Efforts Under Way to Save ‘Quantum Leap’ After NBC Cancels Show!


Project QL Assistant
Nov 16, 2021
Fans, media watch groups launch campaigns to urge network to continue the sci-fi series.


NBC has canceled the science fiction series “Quantum Leap,” sparking an outcry from fans, including many Asian Americans.

The series, which premiered in September 2022, is a follow-up to the 1989-1993 series of the same name, which starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett. A time-travel experiment traps Sam in the past, with his consciousness “leaping” into different people and changing events for the better. In the final episode, it is stated that Sam never made it back to the present.

In the new series, set 30 years later with Sam’s fate still a mystery, the Quantum Leap project is revived and Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) also finds himself leaping into other people’s lives in the past. Unlike Sam, Ben can leap beyond his own lifetime and visits the Old West and other historical periods.

The cast also includes Caitlin Bassett as Addison, Ben’s colleague and fiancee, who appears to him as a hologram that no one else can see or hear — like the late Dean Stock-well’s character, Al, in the original series. Also working to get Ben back home are Mason Alexander Park as Ian, Nanrisa Lee as Jenn, and Ernie Hudson as Magic, whom Sam leaped into during the Vietnam War.

Bakula has declined to appear in the new show, though Susan Diol has reprised her role as Beth, Al’s wife.

In Season 2, Eliza Taylor appeared in a recurring role as Hannah, a possible romantic interest for Ben. After losing contact with Ben for three years, Addison believes he is dead and gets engaged to someone else. Ben encounters Hannah during different leaps, years apart, and eventually reveals to her that he is a time traveler.

Although other prime-time shows have Asian Americans as part of their regular cast, Lee is the only Asian American male actor who has top billing.

The show’s two-hour season finale aired on Feb. 20 with a cliffhanger in which Addison leaped back in time, intending to switch places with Ben. Instead, she meets Ben in the past.

Responding to news of the cancellation, Raymond Lee said via Instagram, “Just wanted to say a thank you to our QL fans and those who’ve tuned in. Your support was felt and always warmly received. You all have made it the ride of a lifetime.

“We’re so proud of the show we made and more proud of the stories we got to tell. And selfishly, for me, I got to make some really awesome friends along the way. If and when another group gets a hold of the accelerator and its capabilities, may they find us floating in time, still striving to put right what once went wrong.”

Bassett wrote, “So sorry to say… farewell leapers. Thank you so much for every moment of this amazing journey. And thank you @nbc and @ universaltv for the ride of a lifetime. As the wonderful QL super-fan Matt Dale said — ‘be excellent to each other.’”
Neither actor commented on fans’ efforts to save the show.

MANAA’s Response

Media Action Network for Asian Americans, which advocates for more representation in front of and behind the camera, is urging network executives to un-cancel “Quantum Leap” based on Nielsen data.

After sending a letter to NBCUniversal Chairman Frances Berwick, Universal Studio Group Chairman Pearlena Igbokwe, Universal Television President Erin Underhill and Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Donna Langley,

MANAA Founding President Guy Aoki posted the following on Face-book:

“Everyone: We need your help. My organization, Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) — the only organization solely dedicated to monitoring the media and advocating balanced, sensitive and positive depictions and coverage of Asian Pacific Americans — wrote a letter to NBC’s top brass asking them to un-cancel ‘Quantum Leap.’

“We used Nielsen ratings data to show several things: It should never have been moved from its Monday 10 p.m. time slot because it beat CBS’s ‘NCIS: Hawaii’ with the 18-49 age group that advertisers covet and which ultimately determines if a show gets renewed or not. NCIS-H is a shoo-in for renewal; QL got cancelled. (We understand NBC likes to place new series after ‘The Voice’ as a launching pad, then move them to another night the next season).

“Even when it was moved to Wednesdays at 8 p.m. last October, QL actually grew its audience in November with episodes that had higher same-day total viewers than anything besides its premiere episode in 2022besides

“But in late January, without much promotion, NBC moved QL to Tuesdays at 10 p.m., where it had to follow ‘Night Court’ (whose 18-49 ratings fell a whopping 42.6% from last season), ‘Extended Family’ and the already-cancelled ‘La Brea.’ Still, our ‘little show that could’ beat the last two programs in the 18-49 demo-graphic and even beat ‘Night Court’ one week. That’s unheard of.”

(Most of the numbers are based on Live+7, the number of people who record a show and watch it within seven days, which has become the industry standard for assessing the popularity of a show.)

heroic, attractive, nor romantic. They have engendered anger as villains bent on taking over the world or ridicule as nerds and weaklings, not considered romantic possibilities for anyone. Asian women, on the other hand, were coveted by men of all races, but with a lot of misguided ethnic baggage attached.

“To have Dr. Ben Song put his life on the line to help strangers and become romantically involved with not one, but two attractive women ran counter to those stereotypes. In addition, Song usually jumped into the bodies of non-Asian American characters, meaning his ethnicity did not affect his missions, and it demonstrated Raymond Lee’s talents as an actor.

“It was refreshing to see two Asian American cast members (Raymond Lee and Nanrisa Lee) working together on some of those missions, as it’s been a joke that producers often kept AAs apart for fear of making a show look ‘too ethnic’ …

(hopefully bringing Ben, Addison, and Sam home) out of respect for the audience, who have given this show their time and attention.”

Other petitions include “Save the ‘Quantum Leap’ Reboot” (276 signatures), “Revive NBC’s Quantum Leap for a Third Season” (518) and “NBC Please Renew ‘Quantum Leap’ or Make It a Peacock Exclusive” (794).

On Facebook, the issue is being discussed on the “Quantum Leap 2022” and “Quantum Leap on NBC” pages.

Meanwhile, at least seven similar petitions have been launched on change.org to save “NCIS: Hawaii.”