Film and TV

What's Up With This #SaveMacGyver Billboard in West Phoenix?

The #SaveMacGyver billboard was paid for by fans of show and will remain in west Phoenix through May 30.
The #SaveMacGyver billboard was paid for by fans of show and will remain in west Phoenix through May 30. #SaveMacGyver

The glut of billboards dotting the landscape of metro Phoenix means that we usually don't really notice them anymore.

Except earlier this week, when one caught our eye in west Phoenix.

The sign, located near the Starbucks at 2441 West Thomas Road, reads "#SaveMacGyver." The words are accompanied by a website ( and a Swiss Army knife.

The answer is somewhat straightforward: The billboard is one part of a coordinated national campaign to save some people's favorite TV show. If you are over the age of, say, 35, you're likely aware that MacGyver was a 1980s action series starring actor Richard Dean Anderson as Angus "Mac" MacGyver, a government agent who eschews the use of firearms in favor of solving any problem with an assortment of gadgets including paper clips and a Swiss Army Knife.

The original series ended in 1992, but it was rebooted in 2016 with Lucas Till playing the titular character. Fans were glad to see it return — until April 7, when CBS announced it was canceling MacGyver after five seasons.

"Like most 'save' campaigns for TV shows, a petition was the beginning" of #SaveMacGyver, Samantha Sinard writes in an email. Sinard runs the campaign's Facebook page.

The petition has more than 25,000 signatures, but so far, that hasn't been enough to change CBS' mind. So Sinard and her compatriots kicked it up a notch.

"Each day, we send emails to CBS, Viacom, and Paramount+, request the show on Netflix and live chat with their customer support, as well as calling Netflix and Paramount+ about saving the show. Every week we have a new list of campaign-related activities that help keep tweets and morale up. ... We've sent 1.35 million paperclips to CBS Television Studios in Los Angeles," Sinard writes.

The billboards were paid for by a GoFundMe campaign that has raised more than $7,600 so far. There are two billboards in Los Angeles, and one each in New York City, Atlanta, and Phoenix. The signs are slated to stay up through May 30.

"The billboards are our proudest accomplishment and our biggest expense to date," Sinard writes.

Sinard believes that the campaign has the support of the MacGyver cast and crew; many of them have tweeted using the #SaveMacGyver hashtag. And she thinks that the campaign's chances of success are good.

"We are a passionate, devoted, tireless fandom, and in the past those types of fandoms have gotten their shows back — Lucifer, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Sanditon, just to name a few. In the past couple of days, CBS has proved they have the ability to move shows from their network to their Paramount+ streaming service if they choose to, because they did it with SEAL Team, Clarice, and Evil. That would be the easiest way to get the show back if they do not want to put it on the network, rather than selling the rights to the show to another network or streamer like Netflix or Hulu," she writes.

If you don't watch MacGyver, you may wonder why its fans are pouring effort, time, and money into saving it.

"When it first started, it was a show about the power of science, math, and technology; families of choice; and how with a little ingenuity and a lot of heart you can make the world a better place," Sinard writes. "As it progressed through the years ... those values remained at the core of what it was about.

"This is one of few shows on television that will ... entertain the whole family with the perfect mix of humor, action, and love. ... There's nothing else like MacGyver out there."
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Jennifer Goldberg is the culture editor and Best of Phoenix editor for Phoenix New Times.