When The Baker and the Beautygot canceled this week, it wasn't just another network show that wouldn't return for another season. Fans of the ABC romantic drama quickly took to social media to campaign for it to get picked up by another network.
The one-hour scripted show, adapted from an Israeli format, was one of only a handful of primetime series that was led entirely by an all-Latinx cast.The Baker and the Beauty follows Daniel Garcia (Victor Rasuk), a baker from a working-class Cuban family in Miami, Florida, who falls in love with Noa Hamilton (Nathalie Kelley), an international star. The series also depicted a tight-knit Cuban American family and their realistic interactions with one another.
While it ranked as one of ABC’s lowest-rated series this past season, the devoted fan base is doing what it can to save the show and attempt to get it picked up by another network or streaming site.
"I was aware that we did not have the pure, raw ratings that guaranteed a renewal, and frankly, fewer and fewer new shows reach that threshold without some support and a bit of a leap of faith," creator Dean Georgaris tells ET exclusively. "I was certainly aware that it was a possibility, but I was heartbroken. The cast, the crew, the experience of filming the first season just was one of those experiences that you carry with you for the rest of your life."
While Nielsen ratings dictate whether a show gets to live on, there's value in having loyal fans who champion their favorite stories. Following news of the cancellation, people created a petition that has over 116,000 signatures and counting. The show's cast, as well as some of Hollywood's leading Latinxs such as Eva Longoria and Zoe Saldana, has been voicing their reasons as to why this show must be saved.
"I feel completely blessed and touched because of the fans, and also the celebrities, that have stepped up. Representation matters," Rasuk expresses to ET. "The reason I wanted to be in this business is to represent our culture, the color of our skin and share what we represent. What's going on now is why I became an actor...Obviously there's so many more things going on in this country that are beyond Baker and the Beauty, and we're fully aware of that. But it wasn't until the fans really galvanized the show [that we knew we had to speak out]."
As for veteran Puerto Rican actress Lisa Vidal, who portrays Garcia matriarch Mari, she told ET that she's "never been a part" of a movement like this for a show she was in.
"I participate for a movement for One Day at a Time, but not for my own show and that inspired me...It's been a group effort," she relays. "I'm just floored and grateful and I'm just blown away by everyone's love and support. It has touched my heart like nothing before."
"Latinx shows have had challenges," Vidal believes. "We all have to be intentional about change and what does that look like and what does that mean...A show like The Baker and Beauty is a perfect example of a show that's just about this beautiful family that's not stereotypical."
Georgaris, on his end, also understands the cultural impact of The Baker and the Beauty and the importance of the Latinx audience seeing themselves on TV. "I acknowledge that there are not a lot of families like this on television," he notes. "And it's humbling if we get to be a part of showing and having people say, 'Hey, I recognize that. I'm really glad it's on TV.' The goal is to entertain and also when you're trying to entertain, it's also about making the world a better place and moving people."
Georgaris, meanwhile, has a lot more story to tell. He has a clear plan for season 2, as well as for at least four more seasons, with each spotlighting an important part of a relationship. As for how a second season looks like if it's picked up, Georgaris shared that "the plan isn't to change the show dramatically. Frankly, it is the natural evolution of season 1."
"It would focus on not just Daniel and Noa's continuing love story, but also focus on the relationship between Natalie and Amy, the torrid relationship between Vanessa and Mateo and the relationship between Mari and Rafael," he says. "The idea was, let's look at love and being a couple and look at it in four different, but very equally important, moments in life."
"So you got the engagement for Daniel and Noa, you got a bit of an empty nest for Mari and Rafael as their family starts to move out or move away or not work in the business," he details. "You got a teenage love and senior year with Natalie and Amy -- and I can't actually describe the Vanessa and Mateo story without giving it away, the big twist. The idea was to just keep doing what we were doing, which was try to tell stories that we thought felt universal and keep writing characters that were three-dimensional."
Season 2 would also explore the aftermath of what it means to get engaged, how the proposal went down, and how Noa becomes integrated into the Garcia family.
"Getting engaged is easy, but actually trying to live together as a run-up to the marriage is a whole different ball game, and again that's an experience that is true in every culture. You think you know someone and then you move in with them," Georgaris teases. "We would continue to see Noa's company and explore the run-up to Noa's film because that was her dream, and when we left her, she was going to do it. When we pick up her story, it would be after she's done it, while the film's being edited."
"In season 2, what you get to see is a lot more combinations of characters, you get to see Natalie spending more time with Noa, you get to see Mateo with Lewis. In a way to make it one giant family show as opposed to two worlds," he shares.
In the next few weeks, The Baker and Beauty's ultimate fate will be known and decided. While shows like One Day at a Time, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Expanse and Designated Survivor, among others have had great luck getting picked up elsewhere, the showrunner and cast are aware of what could happen.
While Georgaris expressed that it's "an incredible feeling" to have Hollywood's support, it goes beyond that. "To me, what's more touching is the 100,000-plus non-celebrities who take time out of their day to sign a petition. It's really powerful. I think all of us, the cast, crew, producers and studio, know that and it's hard not to be moved by it," he says.
"If it gets picked up, I want the fans to know that they were a big reason as to why it got picked up," Rasuk adds. "We wouldn't have done this if we weren't passionate about it...I feel like if we didn't give it a shot and a fight, I think we couldn't have lived with ourselves."