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411’s TV Renewal Predictions: Agents of SHIELD Still Fighting, Prison Break Makes a Strong Case

April 9, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Welcome to 411’s official renewal predictions for the 2016 – 2017 television season! I’m Jeremy Thomas and this is a thing we’re going to try for this season. The beginning of the year is about the time that viewers and TV executives alike start wondering which shows will survive to see the next season, and we’re going to take a weekly look at what’s likely to get renewed as well as what you’re not very likely to see come back in the fall.

This is going to be a pretty short and sweet column each week. I’ll be updating my predictions every Sunday if there’s anything that warrants a move.

How It Works

The categories are pretty self-explanatory: Renewed, Likely Renewal, Bubble (could go either way), Likely Cancellation and Cancelled. It is worth mentioning that some shows will be moved into “Cancelled” status before an official announcement; networks are generally loathe to announce cancellations but there are clear signs when a show has been cancelled. These include a lack of additional episodes ordered for a first season, main cast members joining other shows or pilots and statements made by members of the cast or crew.

A show’s rating in the 18 – 49 demographic generally determines renewal, as that is the demographic that advertisers pay for (and thus determines the show’s profit margin). The 18 – 49 demo rating will be included after the show in the list. However, it’s not as simple as “X show has a higher rating than Y show, so it will be renewed.” There are certain expectations regarding a show’s timeslot; a 10 PM show can easily survive with a lower rating than a 9 PM show. Fridays tend to have lower ratings expectations and a show that is produced by the network’s production company is more likely to be renewed than one that the network has no stake in. International and streaming distributions can influence some shows to survive, but that is by no means a saving grace.

This Week’s Highlights

This past week saw some potential moves in the predictions, as two big shows premiered and another one made its return. First up is FOX’s Prison Break, which returned after eight years off the air. The revival came back with a 1.5 demo rating, which is a pretty solid opening for a few reasons. First off, the show hit about the same mark in its first week that 24: Legacy scored in its second week and without the monster post-Super Bowl premiere and hype that the latter show received. In addition, Prison Break improved nicely on its largely incompatible lead-ins; New Girl bowed its season finale at a 0.9 and The Mick was down at a 0.8, meaning that it nearly doubled those numbers.

Because of that, at this point Prison Break appears to be in solid shape. However, second week numbers are key and if it drops significantly, it could have problems. That’s what has largely killed 24: Legacy’s chances. That series has lost 45% of its regular timeslot (non-Super Bowl) premiere and hit a series low at an 0.8 this past week, while APB has been hovering around a 0.6 the last couple of weeks which is a drastic 59% drop in viewership from its premiere. Neither show is looking good for renewal, though at this point Pitch fans may have cause to hope if they continue to fall. For now Prison Break sticks in “Too Early to Call” while prestige drama Shots Call is sticking at the Bubble due to its decent (but low) holds week-to-week.

Over on The CW, iZombie got off to an okay start with a 0.4, putting it on par with renewed freshman Riverdale and a hair ahead of the not-yet-renewed The Originals. While that number is below the season finale’s 0.5 and ties a series low, this is also another year in which median ratings have dropped and what may not have been renewable even on The CW is looking solid now. iZombie has generally maintained a consistent audience and that would suggest low drops, which could put it in renewal range. Does that mean The Originals is in trouble? Not necessarily. Last year the network renewed eleven series, and they’ve given go-aheads for nine so far. With Reign and Vampire Diaries ending and both Frequency and No Tomorrow finished, it’s very possible that both shows could come back, albeit with one or more of the renewed shows likely looking at only one more season in that scenario.

The big return this week was Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. The Bubble Show came back for its “Agents of HYDRA” arc with a 0.7 demo rating, up a tick from its last two episodes of the winter. That’s a stability that the show sorely needed and it puts it tracking ahead of its renewal competition such as Quantico and The Catch. ABC is in rough shape, as we’ve mentioned several times in the past several weeks, and with Marvel’s Inhumans only getting an eight-episode arc it’s very possible that the show comes back for a shortened season to pair up with its sister MCU show. ABC has bigger problems, even this week as sitcom Imaginary Mary dropped hard. After starting off okay last week, the live-action/CGI show dumped 37% of its audience to fall to a 0.9. ABC has some poorly-rated shows, but not generally in its sitcoms and unless it stops the hemorrhaging fast Mary will be gone. The most positive news from ABC comes for Designated Survivor, which is reportedly seeking a showrunner for a second season. This isn’t a confirmed renewal but you don’t seek to sign new talent for a show you’re set to cancel. Expect the Kiefer Sutherland series to come back next fall.

CBS gave an expected renewal to Criminal Minds and is currently the network in the best shape. Most of its decisions are out in the open now, with a few stragglers waiting to hear news. The Great Indoors is now looking fairly likely to be renewed and has been adjusted accordingly. Despite a scary drop to a 1.00 a few weeks back, it’s rebounded well and is still averaging out to be one of the net’s better-rated sitcoms. That puts the pressure on 2 Broke Girls, which has been down in the 1.0 to 1.2 range the last few weeks. CBS has high standards for its sitcoms and Girls ranks below all of the renewed comedy series, but it’s not quite dead yet. That one will probably be down to the wire.

Finally on NBC, Taken is now sitting in Likely Cancelled territory. The show has lost half of its initial audience and is currently pulling in numbers not only below the last ratings for Bubble show The Blacklist, but also below the current numbers for Blindspot. It has a bit more leeway than the latter because of its 10 PM timeslot but freshmen series don’t get the same chances that sophomore ones do. NBC has to look at it like this: at this time last year, Blindspot was pulling in numbers in the 1.4 to 1.5 range where Taken’s numbers are in the 0.8 to 1.0 range. Yes, ratings are down across the board but not that much and the network has to look at what will happen in a second season. Second seasons are expected to have less viewers, and NBC is unlikely to want to stomach a show dropping below where Taken is now.

Normally you would ask whether the bad PR of cancelling such a highly-hyped show would be worth it, but NBC has no lack of first-year successes to point to this year. This Is Us and The Good Place did great business and that allows them to talk about something good at their upfront presentations, while quietly saying goodbye to other shows. That includes Powerless, down to a brutal 0.6 this week, and The Blacklist: Redemption at a 0.7. Redemption’s season finale is this week and it will likely be the last we see of the show.

ABC

Renewed:
* Grey’s Anatomy (2.13)
* Scandal (1.57)
* The Middle (1.56)
* How to Get Away with Murder (1.30)

Likely Renewal:
* Modern Family (2.17)
* The Goldbergs (1.79)
* Speechless (1.63)
* Black-ish (1.57)
* American Housewife (1.50)
* Designated Survivor (1.35)
* Fresh Off the Boat (1.21)
* Last Man Standing (1.15)
* Once Upon a Time (0.99)

Bubble:
* Imaginary Mary (1.14)
* The Real O’Neals (0.93)
* Dr. Ken (0.88)
* Agents of SHIELD (0.75)

Likely Cancellation:
* Secrets and Lies (0.76)
* The Catch (0.74)
* Quantico (0.72)
* American Crime (0.41)

Cancelled:
* Notorious (0.86) – Essentially Cancelled (no new episodes ordered)
* Conviction (0.65) – Essentially Cancelled (no new episodes ordered, cast members have joined other pilots)
* Time After Time (0.55)

Too Early to Call:

CBS

Renewed:
* The Big Bang Theory (3.21)
* NCIS (1.78)
* Kevin Can Wait (1.70)
* Bull (1.53)
* Mom (1.44)
* Criminal Minds (1.38)
* NCIS: Los Angeles (1.38)
* Man with a Plan (1.31)
* Life in Pieces (1.28)
* Superior Donuts (1.27)
* Scorpion (1.22)
* NCIS: New Orleans (1.20)
* Hawaii Five-0 (1.18)
* Blue Bloods (1.17)
* MacGyver (1.10)
* Madam Secretary (0.94)

Likely Renewal:
* The Great Indoors (1.50)

Bubble:
* 2 Broke Girls (1.34)
* Code Black (0.97)

Likely Cancellation:
* The Odd Couple (1.02)
* Pure Genius (0.86)
* Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (0.85)
* Training Day (0.70)
* Elementary (0.67)
* Ransom (0.44)

Cancelled:
* Doubt (0.68)

Too Early to Call:

NBC

Renewed:
* This Is Us (2.68)
* The Good Place (1.35)
* Superstore (1.18)
* Shades of Blue (0.86)

Likely Renewal:
* Chicago Fire (1.58)
* Law and Order: SVU (1.41)
* Chicago PD (1.40)
* Chicago Med (1.26)
* Chicago Justice (1.21)

Bubble:
* The Blacklist (1.06)
* Trial & Error (1.01)

Likely Cancellation:
* Taken (1.12)
* Timeless (1.10)
* Blindspot (1.07)
* The Blacklist: Redemption (0.77)
* Powerless (0.74)
* Emerald City (0.72)

Cancelled:
* Grimm (0.81) – Series Finale Aired

Too Early to Call:
* Great News (Premieres April 25th)

FOX

Renewed:
* Empire (3.01)
* The Simpsons (1.89)
* Lethal Weapon (1.57)
* Star (1.34)
* The Mick (1.17)
* Lucifer (1.10)
* Bob’s Burgers (1.00)

Likely Renewal:
* Family Guy (1.33)
* Gotham (1.14)
* Brooklyn Nine-Nine (1.03)

Bubble:
* Shots Fired (1.04)
* New Girl (0.94)
* The Last Man on Earth (0.93)

Likely Cancellation:
* 24: Legacy (1.52)
* Son of Zorn (1.29)
* APB (0.83)
* Pitch (0.83)
* Making History (0.74)
* Rosewood (0.68)
* The Exorcist (0.68)
* Scream Queens (0.61)
* Sleepy Hollow (0.50)

Cancelled:
* Bones (0.81) – Season Finale Aired

Too Early to Call:
* Prison Break (1.50)

The CW

Renewed:
* The Flash (1.07)
* Supergirl (0.78)
* Arrow (0.64)
* Legends of Tomorrow (0.64)
* Supernatural (0.62)
* Riverdale (0.40)
* Jane the Virgin (0.37)
* The 100 (0.36)
* Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (0.20)

Likely Renewal:
* None

Bubble:
* The Originals (0.36)

Likely Cancellation:
* Frequency (0.27)
* No Tomorrow (0.26)

Cancelled:
* The Vampire Diaries (0.38) – Series Finale Aired
* Reign (0.21) – Previously-Announced Final Season

Too Early to Call:
* iZombie (0.4)

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