Vince McMahon happened to see his work there, saw the same potential Heyman saw, and immediately brought him innote . The rest is a long history of alcohol-fueled ass-whoopin', and that's the bottom line, 'cuz Stone Cold said so!
    • Similarly, "Mean" Mark Calaway was dropped by WCW. While filming Suburban Commando in April-August 1990, Hulk Hogan told Vince McMahon about Calaway, who had a bit role in the film. Vince gave him a call and said he had an idea for a "character". They had a meeting, but nothing came from it. Later on, Calaway answered the phone and Vince apparently said "Am I speaking to The Undertaker?" Calaway said "Yes!", and the rest is history.
  • A much better example of this trope is none other than Ted Turner himself. An ardent fan of professional wrestling (often saying that "wrestling built the Superstation"), he bought the company that would later be known as World Championship Wrestling for the sole purpose of preventing Vince McMahon from attaining a complete monopoly on televised wrestling. It wasn't an investment or a way to make money: he kept WCW around because of his love for the business. It was often said that no matter what hardships WCW went through, it would never close down as long as it had the weight, power (and money) of Ted Turner behind it... a statement that was sadly proved all too true after Time Warner (which bought out Turner in 1996) merged with AOL, removing Ted from any influence. It didn't take long for WCW- by this time making massive losses- to be shut down, ironically by being absorbed into the WWF (which later became WWE).
  • Impact Wrestling was saved by its current parent company, Anthem, twice in succession. Buying it out from Dixie Carter in the first place, and then buying out the AXS TV channel, giving Impact a home on perhaps the biggest TV channel they've had since they left Destination America.

  • After its acquisition by Comcast, NBC has pulled this off several times with sports, particularly by acquiring and doubling-down on sports properties with loyal followings that had been neglected by other networks.
    • The National Hockey League has been with NBC for over-the-air coverage since 2006, and became a sister to its cable partner Versus, now NBCSN, in 2011 following Comcast's acquisition of NBC. ESPN and ABC's previous deal was an outright disaster; the games received little promotion, and Disney's only motivation may have been to keep the full package of broadcast and cable rights out of Fox's hands. Once ESPN acquired the NBA's main television package, hockey was shunned to the fullest extent their contract would allow. Despite some of the other issues that have afflicted NBC's coverage, the network and NBCSN still treat the NHL as being among their flagship properties, having boosted its prominence with actual promotion, as well as spectacles such as the Winter Classic, multi-network playoff coverage, and cross-promotion with other major events as part of an overarching "Championship Season" marketing campaignnote .
    • English Premier League has also flourished in the U.S. under NBC and NBCSN. With its goal of not trying to "Americanize" its coverage (accomplished primarily by hiring British on-air talent, and helping to popularize the "Men in Blazers" duo of Roger Bennett and Michael Davies) to provide more authentic insights and not alienate actual soccer fans, offering every match through its platforms, along with increased U.S. interest in the sport in general, overall interest in the league has increased since NBC first acquired the contract (replacing a previous split between ESPN and Fox Sports).
  • In 2016, Fox took over another sports property that was being swept under the rug by ESPN — NHRA drag racing. Unlike ESPN (which treated NHRA events as an afterthought and constantly shuffled it around its schedule to the chagrin of fans) Fox Sports 1 and 2 have aired more consistent and thorough coverage, with broadcasts of qualifier rounds, live finals coverage from most events, and more importantly, better scheduling and promotion. Plus, the Fox network has also been airing some of the more prestigious events. It's no wonder that some events were now able to attract just over 1 million viewers.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons, despite being the seminal tabletop game, ran into deep trouble during its 2nd Edition under TSR's leadership. When TSR went under, the makers of Magic: The Gathering, Wizards of the Coast, decided to rescue D&D by buying it out. Why? Not only would it give Wizards something to fall back on if Magic ever stopped selling, but Peter Adkison was a big fan of D&D, and wanted to ensure its survival. More of the story can be found here.
  • Games Workshop has been producing Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 for thirty years at this point, but aside from a relatively brief run with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and a few "unofficial supplements" that would allow for 40k runs, little to nothing was done for decades. Then, to great acclaim, GW announced the opening of Black Industries, an imprint of their Black Library branch focused entirely on creating tabletop RPGs. The second edition of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay system was finally released, and shortly afterwards they released Dark Heresy, the first official 40k RPG. Then... Black Industries was unceremoniously closed as GW decided to focus on miniatures. Within months, however, GW announced a new partnership with Fantasy Flight Games, who have increased the library for the 40K RPGs to 5 main lines with numerous supplements each, as well as produced almost two dozen supplements for Fantasy.

    Video Games 
  • Atari rescued Ghostbusters: The Video Game after Activision decided not to publish it.
  • Brütal Legend was first to be published by Vivendi, but then they merged with Sierra, so Double Fine went to Activision, who dropped it too, so then it was picked up by Electronic Arts. Disappointed by the game's sales, EA killed the sequel, which nearly drove Double Fine to bankruptcy.
    • On the topic of Double Fine, Psychonauts was picked up by Majesco after being dropped by Microsoft.
  • Was anyone expecting Tatsunoko vs. Capcom to be published internationally, as most people don't know what a Tatsunoko is? Capcom USA went the extra mile and dealt with the crazy licensing issues involved in getting characters from Tatsunoko Production.
  • Red Dead Revolver was originally being developed by Capcom but was dropped. Rockstar Games bought the game in 2002 and completed it while giving it a Spaghetti Western feel. It did well enough to warrant the sequel, Red Dead Redemption.
  • Sakura Wars:
    • Oji Hiroi's proposal for the original game was rejected by multiple game companies. Eventually, in 1994, Sega's then-vice-president Shoichiro Irimajiri contacted Hiroi to create a game for potential mascot character for the Sega Saturn. When Hiroi presented his proposal to Irimajiri at Saipan, the latter became enthusiastic and once the two returned to Japan, the game's development began.
    • The series has long been labeled a holy grail of localization, with plenty of hardcore fans in the West who knew there was little reason anyone would give the games a chance. Enter NIS America, who in April 2010 decided to give the US the fifth game in the series. Which was originally released in 2005 on the PlayStation 2, a system that had been long since succeeded by the PlayStation 3. And they even went through the trouble of having it ported to the Wii.
    • Sega began full development of the 2019 game due to overwhelming fan demand. It eventually got to the point where Sega decided to do the localization themselves.
  • Atlus, and NIS America are really the patron saints of this, at least in the RPG world. So many great, niche games which you would never expect to come to the States do so because of these companies.
  • XSEED Games has a good reputation because of this.
    • Their announcement of localizing the Ys games made them heroes in the eyes of the Ys fandom (and the fact that they did a great job with the localization definitely doesn't hurt).
    • While Nintendo of America was wiling to bring over Xenoblade Chronicles 1 if it was successful in Europe (and it was, so they did), they seemed less enthused by the other two JRPGs that the Operation Rainfall fan campaign wanted: The Last Story and Pandora's Tower. XSEED decided to get the North American publishing rights to The Last Story for a 2012 release after seeing the success of Xenoblade Chronicles, and by the end of the year, it had become their best-selling game to-date, which encouraged them to publish Pandora's Tower in early 2013 as well.
  • Tell the truth: were you still betting on Duke Nukem Forever ever coming out? Randy Pitchford and Gearbox Software really were, and after 14 years of Development Hell and the closure of 3D Realms, they delivered the goods by rescuing the game and making it to ship. And they gave the game no big announcement prior. They just showed up at PAX with a playable demo to show that yes, it was real.
  • Nintendo has a history with this in general, being the rescuers and the rescuée at some point or another:
    • They've repeatedly secured international releases for Dragon Quest titles: Even as far back as the series' beginning, Nintendo of America localized Dragon Quest I in North America, with the game performing well enough that Enix would publish the next several games in the series themselves. Two decades later, Nintendo would step in once again to serve as the international publishers for Dragon Quest IX, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, and a remake of Dragon Quest VI; and then six years later they did so again with remakes of Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII. And beyond just localizing, they helped fund the Switch port of Dragon Quest XI, including the addition of new features to make it an Updated Re-release.
    • Mega Man 6 was published in North America thanks to a Nintendo Power contest. Capcom had decided not to export the game, as the NES was nearing the end of its life cycle; but since Nintendo of America had run a contest to design Robot Masters for the game, with two winning entries actually being used, Nintendo deemed it necessary to publish it themselves. It didn't make it to Europe, however — not until the 3DS Virtual Console release.
    • Last Window, the sequel to Hotel Dusk: Room 215 was a financial failure and caused its developer Cing to go bankrupt soon after. Despite this, Nintendo of Europe still translated Last Window for its markets, despite Hotel Dusk not selling as well there. It would be a case of No Export for You for North America, however, despite the game selling better in that region than it did in Europe.
    • Nintendo revived and published Bayonetta 2. Due to the not-so-high sales of the original game, Sega had no interest in the project, with other publishers also passing on the idea before Nintendo decided to step in, wanting an M-rated game to help push their new Wii U console. Nintendo would go on to fund the development of Bayonetta 3 as well.
    • Devil's Third, a M-rated shooter/hack-n-slash hybrid action game from Tomonobu Itagaki (of Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden fame). The title was originally planned as an Xbox 360 exclusive published by Microsoft, but the partnership fell through and the title shifted to being a multiplatform title intended to be published by THQ. When THQ went under in 2012 and was forced to liquidate its assets, ownership of the IP transferred back to Itagaki's studio and work continued on, with Valhalla finding a new Korean publisher for the title... only for that publisher to also shut down due to bankruptcy. At this point, Valhalla approached Nintendo, who agreed to publish the game in order to strengthen the struggling Wii U's online offerings.
  • A third installment of the True Crime series from Activision was being produced by United Front Games. The first sandbox GTA-style game to be set in Hong Kong, the game's footage looked very promising and there was quite some anticipation for it, until Activision made the extraordinarily wise decision to cancel the game two months before its release on the reason that "it wasn't good enough". The game was screwed and thrown into the same heap as Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, which were also canceled at the same time. The game seemed doomed until Square Enix took the game under its wing, renaming it Sleeping Dogs since they couldn't buy the rights to the game's original franchise but letting the game remain as it was; even giving the developers extra months to refine the gameplay. They were rewarded hansomely, as the game sold over 180,000 copies within the first few weeks of it's release.
  • Final Fantasy VII. When it was released, Square didn't even have a North American distributor (their earlier releases had been done on a contract basis). Sony picked up the distribution costs, as well as spending $100 million to promote the game in the US.
  • To make a long story short (view the Video Games page of Screwed by the Network for the full story), Jet Set Radio Future got very little advertising in the states: Some beta footage in an Xbox commercial, and a commercial for the game itself that didn't get much airtime. Once Sega realized how poorly the game was selling, they packaged JSRF with Sega GT 2002 on one disc and sold it with Xbox units during the Holiday season of 2002, as a way to boost sales. While it still didn't sell exceptionally well, it really did help increase sales, and used copies of the JSRF/Sega GT bundle sell much cheaper than JSRF on its own.
  • After the 3D Sam & Max: Freelance Police title was cancelled by LucasArts in 2004, LucasArts fired a great majority of their "creative division", and most of them went on to form Telltale Games. Telltale picked up the cancelled 3D game and completely remade it into the episodic Sam & Max: Season 1 (or Sam & Max Save the World! as the console versions are called), with excellent results.
  • Dungeon Fighter Online was horribly butchered by Nexon NA. Hackers and glitches ran rampant, extended and emergency maintenances that took forever and fixed nothing were common occurrences, there was little to no advertising and the game went a very long period with absolutely no updates, eventually leading to Nexon NA shutting down the game, apparently for not making as much money as their other games. Almost a year latter, Neople, the game's developer, decided to produce the game themselves and ran an alpha test without Nexon NA's involvement, with an open beta running as of late March 2015.
  • Funko Pop! Blitz originally started development with NBCUniversal’s video game branch, which was shut down during the game's development. N3TWORK, in collaboration with Tic Toc Games, picked up the game after the closure and finished it.
  • Hitman (2016)'s first season was widely beloved by fans and critics alike, but severely underperformed financially (the biggest cited reason being because of the game's episodic format alienating potential consumers), causing developer IO Interactive to be dropped by Square Enix and — without the publisher's vast resources — were left in massive financial difficulty. While IOI were able to retain the IP rights to Hitman and were already producing the second season, they were strapped for cash and months from bankruptcy before arranging a chance deal with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, who allowed them to complete the rest of the game for free in exchange for distribution rights and a revenue cut, a deal which IOI director Hakan Abrak stated saved the entire company. The gamble fully paid off — after releasing the second season (alongside its previous one) as the standalone Hitman 2, IOI received vastly improved returns, allowing them to develop and release their third season, Hitman 3, as a fully independent company.
  • The future of The Walking Dead (Telltale) was left uncertain after Telltale Games shuttered in 2018, in the middle of The Final Season, which would have left the game doomed to be Left Hanging. Thankfully, some former Telltale staff members would get in touch with the creator of the original comic, Robert Kirkman, and his company Skybound, who ended up being the ones to publish the last two episodes.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Though its quality is disputable, [adult swim] at one point started airing a promo in which they say Squidbillies has been getting low ratings... and how clearly the reason was that the viewers were morons and hadn't yet given this wonderful show a chance. That's why now they're airing it every single night instead of once a week, to get us to watch it and see how great it is.
    • Same with The Oblongs.
    • Somewhat inverted with Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. Adult Swim promotes the hell out of it and gives it the red carpet treatment but the fanbase isn't biting and the show has low to middling ratings. It's not a Creator's Pet or The Scrappy even though it has developed a Hatedom because after the craptons of promotion the show does have fans.
    • Four years after Cartoon Network cancelled Toonami, [adult swim] brought it back for one night as an April Fool's joke. A month later, Adult Swim officially Un-Canceled it, replacing their own Action block. In the years since it has some of the top rated shows for their time slots, and even aired Space☆Dandy before Japan did. Saved By The Network indeed.
  • Cartoon Network saved Adventure Time when Nickelodeon decided to throw it away, despite the original short's popularity, and allowed the creators much more latitude in adding some mature content to the series.
  • Phineas and Ferb was originally pitched to Nickelodeon in 1992. It ended up airing its pilot episode on the Disney Channel in 2007.
  • FOX's treatment of Futurama was very... bad. It managed to get five seasons before being cancelled, but reruns on Adult Swim kept it alive. Then, Comedy Central bought the rights to the show, revived it, and then canceled it again two seasons later.
  • CBS felt Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! had run its course in 1976 and canceled it a month before the fall season. ABC programming head Michael Eisner wasted zero time in getting Scooby, who had a 13-year run (and Spin-Off Babies show) on the network.
  • The Critic was cancelled by both ABC and FOX. The latter was truly offensive because the series was getting strong ratings in a post-Simpsons slot. (It was theorized that new executives hated the show and wanted it gone, as well as FOX not owning it and having less interest in it succeeding.) UPN attempted to invoke this trope by wanting to pick it up for a third season, but FOX prevented that. Comedy Central eventually came to the rescue by securing rerun rights and rerunning it for years. While this didn't revive the show (outside of a brief webisode run), it did keep the series from fading into obscurity and made it a cult hit — earning it an eventual DVD release.
  • The Proud Family was originally presented to Nickelodeon but they rejected it. After 2 years it finally aired on Disney Channel and ended up being quite popular for them.
  • Even though it was only reruns, Garfield and Friends debuted on Cartoon Network around the same time that CBS cancelled the series. After Cartoon Network stopped airing Garfield, Nickelodeon picked the show up. And then after Nickelodeon stopped airing it, Fox Family picked it up. After this, the show aired on Toon Disney right after Disney's purchase of Fox Family.
    • The same thing occurred in 2006, too. After Toon Disney stopped airing it, Boomerang picked up Garfield... but used the DVD versions of the episodes.
  • The first season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was, believe it or not, hardly the poster child for Adored by the Network that it is now; the show aired on Fridays when most of its target demographic was at school, and was barely advertised, with the much more adored Transformers: Prime getting plenty of attention (and inexplicable logo bugs during the show counting down to the next airing of that series, which probably wasn't effective to the show's true audience of young girls). This all changed shortly after the first season finale, when the Hub's schedule changed... and the Ponies moved to a much better timeslot on Saturday morning, and only gathered more support and airtime from there, as well as a steady stream of advertising, becoming one of the network's flagship programs.
    • In the U.K. and the Nordic countries, the show was being horribly screwed over by their national feeds of Boomerang. However, the show has recently moved to Tiny Pop, a preschooler channel in the U.K., and also its parent channel Pop (both of which are now available on Freeview digital broadcast), and to the Nordic versions of Nickelodeon, which have taken advantage of the fanbase and given much more love.
    • In the Netherlands, the show originally aired on Nickelodeon, who screwed it over by airing it at 11:45 in the morning on weekdays, when most of its target audience was still in school. They, furthermore, even went so far as removing the show from their schedule during holidays in favor of other, more popular shows, making it near inaccessible for any child that wasn't a toddler. Then, after season 4, a new children's channel, RTL Telekids, bought the rights for the show and started airing it late in the morning during the weekends, greatly improving the show's accesibility. They, moreover, made the episodes accessible online, which boosted it's ratings even further. While the show still had some popularity before the channel hop (predominantly with audiences outside its target, such as house mothers / fathers and college students), its audience grew significantly after the hop and the show was much more popular afterwards.
  • American Dad! left FOX in 2014 to air new episodes on TBS.
  • Beware the Batman was barely advertised at all on DC Nation, eventually put on hiatus for no reason other than to make room for more Teen Titans Go! episodes, and then delayed. Almost a year later, the show was picked up by Toonami on [adult swim], who decided to show all 26 episodes at 3:00am weekdays, only to have it pulled from their hands when Cartoon Network decided to write the series off their taxes. Fortunately, Toonami made a last-minute decision and did a marathon of the final seven episodes right before it disappeared forever.
  • Rescue Heroes got renewed for a second season, but CBS canceled the series due to low ratings and their contract with studio Nelvana expiring in 2000. It would take another year for Kids' WB! to find potential in the series and reboot production.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man was nearly canceled in its first season by TheCW4Kids (who had just replaced Kids' WB!) due to it not being a 4Kids Entertainment program. However, Disney XD successfully managed to negotiate it out of their hands and moved it to that network for another season. Nonetheless, it still fell to cancellation in the end, but due to being Screwed by the Lawyers.
  • Care Bears & Cousins is essentially this trope after Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot was royally screwed up by Hasbro and The Hub. It took them three years to produce the show and four years to produce the toys, only for them to not produce a second season after giving the toys terrible distribution. Netflix came to the show's rescue, while Just Play Toys came to the toys.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil was originally going to be on Cartoon Network, but it was rejected, so then it was picked up to Nickelodeon, only to be rejected; thus Disney Channel picked it up instead, who later moved the series to Disney XD
  • The pilot for Twelve Forever was produced as part of Cartoon Network's shorts project. Two years after it was turned down despite gathering a certain fanbase and being considered one of the most interesting titles among the batch of shorts, Netflix picked it up, and debuted the series in 2019.
  • The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible was an idea that Joe Barbera, a lifelong Catholic, tried to sell to the networks for 16 years, but they wouldn't take it for obvious reasons. The series eventually produced in 1986 and released Direct to Video via a $2.5 million investment from H-B's owner, Taft Entertainment.
  • Rainbow Rangers, which was promoted as the next hit children's TV show, had its' premieres moved to the Nick Jr. channel so that the block could air Butterbean's Cafe instead, usually in poor timeslots during the day. When Butterbean wound up having low ratings, Rainbow Rangers took the prime timeslots that show had on the channel (two morning slots and an afternoon slot) in the fall of 2019, possibly to promote the merchandise that came out. There's no word yet of it airing on the Nick Jr. block proper.
  • In the early 90's, a cartoon based on the Gremlins franchise was going to be produced called Gizmo and the Gremlins, but was cancelled because Gremlins 2: The New Batch failed against the heavily-promoted Dick Tracy and the highly-anticipated Die Hard 2. HBO Max resumed production of the animated series nearly 30 years after it was announced, this time under the title Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai.
  • Tuca & Bertie ran for only one season on Netflix in 2019, but was picked up for a second season by [adult swim] to begin airing in 2021.
  • Ollie's Pack's pilot (then called Monster Pack) was made for Nickelodeon's animated shorts program in 2013 but was ultimately rejected. Years later, Nelvana greenlit the series under their production, and while not an original Nicktoon, it debuted on Nickelodeon in April 2020.
  • Polly Pocket finished its first season in Canada in late 2018 before premiering a year later in America on Universal Kids. It was thought to have been cancelled for a while due to not airing on TV anymore new episodes were revealed to come out on Netflix in 2020.
  • Pinky Malinky was developed by Cartoon Network's European division in 2009. Being a fairly new division of the network at the time Cartoon Network turned down the pilot (as well as a few others) to create The Amazing World of Gumball. In 2015 Nickelodeon greenlit Pinky Malinky for a 20-episode season.
  • King of the Hill was absent from American television for nearly two years, as the show was removed from free-to-air syndication in March 2019, and was pulled from Comedy Central (who grabbed the cable rights to the show from [adult swim] in July 2018) eight months later (there's even a rumor that the channel's parent company, ViacomCBS, bought the rights only so Adult Swim couldn't have them). However, once ViacomCBS's contract expired, the show's cable rights reverted to 20th Television, who was acquired by Disney shortly after the Comedy Central deal was finalized. As a result of this, FXX added King of the Hill to their schedule on September 20, 2021.
    • Even better, while Comedy Central tended to only air the series late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, FXX has been giving King of the Hill consistent timeslots in the afternoon.
    • And to add insult to injury, Adult Swim got King of the Hill back, gaining nighttime rights to the series in November of 2021, meaning if true, Comedy Central's efforts to poach the series away from them was All for Nothing.
  • The Ghost And Molly Mcgee (then called The Curse Of Piper Mcgee) was going to be a Nicktoon on Nickelodeon but they denied it. Fourteen years later, Disney Channel would greenlight the show with a new name.

Alternative Title(s): Studio To The Rescue, Saved By The Network