It’s that time of year once again. We’re in the thick of pilot season; casting news is coming in fast and production on the various drama and comedy pilots are slowly getting underway. One such pilot, an untitled comedy from Jerrod Carmichael, has already landed a six episode series order at NBC. But while most eyes are on pilot season, what’s going on with this season’s current roster of shows?
With NBC’s current ratings woes, will they making a more or less clean sweep? Is ABC’s The Middle effectively done now that main cast member Charlie McDermott has been set as the lead in CBS’ Super Clyde pilot? And what about CSI: Crime Scene Investifagtion? Has the veteran procedural run its course on CBS or will it be back for another season?
To answer some of these burning questions, TVWise’s presents this year’s first Broadcast TV Buzz column, which lists, by network, the latest industry intel (buzz if you will) on which shows will be back next year and which shows we will be saying goodbye to. As this is our early edition, some of these should be taken with a grain of salt as a lot can (and probably will) change in the next two months, when official word will come down as to what’s renewed and what’s cancelled.
With ABC’s continuing (not to mention frustrating) policy of not officially renewing any of the series until the month of May, only two of the network’s series fates have been declared. Those two series are Manhattan Love Story and Selfie, both of which were cancelled fairly early on in the 2014-2015 season. Of the rest: Fresh Off The Boat, The Goldbergs, Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Modern Family, Once Upon A Time and Scandal are all locks for renewal, and will be back next season. Black-ish, Castle, Cristela and Last Man Standing are also looking good for renewals. While the numbers for Marvel’s Agent Carter and Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. are a little south of what ABC execs would like, both are set to be renewed (you can thank Disney’s ownership of both ABC and Marvel for that one). Equally, Galavant was not a huge draw in its time-slot and while most talking heads seem to think the show is on its way out, a trusted source close to one of the lead actors tells me that they’ve been informed by ABC that the show will be back next season. The Middle had been considered a lock for renewal, that is until Charlie McDermott booked CBS pilot Super Clyde. Word is that, despite the cast not being under contract beyond this year ABC is hopeful of bringing the show back for a seventh season, with or without McDermott as a regular. Elsewhere, the Omar Epps fronted Resurrection is, according to my sources, dead and has run its course on ABC; the same is true of Forever. The only real question marks here are American Crime, Revenge, Nashville and Secrets & Lies. It’s early days, but American Crime has not been performing as well as How To Get Away With Murder in the Thursday night 10pm slot, and is already facing the prospect of cancellation. Perennial bubble show Nashville is once again in danger, a lot will ride on development here but its not dead yet. There is a feeling amongst some of ABC’s drama execs that Revenge may have creatively run its course and so it’s unclear if it’ll be back. As for Secrets & Lies, the live+same day ratings have not been amazing, but its a big DVR gainer making a second season order possible, this is a wait and see job for now.
At CBS, the network has been a little more conservative with their renewals than in previous years. While at this same point last year they had renewed some 18 shows, this year the network has only picked up 7 for next season (so far). The shows that have earned renewals include 2 Broke Girls, The Big Bang Theory, Madam Secretary, Mike & Molly, Mom, NCIS: New Orleans and Scorpion; while The McCarthys, The Millers and The Mentalist have been cancelled/wrapped their runs. As always with CBS, its more or less steady running with NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Criminal Minds, The Good Wife and The Odd Couple considered locks for renewal. Battle Creek has failed to perform in its Sunday berth and the talk is that the show from David Shore and Vince Gilligan is on its way out. That failure, however, may wind up helping veteran CSI, which performed much better in the Sunday night slot. Talk is that the veteran procedural will be back for its sixteenth (but possibly final) season, while new spin-off CSI: Cyber – which has been a steady ratings performer thus far – is also looking good for renewal. Also looking good for renewal is Blue Bloods, Elementary, Hawaii Five-0 and Person Of Interest. The only real question mark is Stalker; the Warner Bros. Television produced drama has been struggling against Chicago PD. It’s not quite dead yet, but its fate will be dependent on CBS’ drama development.
The CW has had a strong year and is the only broadcast network whose 2015-2016 slate is more or less set already. The network has already handed out renewals to The 100, Arrow, Beauty And The Beast, The Flash, Jane The Virgin, The Originals, Reign, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries. That only leaves three series whose fate has yet to be officially determined. Those series are Hart of Dixie and the yet to premiere iZombie and The Messengers. Hart Of Dixie airs its fourth season finale later this month and word is that it will end up doubling as the series finale. The CW is, of course, not confirming but word is that the show is done and will not be back for a fifth season. As for iZombie and The Messengers, the fate of both wont be determined until after they premiere – though CW has very little room left on their 2015-2016 schedule if, as expected, they pick up 2-3 of their pilots to series.
Over at Fox, with the network now running under Dana Walden, Gary Newman and key lieutenant David Madden it’s hard to get a clear read on a couple of series. That said, they have renewed six series (Bob’s Burgers, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Empire, Family Guy, Gotham and The Simpsons) and cancelled three more (Glee, Gracepoint and Red Band Society). The Last Man On Earth, Bones, New Girl and The Mindy Project are all looking good for renewals, while Fox is set to officially cancel derivative and underperforming comedy series Mulaney as well as the poorly rated Rainn Wilson fronted Backstrom. The two series which are hard to get a read on are The Following and Sleepy Hollow. This year, The Following has suffered from a sizeable ratings dip, but Fox’s execs are keen to keep Kevin Bacon on the network. That coupled with the fact that the show is produced by Warner Bros rather than 20th Century Fox Television complicates matters. But all things considered I wouldn’t count on a fourth season order for the show. As for Sleepy Hollow – its chances of a third season have improved recently with the departure of Mark Goffman. A third season order will depend on finding the right replacement, who can bring the show back to its more episodic roots.
NBC has had a tough season. Next to none of their freshman series have truly clicked with audiences and there is a very real prospect that all said freshman entries could be cancelled. The network has already picked up all of their top performers, handing out renewals to The Blacklist, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Grimm and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The network has also said goodbye to Parenthood, Parks & Recreation, Allegiance, A To Z, Bad Judge and Mission Control. The only freshman series with a shot at coming back is The Mysteries Of Laura, which is not a huge performer but has been doing OK in its time-slot. The Night Shift is also on track for a third season renewal. Despite a ludicrous rumour that Constantine was being eyed for a second season on Syfy (which was never possible for a variety of reasons including budget and the fact that the network only just started taking pitches from outside studios), the show is not expected to return for a second season. Also set to be cancelled is About A Boy, Marry Me and State Of Affairs. The network also has Odyssey, One Big Happy and the second season of Undateable set to premiere in the weeks ahead, but will either Odyssey or One Big Happy break this season’s trend for NBC and prove to be a hit?