Peacock Exec Reveals Why Saved By the Bell and Punky Brewster Revivals Were Cancelled

Two of the early original series for NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming service, reboots of Saved By the Bell and Punky Brewster, were also among those that were early to be cancelled. The Punky Brewster revival ran for just one, ten-episode season before being cancelled in 2021 while Saved By the Bell fared just a bit better, ultimately getting a total of 20 episodes over two seasons before being officially cancelled in May 2022. Now, Susan Rovner, the chairman of entertainment content at NBCUniversal TV and streaming, is revealing why both of those shows were cancelled with Rovner saying that the two series were just not "the right thing to lean into initially" for the platform.

"I didn't greenlight either one of the shows," Rovner told The Hollywood Reporter. "I think that also falls under it's hard to get scale on a streaming service with comedies. They didn't bring in the scale that the people that greenlit them were hoping for. I think it was just too soon. The people before me were leaning more into comedy, and I can't really speak to as to why. Ultimately, it wasn't the right thing to lean into initially."

The Punky Brewster reboot saw Soleil Moon Frye reprising her role from the 1980s sitcom, this time as a single mother with three kids trying to get her life back on track. Saved By the Bell kicked off with California governor Zack Morris getting into hot water for closing too many underfunded schools only for him to propose they send the affected students to the most well-funded schools in the state — including Bayside High.

Rovner also commented on other recent cancellations by Peacock — including two projects from The Vampire Diaries alum Julie Plec, Vampire Academy, and an in-development adaptation of Aftershock Comics' Dead Day.

"I have a history with Julie and Kevin from my Warner days," Rovner explained. "Both One of Us Is Lying and Vampire Academy, the takeaway was that it was too soon to put those shows up on the platform. What we realized is we have to get the parents before we get the teens. And I'm hoping that once we get the parents with shows like Poker Face and shows like Traitors, that we will be able to do a show like Vampire Academy a few years from now. The timing wasn't right. We didn't have the skill yet to support bringing in a young adult audience."

"It was more of a creative decision," Rovner said of the Dead Day decision. "We ultimately didn't think that completely fit the platform. I'm hoping we can figure out another project that will work for the platform; I want to work with them forever."

What do you think about Peacock cancelling the Saved By the Bell and Punky Brewster reboots? Do you think they were simply introduced at the wrong time? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section!