FREAKS AND GEEKS, (front) Martin Starr, John Francis Daley, Linda Cardellini, Busy Philipps, Jason Segel, (back row) Samm Levine, Seth Rogen, James Franco, 1999-2000. © NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Jason Segel Claims Judd Apatow Kicked ‘Freaks and Geeks’ Cast Stars Out of ‘Revenge’ Over Series Cancellation

Judd Apatow didn’t want his monsters to disappear from Hollywood.

The multi-hyphenated writer/director/producer behind the cult short-lived NBC series “Freaks and Geeks” was determined not to let the series’ rising stars fall by the wayside following the show’s untimely cancellation, according to actor Jason Segel.

“Freaks and Geeks” revolved around siblings Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) and Sam (John Francis Daley), who try to make friends at their new Detroit high school in the 1980s. Segel, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Busy Philipps, Martin Starr and Samm Levine completed the cast of the children’s series which aired from 1999 to 2000. Apatow was the executive producer of the series, created by Paul Feig.

According to Thea Glassman’s new book “Freaks, Gleeks and Dawson’s Creek: How Seven Teen Shows Transformed TelevisionApatow didn’t want the series’ cancellation to discourage the career paths of the cast.

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“Freaks and Geeks” star Segel said, “(It was) a ‘Count of Monte Cristo’-style revenge mission from Judd that will systematically make every one of these people a star.”

Segel continued to collaborate with Apatow on ‘The Five-Year Engagement’, ‘This Is 40’, ‘Get Him to the Greek’, ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ and ‘Knocked Up’ which also starred in ‘Freaks and Geeks “. Alum Rogen. Meanwhile, Rogen has appeared in a number of films produced and directed by Apatow such as ‘Pineapple Express’ with former collaborator James Franco, ‘Superbad’, ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’ and others.

Rogen recently broached the possibility of a “Freaks and Geeks” revival, saying he’d be reluctant to mess with perfection.

“It’s so rare that you do something in your career that’s actually just seen as good,” Rogen said. “I know enough now to not fuck with that, to let it be good and not try to revisit it, and just let it exist.”

Executive producer, writer and director Apatow previously revealed that there had been an offer from MTV in 2000 to continue the series on a “much smaller budget,” but the “Freaks and Geeks” team “decided that we didn’t want to make a weaker version of the show.

Former The WB head Garth Ancier said in Glassman’s oral history book that the network regretted canceling the series at the time.

“It’s easy to cancel a show when the show is just awful. So you’re basically telling someone without saying it, “Your show is awful.” I’m irritated that we gave you all this time and money to make it work and it didn’t work,’” Ancier said. “Hard cancellation is when everyone thinks the show is very special but nobody is watching it. So you find yourself in this position of, well, now I feel like I’m clubbing a baby seal.