Movies & TV / Columns

411’s TV Renewal Predictions: Taken Hanging Tough, Making History in Bad Shape

March 19, 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 week saw NBC give out the only official renewal, granting a third season to the Jennifer Lopez & Ray Liotta-starring cop drama Shades of Blue. The move isn’t a total shocker, but it was a bit unexpected as the show has not been a strong performer in its first two episodes. This is a great example though of where timeslot matters. Shades airs Sunday at 10 PM ET, a time when far less people are watching television. While ratings from other networks doesn’t mean much to a show’s renewal, the fact that CBS’ Elementary is not doing well and ABC’s American Crime is flat-out bombing is real evidence that people just aren’t interested in broadcast network programming in that particular hour. So a 0.94 is passable enough to earn another go-around, at least for NBC.

Speaking of those other 10 PM Sunday shows, things aren’t looking good. ABC loves American Crime because it’s a critically-beloved show that earns a lot of awards prestige, which allows them some great PR and has kept the show on the air despite poor ratings. The show’s 0.5 demo rating premiere last week is brutal by any measure though, and will the network’s love of the award headlines’ importance compared to a ratings disaster. Elementary, meanwhile, is being moved to Likely Cancelled this week. The Sherlock Holmes adaptation has survived four seasons on okay-to-low ratings, but it is now past the eighty-eight episode point where that is considered to be the minimum number for good syndication deal and it hasn’t gotten above a 0.7 since the start of the year. There could always be a small chance for a shortened final season if CBS feels like they need some spackle to fill in somewhere next season, but the odds aren’t great.

CBS has a few more noteworthy points this week as Superior Donuts has been moved out of “Too Early to Call” and onto the Bubble. The show’s 1.34 demo rating is actually pretty solid for the network, but it’s also lost 43% of its ratings from the premiere and that’s not great news. CBS has a habit of cancelling lower-ranking sitcoms even if the ratings are alright and at the moment there’s a bit of a horse race between it and Man With a Plan. With Odd Couple a likely goner and Life in Pieces carrying enough stability for a probable renewal, it will be interesting to see where the Eye goes with its sitcoms. Meanwhile, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders managed to stave off going into Likely Cancelled by virtue of rising from its cringe-worthy premiere. Successive weeks will be a key, but since it’s part of a valuable franchise for CBS it’s not impossible it could get a pass.

Another category move hits the Eye this week, as NCIS: Los Angeles moves to a Likely Renewal. The show isn’t doing amazing numbers, particularly in comparison to its sibling series, but again that 10 PM timeslot factors in. Scorpion is likely to come back on Monday at the same time with similar numbers, so it’s hard to imagine that CBS won’t do the same with an NCIS show. And finally, Variety reports that Mom is looking at a fifth season which is no surprise when you consider the numbers. It’s not official yet, but I don’t think anyone thought the show wouldn’t be coming back.

In additon to its American Crime worries, ABC has bad news on the Thursday front where The Catch dropped a tenth from its already-bad premiere. The fall is a comparable percentage to the fall from last year’s series premiere to second episode, and a second season show as low-rated as this one should be showing a touch more stability. I don’t think it’s a death knell yet considering how dire the rest of ABC’s not-yet-renewed dramas are, but it’s getting close. Meanwhile, FOX’s Making History did not hold up well in its second week, dropping 25%. That’s a big drop without either of the shows around it (The Simpsons and Family Guy) doing the same, by the way. Short of that being a fluke and it returning to the premiere numbers, there’s no real chance of it returning. It would seem like good news for Son of Zorn fans, but that show ended up so low in its final episodes that I fully expect them both to be gone. You simply can’t close out your first season on a 0.6 and a 0.7 while losing 40% of your lead-in audience and expect a second go-around.

NBC has mixed news on the comedy front as its new series Trial & Error premiered decently, though not great. The two-episode premiere on Tuesday started with a 1.4 — an easy renewal point — but then slipped to a 1.0 for the second episode. That’s not encouraging for viewer retention and it will have to hold up well the next couple of weeks to survive. The silver lining for Trial & Error is that the network is weak on comedies and with only two renewed — and Powerless ratings in the toilet — it may still have a solid chance if NBC doesn’t like the state of the pilots that come in. On the drama side, Taken is showing stability as this past week was essentially even with the second episode, which bolsters the show’s chances, and Chicago Justice isn’t looking too rough after four episodes. Blindspot and Timeless’ chances look ever dimmer with that news, as someone’s gotta go in front of that axe.

Over at The CW, there wasn’t a lot of news because…well, they’ve renewed just about all their shows. There was a noteworthy premiere though in The Originals. The Vampire Diaries spin-off returned on Friday, the week after its parent program aired its series finale, with a measly 0.3. This is of course The CW, where ratings are smaller due to a variety of reasons, but even on this network that’s not a good start for a season. That’s down 23% from the season three premiere, although it is even with the season three finale. Regardless, any hopes it might have picked up some of those viewers who came back for the Vampire Diaries series finale proved to be pipe dreams. It’s by no means a lost cause, but that’s not an encouraging start.

ABC

Renewed:
* Grey’s Anatomy (2.17)
* Scandal (1.63)
* The Middle (1.57)
* How to Get Away with Murder (1.30)

Likely Renewal:
* Modern Family (2.20)
* The Goldbergs (1.80)
* Speechless (1.64)
* Black-ish (1.59)
* American Housewife (1.52)
* Designated Survivor (1.42)
* Fresh Off the Boat (1.22)
* Last Man Standing (1.16)

Bubble:
* Once Upon a Time (1.03)
* The Real O’Neals (0.92)
* Dr. Ken (0.89)
* Agents of SHIELD (0.75)

Likely Cancellation:
* Secrets and Lies (0.76)
* Quantico (0.73)
* Time After Time (0.63)

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)

Too Early to Call:
* The Catch (0.75)
* American Crime (0.5)
* Downward Dog (Premieres TBA)
* Imaginary Mary (Premieres March 29th)

CBS

Renewed:
* The Big Bang Theory (3.27)
* NCIS (1.80)

Likely Renewal:
* Kevin Can Wait (1.73)
* The Great Indoors (1.55)
* Bull (1.53)
* Mom (1.45)
* Criminal Minds (1.40)
* NCIS: Los Angeles (1.38)
* 2 Broke Girls (1.36)
* Life in Pieces (1.30)
* Scorpion (1.23)
* NCIS: New Orleans (1.22)
* Hawaii Five-0 (1.20)
* Blue Bloods (1.19)

Bubble:
* Superior Donuts (1.34)
* Man with a Plan (1.33)
* MacGyver (1.12)
* Code Black (0.97)
* Madam Secretary (0.93)

Likely Cancellation:
* The Odd Couple (1.02)
* Pure Genius (0.86)
* Training Day (0.75)
* Elementary (0.67)
* Ransom (0.45)

Cancelled:
* Doubt (0.68)

Too Early to Call:
* Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (0.89)

NBC

Renewed:
* This Is Us (2.68)
* The Good Place (1.35)
* Superstore (1.20)
* Shades of Blue (0.94)

Likely Renewal:
* Chicago Fire (1.61)
* Law and Order: SVU (1.47)
* Chicago PD (1.43)
* Chicago Med (1.30)

Bubble:
* The Blacklist (1.06)

Likely Cancellation:
* Blindspot (1.10)
* Timeless (1.10)
* The Blacklist: Redemption (0.80)
* Powerless (0.81)
* Emerald City (0.72)

Cancelled:
* Grimm (0.80) – Previously-Announced Final Season

Too Early to Call:
* Chicago Justice (1.39)
* Taken (1.34)
* Trial & Error (1.20)
* Great News (Premieres April 25th)

FOX

Renewed:
* Empire (3.19)
* The Simpsons (2.00)
* Lethal Weapon (1.57)
* Star (1.34)
* The Mick (1.26)
* Lucifer (1.10)
* Bob’s Burgers (1.07)

Likely Renewal:
* Family Guy (1.37)
* Gotham (1.14)
* Brooklyn Nine-Nine (1.03)

Bubble:
* 24: Legacy (1.82)
* The Last Man on Earth (0.97)
* New Girl (0.95)

Likely Cancellation:
* Son of Zorn (1.29)
* APB (0.93)
* Pitch (0.83)
* Making History (0.82)
* Rosewood (0.70)
* The Exorcist (0.68)
* Scream Queens (0.61)
* Sleepy Hollow (0.49)

Cancelled:
* Bones (0.79) – Previously-Announced Final Season

Too Early to Call:
* Shots Fired (Premieres March 22nd)
* Prison Break (Premieres April 4th)

The CW

Renewed:
* The Flash (1.09)
* Supergirl (0.80)
* Arrow (0.66)
* Legends of Tomorrow (0.66)
* Supernatural (0.63)
* Riverdale (0.42)
* The 100 (0.38)
* Jane the Virgin (0.38)
* Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (0.20)

Likely Renewal:
* None

Bubble:

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:
* The Originals (0.30)
* iZombie (Premieres April 4th)