NFL fans are circulating a Change.org petition in response to Calvin “Megatron” Johnson’s surprise cancellation at the hands of the FOX Broadcasting Company. The long-running wide receiver was pulled from FOX’s schedule after just nine seasons on the air. Less than 24 hours after the decision was first reported, the petition had already garnered over 100,000 signatures.
Johnson, who filmed on location in Detroit, wrapped production on his series finale in December (the network declined to order January episodes in seven of Johnson’s nine seasons). Items from his set were auctioned for charity last month. His head writer, Jim Bob Cooter, is attached to other projects in development. But despite the mounting bad news, devoted viewers remain hopeful.
“We’re here to tell FOX that we won’t stand for their embarrassing programming decisions any longer,” said Brent Dugan, a 31-year-old marketing consultant from Ypsilanti, MI and author of the petition. “I thought they’d learned after ‘Arrested Development.’ I thought they’d learned when they put ‘American Idol’ out of its misery. But it’s absolutely deplorable that quality television like Calvin Johnson is jettisoned from the network while atrocities like Riley Cooper and Leonard Hankerson are allowed to remain on the air.” The petition asks FOX to retain Johnson for three more seasons and a movie.
“While we are in profound debt to Megatron for what he has contributed to our network over the past nine years, he simply doesn’t fit into our future plans,” said FOX President David Madden. “Superheroes have gone out of style. I’ve never seen it, but that ‘Agents of SHIELD’ show looks like it’s for babies. ‘Heroes Reborn’ was even worse than the original. And don’t get me started on The CW. America has clearly stated its preference for hardened antiheroes in the mold of Walter White, which is why we’re working very hard to obtain the rights to Johnny Manziel from CBS.
In a statement to Detroit media, Johnson seemed unperturbed by the news of his cancellation. “I may have had more episodes in me, but I went out on top, and not a lot of us can say that. I really didn’t want to get to the point where I was bringing in Ted Danson to liven things up. Some of my favorites, as much as I love them, went on too long. I don’t even have the DVDs for Jerry Rice Seasons 18-20.”
Johnson’s cancellation is expected to negatively impact the ratings for Matthew Stafford, its 2009 spinoff show that, despite high expectations, never managed to match Johnson’s popularity or critical acclaim. FOX executives are exploring options to shore up the hole in their schedule.
“Anything but a Charles Rogers reboot,” Stafford said.
Dustin Petzold is the editor-in-chief of Crooked Scoreboard. He maintains grudges over several cancelled shows. You should follow Crooked Scoreboard on Twitter.