Which Network Shows Will Be Coming Back for Another Season?
NATHAN FILLION, castle, upfront
Time could be running out for some of your favorite series. In mid-May, the broadcast networks will roll out their fall schedules to Madison Avenue ad buyers—and not everything will make the cut. While many decisions have already been determined (The CW renewed all 11 of its scripted series on March 11), a number of shows across the remaining four networks still face major uncertainty. -Reported by Rob Moynihan and Marisa Roffman
It’s a transition year for the network as Channing Dungey, the new entertainment president, faces her first full season in charge. As such, ABC handed out uncharacteristically early renewals to 15 shows in March, including the entire Wednesday-night comedy block and the established Thursday dramas. Left off that initial list were Nashville and Castle, both of which have battled for ratings of late.
And yet, there are signs of life for the long-running shows: Nashville enlisted thirtysomething vets Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick as showrunners for a potential fifth season; Castle cut co-lead Stana Katic and original cast member Tamala Jones in part to tighten the budget for a possible Season 9. (Nathan Fillion is in negotiations to stay on with the revamped series.) In a year when new comedies have largely struggled, freshman shows The Real O’Neals and Ken Jeong’s Dr. Ken look like a safe bet to get the nod for Season 2.
However, the future of critical and award-show darling American Crime, which hasn’t been able to attract a broad audience, is unclear, as is that of Galavant and Marvel’s Agent Carter. All three were passion projects of departed network president Paul Lee. The high-profile Muppets attempted a midseason relaunch, but the comedy couldn’t convince viewers to return, averaging just 2.7 million viewers who watched live.
The Tiffany network has its eye on six freshman series, with renewals likely for this season’s No. 1 new comedy, Life in Pieces (which averaged 8.7 million viewers), and Supergirl, which should soar back thanks to its affiliation with the expanding DC Comics television universe and internal support from high-ranking CBS execs.
With midseason comedy Rush Hour already out of gas, that leaves Code Black, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and Limitless as the remaining new programs firmly on the bubble, even though CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves told investors in March that he planned to renew five first-year series. Looking uncertain are Criminal Minds, which is more expensive to produce now that it’s in Season 11, and CSI: Cyber, the last remaining vestige of the once-lucrative CSI franchise.
There will likely be no second chance for drama Second Chance, and comedy Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life will not survive to see another season. Although Sleepy Hollow said goodbye to leading lady Nicole Beharie in its polarizing season finale, insiders suggest there is still a spark of life in the supernatural drama and a Season 4 is likely. However, the fates of freshman comedies Grandfathered and The Grinder remain up in the air, with the network hesitant to make a decision until screening its robust slate of 2016–17 comedy pilots. If only one survives, give the edge to the Rob Lowe/Fred Savage–led Grinder, which is more critically acclaimed and owned by sister studio 20th Century Fox Television.
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The network has one big question to answer: What to do with The Mysteries of Laura? The Debra Messing drama drew a stable audience during its sophomore season, averaging 7 million viewers, and attracted a bigger audience for its finale on March 2 than its season premiere—but it has struggled in the advertiser-coveted demo of viewers age 18–49. However, it still does better than its current timeslot replacement, Heartbeat, which could give Laura the edge.
NBC used The Voice to launch a slew of midseason shows to middling results: Game of Silence, Crowded and the aforementioned Heartbeat have yet to gain traction in their regular timeslots (which don’t follow the reality juggernaut). The future is also murky for Eva Longoria’s Telenovela, which quietly wrapped up its season in February. However, NBC’s desire to stay in business with Longoria could swing a last-minute renewal for the comedy.