The three-episode extension does not technically qualify as a full-season order, which would have brought Season 1 to 22 episodes. According to an NBC insider, the network has “the utmost faith and confidence” in Manifest, but chose not to order a traditional “back nine” of the series primarily for scheduling and creative reasons.
“Full-season orders of less than 22 episodes are quite common today. In fact, the first three seasons of NBC’s hit series This Is Us have been 18 episodes each,” the insider said. “And The Good Place, which many regard as the best comedy on broadcast or cable, have been 13 episodes over its first three seasons… We want to run original episodes continuously in the first quarter of 2019 without any repeats, [and Manifest‘s] ambitious storytelling means taking the time to get it right in the writers’ room and in production.”
At New York Comic-Con earlier this month, showrunner Jeff Rake said Manifest‘s “initial order of 13 [episodes] is building towards a really significant card turn.” Episode 12, specifically, will introduce a new character who sets the stage for a game-changing twist in the drama’s 13th hour.
Thus far this fall, NBC’s medical drama New Amsterdam, CBS’ procedural FBI and ABC’s sitcom Single Parents all have scored full-season orders. Our 2019 Renewal Scorecard has all of the latest intel on each new series’ Season 2 chances.
NBC plans to run original episodes of Manifest continuously in the first quarter of 2019 without any repeats. The missing plane drama joins fellow new NBC drama series New Amsterdam, which also received a back order. For the medical procedural, it was a Back 9 for a full-season 22-episodes.
The mystery of Manifest will run longer on NBC, as the network has picked up a full season of the drama.
The network has extended the show for three more episodes, bringing its total for the season to 16. The move comes after four episodes in which Manifest established itself as one of the top-rated new series of the fall so far. It's the fourth new show and second at NBC (following New Amsterdam) to have its order extended.
In its first four episodes, the Warner Bros./Universal TV drama is averaging a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 8.4 million viewers in the same-day ratings. After a week of delayed viewing, the Sept. 24 premiere grew to 4.2 in the 18-49 demo (up two full points from its initial ratings) and 18.4 million viewers (up 8 million, the second-biggest lift ever for a broadcast show). Those are the biggest seven-day gains of any show in premiere week.
Jeff Rake (The Mysteries of Laura) created the show and executive produces with Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and Jackie Levine. Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina and Parveen Kaur star.
The fact that Manifest did not receive a traditional back-nine order does not have anything to do with NBC's faith in the series. Many broadcast shows are making less than the traditional 22- or 24-episode orders, including NBC breakouts This Is Us and The Good Place (which run for 18 and 13 episodes, respectively). Fox's Empire also has 18-episode seasons.
However, the full-season order for “Manifest” is perhaps the least surprising yet. The show currently ranks as the highest-rated freshman drama of the 2018-19 season, after averaging a 1.8 live + same day rating in adults 18-49 with 8.44 million viewers across its first four episodes.
Manifest becomes the fourth new fall show to get a full-season order, joining New Amsterdam, CBS' FBI and ABC's Single Parents.