It’s that time of year once again. The first series orders have come through – with NBC picking up Chicago Med, Blindspot and Heartbreaker – and the Upfronts a little more than a week away (NBC and Fox kick things off in New York on Monday May 11th. That being the case, in the next few days the five broadcast networks are set to finally decide which of this season’s shows will be back and which will be cancelled.
To ease (or in some cases exacerbate) fans anxiety before official word comes down, TVWise presents the final edition of this year’s 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 the final edition of the Broadcast TV Buzz column for 2015, we’ve pressed sources for firm answers and hace done away with descriptors such as “lock” and “looking good”. Instead we simply state which shows will be cancelled or renewed. There has been some movement since the last column, with Castle now a lock for renewal, while CSI is set to return for a shortened final season.
At the alphabet, Paul Lee and his top execs have thus far not renew a single series, leaving a lot still in play. Fresh Off The Boat, The Goldbergs, Grey’s Anatomy, Galavant, How To Get Away With Murder, Last Man Standing, Blackish, Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Modern Family, The Middle, Once Upon A Time, Scandal, Nashville and solid DVR gainer Secrets & Lies are all set for renewals. The network has already cancelled Revenge, Selfie and Manhattan Love Story and in the coming days they are set to officially cancel the likes of American Crime, Forever and Resurrection – which, while a strong performer last year, all but collapsed in the ratings in its second season. As has been the case for weeks, the real bubble series at ABC are Cristela, Castle and Marvel’s Agent Carter. While buzz is still a little soft coming out of ABC, talk is that there a good 3 or 4 comedy projects that are inching towards series orders. With that in mind, I’m hearing that well received but softly rated Cristela will not be back for a second season (could The Middle wind up moving to Fridays for next season?). Between middling ratings, soft international sales and the fact that the SHIELD spin-off is cruising to series order, I hear that Marvel’s Agent Carter is effectively dead and wont be back for a second season. That leaves the one bubble show that should not be a bubble show: long running procedural Castle. Despite innacurate reports to the contrary, Stana Katic’s deal is not quite set nor is the renewal finalised. That being said, it is within days of happening. While progress on a deal with Stana has been slow, my sources say it will close by Tuesday, paving the way for an official 24 episode pick up by the end of next week.
This time every year it’s the same routine over at CBS as the network more or less goes into lockdown with very little word slipping out at what pilots are looking good for series pick ups. But things have not been so quite when it comes to their current crop of shows. The network has already renewed 2 Broke Girls, The Big Bang Theory, Madam Secretary, Mike & Molly, Mom, NCIS: New Orleans and Scorpion; and cancelled The McCarthys and The Millers. (Both Two And A Half Men and The Mentalist have already finished airing their final seasons). Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-0, Criminal Minds, Elementary, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles and Person Of Interest are all set for renewals. The Good Wife is guaranteed a seventh and final season and while the size is TBD it is looking like it will be a standard 22-23 episode order. At long last, after years of struggling it would appear that Matthew Perry has shook off the curse, with his CBS series The Odd Couple, which has been a good performer this season, on track for a renewal. Both Battle Creek and Stalker are in the same boat with soft ratings. Unfortunately, the die has been cast and both will be cancelled next week, though they will finish airing their only seasons on the network. It’s good news/bad news for CBS’ lucrative CSI franchise. New spin-off CSI: Cyber, which has sold VERY well for CBS Studios International, is going to get a shot to grow its audience with a second season pick up. And in what can only be described as being a surprisingly sentimental move on the part of CBS, the network has decided to bring back CSI: Crime Scene Investigation for a shortened final season.
At The CW thing are more or less settled as they have been for weeks. Rather than which shows will be back, all the chatter coming out of the network has been focussing on which pilots will be going to series (Marc Cherry’s Cheerleader Death Squad and the Arrow/Flash spin-off look like they are the strongest contenders on that side of things). The reason for that is that the network has already decided the fate of most of their shows, after handing out a mass renewal back in January. That mass renewal saw The CW pick up The 100, Arrow, The Flash, Jane The Virgin, The Originals, Reign, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries for next season; and they have also renewed Beauty & The Beast for a fourth season. The only series still in play are Hart Of Dixie, iZombie and The Messengers. The auspices behind Hart Of Dixie have already been informed that they wont be back next season and so The CW will officially cancel the series next week. Equally, The Messenger, which has been sinking in the ratings since its low-rated premiere last month, will be cancelled. The only good news is that iZombie has established itself as a decent ratings performer and will return for a second season.
Much like The CW, there has been very little movement at Fox. The network has already renewed Gotham, Sleepy Hollow, Empire, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, Bob’s Burgers and The Last Man On Earth; whilst Gracepoint, Red Band Society and Glee have been cancelled. The question marks at Fox are Backstrom, Bones, The Following, The Mindy Project, Mulaney and Weird Loners. As previously reported, the real issues with Bones is contract negotiations as both Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz’s deals are up this season. Sources say that the deals will close and the series will be renewed for next season. That being said, I hear that its possible that such a renewal could come after the Upfronts, especially as Bones doesn’t wrap its current season until June. Fox is set to officially cancel Mulaney and Weird Loners, both of which have been a real disappointment for Fox execs. It’s bad news all round for Kevin Williamson, whose Fox series The Following is also set to be cancelled after a severe dip in the ratings this season. Backstrom is also set to be cancelled – could a Bones return for showrunner Hart Hanson be on the cards? Finally, Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project looks like it’s a goner. The conventional wisdom had been that Universal Television, keen to get the series to syndication numbers, would do all they could to get Fox to order a fourth season. From what I’m told, however, the studio isn’t prepared to lower the license fee to a point where Fox executives would consider another go around.
As previously noted the peacock has already kicked things off by granting series orders to drama pilots Chicago Med, Blindspot and Heartbreaker. They will feature on the network’s Fall 2015-2016 schedule alongside the already renewed Grimm, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and The Blacklist. I’d expect a lot more series order to come out of NBC in the next 96 hours as the network is looking to more or less make a clean brak of things next season. There is only one freshman series, AD: Beyond The Bible, with a shot at a renewal – though even that seems unlikely, with sources indicating that it will be cancelled instead. Also set to be cancelled is About A Boy, Constantine, Marry Me, The Mysteries Of Laura, American Odyssey, One Big Flop One Big Happy and CIA drama State Of Affairs. Things are looking brighter for Undateable and The Night Shift, both of which are set to be renewed for third seasons. The only potential bad news for those two shows is that I’m told NBC is considering moving them back to their previous Summer slots for 2016.