‘Rebel’ Cancellation: Katey Sagal and Krista Vernoff React to Shock Axing

Katey Sagal in Rebel
ABC/Raymond Liu

ABC’s decision to cancel freshman drama Rebel just five episodes into its run has come as a shock to its creator Krista Vernoff and lead star Katey Sagal.

The network announced it was axing the show on Friday along with four others that were not picked up for renewal: American Housewife, For Life, Mixed-ish, and Call Your Mother.

But the news of Rebel‘s demise was particularly surprising given its pedigree, including a strong cast and ABC’s most powerful showrunner, Vernoff, who heads up Grey’s Anatomy and spinoff Station 19, both of which were recently renewed.

Sagal, who plays the series’ titular Annie “Rebel” Bello, a character inspired by the real-life Erin Brockovich, took to Instagram on Monday to share her disappointment in the cancellation, writing that the abrupt announcement came as “a shock and a heartbreak.”

“Things take time to catch on,” she stated. “Rebel tells the story of a woman who speaks up for what is right, the show has heart and purpose, funny and tears, and we, the cast, are all scratching our heads at the reversal of support from ABC.”


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Like the character she plays in the show (a working-class legal advocate that fights for what she believes in), Sagal is not ready to go down without a fight and encouraged her followers to share her post and sign a #SaveRebel petition. The campaign had attracted more 14,000 signatures by the morning of May 18.

“As Rebel would say, fight for what you want, make people listen, and in this case, if our show can find another, more suitable place to land, we will do the happy dance,” Sagal added. “If not, we gave it our all and made our voices heard, which is the message behind Rebel! Always Speak Up!!”

Brockovich also shared her thought’s on the non-renewal, writing, “There’s an irony to a show by and for strong women who don’t quit, being canceled.” She added: “#Rebelabc isn’t going anywhere! She lives on in every one of the thousands who reached out this weekend & who continue to fight in their communities You’ll never cancel this movement, or our voices!”

While Vernoff hasn’t responded to the news directly, she has shared posts from Sagal and Brockovich backing up their statements and encouraging fans to continue to watch. There are still five episodes left to air before Rebel bows out

Check out more reactions from Segal, Vernoff, and Brockovich below.