Will viewers get to meet the Sackett Sisters this fall?
Busy Philipps hopes so. The actress, who stars in Sackett Sisters alongside Casey Wilson (Happy Endings), started a campaign, #MustSeeSackett, on her Instagram account Tuesday in an effort to get the show in front of audiences. (Video above.)
“I got a call last Thursday from my manager saying it didn’t look like NBC was going to pick up the show,” Philipps told EW of The Sackett Sisters, which explores the all-too-common premise of capitalizing on 15 minutes of fame and follows sisters (Philipps and Wilson) as they perform an act of heroism — against one of the sisters’ better judgement — and then become the stars of a national news story. (Tina Fey is an executive producer.) “I was so blindsided and then devastated in a way that I just haven’t been in a really long time. Part of this job is not moving forward on projects, but I just felt so helpless and sad.”
In an effort to push through those feelings, Philipps posted a video to Instagram of her so-called “breakdown.” “It was just a very genuine reaction to the disappointment and it’s the first time I’ve ever gone through something like this and been able to have an outlet where I can directly talk to the people who enjoy you and want to see you succeed,” she explained.
Having shared a “magical experience” shooting the pilot with her costars, including Bradley Whitford (Transparent), and feeling that the script was very strong, the news was even more of a shock. “For a lot of reasons this show just felt so different when we were doing it,” she said. “When I read the pilot, I turned to my husband and said, ‘Oh my God, I have to do this show and it has to be me and Casey Wilson as sisters.’ So when she was actually available to do it, it just felt like this was meant to be.”
After receiving the disappointing call from her management, Philipps hopped on the phone with Wilson to discuss what could happen next. “I said to Casey, ‘Look, I don’t want to go rogue or anything but do you feel like there’s a version where we just ask our fans if they want to see it since the show’s still in contention?'” she explained. After talks with management and the studio, the actresses decided to go ahead and explore their fans’ reaction. “It was just a funny, ludicrous idea to me that we could do that,” she said.
And so on Tuesday night, Philipps and a friend came up with the hashtag, #MustSeeSackett, and soon enough fans were flooding NBC’s Twitter and Instagram accounts using the hashtag to campaign for a show they barely knew anything about. “It’s just so intense and so sweet and overwhelming,” said Philipps.
The tearful video on Instagram inspired fans to also rally behind the actress individually after she shared how difficult it is to succeed in the industry. Some supporters even went as far as to send money to Philipps via Venmo “for the stories and the laughs.” Philipps is donating the $500 raised to one of her favorite charities, Baby2Baby.
While Philips is still “devastated” at the thought of the show not being picked up, she’s encouraged by the fan reaction so far. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I was on a very famously canceled-too-soon TV show, Freaks and Geeks, as my very first show,” she said. “The internet didn’t exist in the way that it exists now back then — people barely had dial-up AOL — but if they had been able to galvanize behind that show I’m sure they would have saved it.”
All hope is not lost either. NBC may still sign on, or there’s always the streaming sites. It’s certainly happened before… with a series from Fey. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was originally set for its first season on NBC in spring 2015 but wound up sold to Netflix.
“Anecdotally, ratings don’t seem to be a true reflection of how many people are really enjoying a show because people consume media in so many different ways,” Philipps said. “For the first time ever fans have a real opportunity to get involved and make their voices heard in a real way and I think it’s really powerful to say to people: If you want to see this, use your voice, make some noise and maybe we can get it on the air. It’s insanely silly but also making me feel good.”