Manifest will live on. After weeks of negotiations, Netflix has closed a deal for a super-sized fourth and final season of the missing plane drama, which will be available exclusively on the streamer worldwide. In a nod to Manifest‘s fans, whose passionate support helped resurrect the show following its cancellation by NBC, the announcement of the Season 4 pickup by Netflix was made on so-called “828 Day” (8/28) — when the series about the mystery of Flight 828 is celebrated annually — at 8:28 AM PT.
The final season of Manifest, created by Jeff Rake, will be comprised of 20 episodes. As is customary for series on Netflix, the 20-episode season will be split into multiple parts.
As Deadline previously reported, in anticipation of closing the agreement with Netflix, Manifest lead studio Warner Bros. TV earlier this month started negotiations with the cast to return in addition to reaching out to writers who had worked on the show and new ones about joining executive produced/showrunner Rake for Season 4.
I hear stars Josh Dallas and Melissa Roxburgh have closed deals for the final season. J.R. Ramirez also is believed to be set, while Parveen Kaur remains in negotiations, along with some or all of the remaining series regulars: Luna Blaise, Matt Long and Jack Messina. (Long is also a series regular on the NBC drama pilot Getaway with one-year that could allow him to also do Manifest subject to synching up dates but that is still very much up in the air.)
Warner Bros. TV is not commenting but I hear that the new deals for the cast, whose original contracts expired in June, include sizable pay increases. The Manifest actors all participated in the #SaveManifest campaign which helped keep the show at the top of the Netflix streaming rankings — and ultimately bring it back from the dead.
The pact with Warner Bros. TV also includes the existing three seasons of Manifest, which are currently available on Netflix in the U.S. and will debut on the platform in markets around the world in the coming months.
A canceled broadcast series finding a home is extremely rare. Manifest‘s resurrection is outright improbable because it came after Warner Bros TV had already concluded its campaign to find a new network partner following the series’ cancellation by NBC. The studio made that call on June 21 after exhausting all options and following days of conversations with Netflix which ended in the streamer passing on the show after a deal between the two sides appeared out of reach.
However, united by the #SaveManifest movement, fans continued to rally behind the show, with Rake encouraging them on Twitter to “keep the faith.” Fueled by the fan campaign, Manifest Season 1 and Season 2 viewership kept surging on Netflix in the U.S. Since its launch on the streamer in June, the thriller drama logged four consecutive finishes atop the Nielsen weekly streaming ratings and a record six-week streak of more than 1 billion minutes viewed. (Season 3 was added on the U.S. service last weekend as the deal between Netflix and Warner Bros. TV was in the final stretch.)
Manifest‘s incredible ratings resilience on Netflix led to the stunning reversal, with both Netflix and NBC/Peacock last month expressing interest in picking up the show. Netflix quickly emerged as the leading contender and has been negotiating exclusively for the last couple of weeks.
There were complicating factors that doomed the original talks with the streamer in June, most notably international distribution for the series. Netflix demands global rights on all seasons of its originals, and Warner Bros TV already had sold Manifest‘s NBC run internationally market by market. But Warner Bros TV and Netflix had a working template for successfully moving a canceled broadcast drama to the streamer, overcoming international distribution obstacles, with Lucifer. Manifest is following a similar path, with a patch quilt of windows in various territories where the show will become available on Netflix at different times under different conditions.
“Since its premiere on Netflix in June, Manifest has proven very popular with our members,” said Bela Bajaria, Netflix Head of Global TV. “Jeff Rake and his team have crafted a beguiling mystery that has viewers around the world on the edge of their seats and believing again in second chances, and we’re thrilled that they will bring fans some closure with this final super-sized season.”
The pickup by Netflix will give fans answers after the cancellation by NBC made for a premature ending, leaving unanswered questions and unresolved Season 3 finale cliffhangers for the series, which had been originally conceived by Rake for a six-season run. That plan will now be condensed to bring the story of the passengers of Flight 838 to a proper conclusion in four seasons. The super-sized 20-episode pickup would help toward that goal as represents Manifest‘s largest season order. (The series’ first season consisted of 16 episodes, Season 2 and 3 featured 13 episodes each.)
“What started years ago as a flight of fancy deep in my imagination has evolved into the jet engine journey of a lifetime,” Rake said. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisioned the worldwide outpouring of love and support for this story, its characters, and the team who work so hard to bring it all to life. That we will be able to reward the fans with the ending they deserve moves me to no end. On behalf of the cast, the crew, the writers, directors, and producers, thank you to Netflix, to Warner Bros., and of course to the fans. You did this.”
In Manifest, when Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years — and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible.
The series is from Jeff Rake Productions and Compari Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and Universal Television. Rake executive produces with Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke, Jacqueline Levine and Len Goldstein.
Couldn’t let a day as significant as today go uncelebrated.
Manifest will officially return for a super-sized fourth and final season, only on Netflix! pic.twitter.com/HGns7vCvhX
— Netflix (@netflix) August 28, 2021