Next week will bring the Upfront Presentations for the major broadcasters, huge dog-and-pony shows each network to mark the end of the main season. Plans for the following season are revealed, including new shows to be picked up and initial schedules for the fall.
Even in this atmosphere where options go beyond 1000 channels, this whole exercise still proves rather fascinating.
Most of the networks have already made up their minds on what shows will be coming back. CBS made early renewal choices in late March, FOX picked up some of their comedies right before that, and NBC renewed a few of their dramas only a couple of weeks ago. One can pick up on news of this fairly easily in the modern, digital era, especially when cable channels can pick up and cancel shows at any time. Still, there are some shows that haven't heard the final word yet. For example, ABC has yet to renew a single show.
And this will be the week when the final decisions must be made.
Like I said before, a good chunk of the main renewals at CBS and FOX have already been made, and the same is true for the CW. If any show is a good performer for the network, it's already guaranteed to come back. In fact, CBS has mega-successful shows like The Big Bang Theory, which tend to receive renewals for multiple years at a time.
In the case of those three, it would be easier to list off the shows that haven't been renewed yet. Firstly, in the case of FOX the only shows awaiting a decision are the ones that perform the weakest.
Touch This drama starring Keifer Sutherland has aired on Friday nights throughout its second season, and there hasn't been an episode where it did better than Fringe's final outings. Really, it was lucky to get a second season in the first place.
The Cleveland Show It has been pretty much confirmed that Family Guy's spinoff will not get any more episodes ordered, so the remaining episodes will be the last ones.
On CBS, there is only one well-performing show they've held off on renewing.
Criminal Minds CBS has waited to renew this series compared to the rest of their lineup, mostly because they were waiting on contract negotiations. (The same thing happened to Two and a Half Men, which was renewed once Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher signed on and Angus T Jones agreed to only return in a limited capacity.) The showrunner has since signed a new contract with CBS, as have leads Joe Mantegna and Thomas Gibson. I think I can expect to see it return.
Vegas I honestly think my father was one of the only people to follow this show to Friday nights, after an underwhelming Tuesday run. It's not coming back.
Golden Boy It was originally going to move to Fridays, but remained in Vegas' old slot in the hopes that it would gain better traction on a night with higher traffic. That never happened.
Rules of Engagement For seven seasons, this show primarily stuck around as a pinch hitter amongst the network's comedies, usually returning at midseason or earlier after a new comedy flops and filling the gaps for the remainder of the season. This time however, it seems that this show's time has run out, with weak ratings likely ending the show for good.
The first CW shows to get renewed are, interestingly the action-orientated series, Supernatural, Arrow (as in Green Arrow, the DC Comics character), as well their highest-rated show The Vampire Diaries. The next ones spared were Beauty and the Beast and Heart of Dixie, whilst the decision to bring 90210 to a close was called fairly early. That leaves two shows left waiting.
The Carrie Diaries This prequel to Sex and the City has done tepidly on Monday nights, and as such the CW won't feel inclined to keep it around.
Nikita This series has aired quietly on Friday nights, surviving into its third season. It can easily gain a fourth, primarily playing to the CW's syndication prospects by fulfilling the minimum number of episodes to sell a show. The real question is if they will jump for it on this show.
NBC waited until a few weeks back to renew their stronger dramas, from veteran Law and Order: SVU to freshman Chicago Fire and Revolution. But perhaps the biggest conundrum they have is with sitcoms. It would appear that only two sitcoms on NBC have been performing well, Parks and Recreation and The Office, and the latter is coming to an end anyway. All the rest have pretty much been bombing!
1600 Penn One prime example of a comedy flop, having eventually come down to anemic numbers running from January through March. Doing so drastically worse than the others, it isn't coming back.
Deception Primetime soap which aired during the first part of the year, and did only well enough to air its entire run. Otherwise, it may not merit a renewal between all the other dramas picked up.
Guys with Kids One of two multi-camera sitcoms which aired this season, the other being Whitney. While NBC is considering other multi-camera pilots for their fall schedule, this show has the lesser advantage on the pair of being spared. Even with newly-crowned Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon vouching for it.
Whitney The other multi-camera comedy NBC aired this year, gaining a second season as miraculously as Touch did. Assuming the network wants to pick up a new multi-camera show and needs another to pair with it, this has the ratings advantage compared with Guys With Kids and may survive to see a third season.
Hannibal Ambitious horror procedural drama, based on the Red Dragon novel of the Hannibal Lecter legacy. It did well initially, but coming down to the wire it's starting to plummet, and may escape a renewal. (I would compare this to The Firm, but that show bombed right out of the gate.)
The New Normal Ryan Murphy's sitcom about a gay couple and their surrogate was amongst several sitcoms on NBC which started to tank as we really started to delve deep into the season. The best case for this show may be the rebound it made on the last two weeks of the first season's run, airing out of The Voice. But even then, it ranks low compared to the other comedies on the chopping block.
Go On Matthew Perry's comeback vehicle was one of the shows that saw its ratings suffer the most. And even then, it holds the best case for a renewal, mostly because of it retained its audience comparatively well and because of Perry's reputation.
Community Arguments can be made for this show's quality suffering after creator Dan Harmon left, although its ratings haven't been any phenomenally worse than the rest. Still, it has enough episodes for syndication, and that could be argument enough to let it go.
Parks and Recreation This was the most solidly performing comedy all season. It's gonna come back!
Up All Night Wait, this wasn't cancelled yet? Last I've heard they were going to try and turn this into a multi-camera comedy. But then showrunners bailed, as did lead actress Christina Applegate. This was not officially cancelled, but on the other hand neither was Smash after it was moved to Saturdays.
And ABC has so many shows awaiting renewal that the only factor that would impact the lions share is some kind of unexpected twist, like say a new direction or something. Otherwise, there is a good number of no-brainer renewals (or cancellations) on this list, and you can expect to hear the final word this week.
Happy Endings The ratings for this show really suffered this season, despite ABC's best intentions and support for the show. (No really, network promos have asked viewers to "Save Our Show".) After performing so poorly on Fridays (especially in light of how other sitcoms did on the same night), it will not see another season on ABC. (However, it might find salvation from cable. USA is reportedly interested in the show.)
Red Widow Serialized drama which went overlooked on Sunday nights. Given how far it dropped after three weeks off, I can imagine this won't be continuing.
Family Tools Oh, this is one of those shows like FOX's The Goodwin Games or NBC's Save Me. It was part of a massive sitcom boom, from networks hoping to find the next breakout hit that didn't happen. Now, it's only launching at the end of the season, showing how little faith the network had in it. As such, this got the lowest sitcom premiere ratings in ABC's history, so it's gonna get the boot.
Body of Proof This procedural drama (the only one on ABC besides Castle) only barely managed to get a third season after doing horribly last year, mostly because of the California state filming credits. Otherwise, it started doing better leading out of Dancing with the Stars. Chances are ABC could use a pinch hitter for midseason, and this show has the distinction of being able to make money for the network (and for Disney) without necessarily being a huge, dynamo hit. That is what would up its chances.
Last Man Standing This sitcom starring Tim Allen has aired on Friday nights, and did far better than anybody could have guessed, performing consistently throughout its run. It will likely get a third season, but whether it remains on Fridays remains to be seen.
Malibu Country Reba's Friday night sitcom performed solidly, occasionally rebounding from softer ratings and doing well for a Friday. Prospects for renewal, however aren't as good as Last Man Standing's, and bearing a miraculous TGIF revival (what with other multi-camera pilots ABC has in the can) probably won't come to pass.
How to Live With Your Parents... A late launch for an ABC comedy, getting a decent bump from following Modern Family and gaining good traction from that. On its own, it did okay, and has a 50/50 chance of returning.
The Neighbors High-concept sitcom, developing sort of a backlash after a negative reception to its earlier episodes. However, the ratings were consistent and viewers agreed it eventually found its groove. Its chances of renewal are only slightly behind those of How to Live With Your Parents. If nothing else, it could always move to Fridays, following Last Man Standing.
Nashville ABC executives seemed really proud of this latest in their run of primetime soaps, about rival country singers. The numbers have been fairly solid, only somewhat diminishing towards the homestretch of the season. Compared with the similar, and similarly performing Revenge this bears a decent chance of renewal.
Suburgatory This sitcom in its second season only wrapped up early to accommodate Family Tools, and performed well all season. There is no reason to cancel it, other than a stretch of an argument involving the episodes that aired following The Middle, as opposed to the ones following Modern Family. Arguments for the show airing after Last Man Standing could also be made.
Revenge The second season of this show, a breakout hit in its first has gotten an increase in critical flack. However, it sustained the similar ratings, so it can very easily return next season.
Castle And from here on out, we have nothing but obvious renewal choices for ABC. This is their key procedural drama hit, and has always paired well with Dancing with the Stars on Monday nights. It's comfort food, likely to keep going.
Once Upon a Time A solid Sunday night success, developing even more complex mythos in season two. On top of that, a spinoff is in development.
The Middle Comfort food in a similar manner to Castle, in this case representing the classic family sitcom mold that has helped define ABC for decades
Scandal Primetime soap from the creator of Grey's Anatomy, which ABC has successfully built into a smash hit over the last year. A renewal is quite the obvious call.
Modern Family One of ABC's signature programs, and a very close runner-up to The Big Bang Theory, in regards to the most-watched comedy on TV.
Grey's Anatomy ABC's key veteran drama, still going strong after nine seasons.
Of the many, many websites you can seek out for further information, I recommend you go to TV Series Finale. As a matter of fact, you can even say the name itself is a glowing recommendation for such a form of inquiry.
In addition to reporting on shows once they are renewed or cancelled, you can look up a list of series that have already been cancelled. You can look up your favorites anytime, and get the final word.
Check it out at http://www.tvseriesfinale.com.