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411’s TV Renewal Predictions: X-Files Is in Danger, But Not Because of Gillian Anderson

February 6, 2018 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
The X-Files - Ghouli

Welcome to 411’s official renewal predictions for the 2017 – 2018 television season! I’m Jeremy Thomas and after last season’s late-era run, we’re back to keep predictions going from fall going forward. The fall season is now in full launch this past week 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 next year.

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

While it’s a fairly light week in terms of actual ratings prediction changes, there are still a couple significant moves thanks to midseason shows. First, let’s take a look at NBC’s newest show — and it’s newest Likely Cancellation. AP Bio had a “preview” premiere on Thursday in a special timeslot before moving to its regular timeslot on February 25th. The show had a 0.8 rating in the 18 – 49 demo and for a first episode, that’s a terrible start. As we all know if we pay attention to ratings trends, almost every show drops from there. And a 0.8 isn’t a renewable number for a freshman show at its low point, much less for the series premiere.

So what does the likely death of AP Bio mean for the rest of NBC’s lineup? At the moment, not much. Midseason replacement performance often determines the fates of borderline performers, it’s true. But NBC doesn’t have any sitcoms on the Bubble right now and all of their shows are either looking solid to return or solid to be cancelled. While AP Bio is in bad shape, it’s still an improvement on the horrendous numbers that Great News was delivering. If anything, it likely means that fellow mideason sitcom Champions has a little room to breath when it debuts in March.

Over at Fox, things are looking bad for a couple of other midseason shows. The biggest of the two is The X-Files, which fell to a 0.9 last week. That’s not at all good, especially for a show with this much name value. There are a lot of factors already working against the show, such as Gillian Anderson’s announced departure after this season and Chris Carter intimating he won’t make more without her. But if the show was a hit, Fox would try to find a way to make it work with or without Scully. Currently, it’s not a hit. For comparison’s sake, this is the level that 24: Legacy was at, and it didn’t get renewed last season. The continued erosion of network ratings averages may help X-Files, but it’s at the very edge of the Bubble at this point. Any further and it will be a Likely Cancellation next week.

As for The Resident, it was at the same level of The X-Files last week and doesn’t have the benefit of name value or legacy. The Resident’s ratings are looking okay on the whole thanks to that inflated number after the NFC Championship game, but it’s not going to last and that is viewed by executives in context. It’s more likely to stabilize than X-Files so it’s staying on the Bubble too, but just barely. Both of these shows’ problems are music to the ears of Lethal Weapon and Gotham fans, though. Both those shows are performing at a middling but decent level and have a lot more stability than the midseason shows, meaning they get a boost. Fox still has some shows to premiere, but right now Gotham and Lethal Weapon are on the verge of likely renewal.

On ABC, nothing has really changed. Everything is looking stable-ish right now and the big question marks will remain question marks. The most notable movement was How to Get Away with Murder, which saw a rise this week. ABC has somewhat gotten out of business with Shondaland, as she’s going to Netflix, but thigns are still moving ahead thanks to Grey’s Anatomy and its spinoff. If they can still get good results out of Murder, they will. The jury’s still somewhat out, but it’s looking stronger this week.

While CBS is pretty solidly in a holding pattern this week, its sister network saw positive movement, as The CW’s Jane the Virgin ticked up on Friday. The net loves this show because of its critical acclaim and past awards, and it has helped establish a sliver brand off of the slate of DC shows alongside My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Jane is still on the Bubble, but only until we see how Life Sentence performs when it bows in March. If that show falls short, renewing Jane — albeit for a likely shortened final season — seems the logical choice.

ABC

Renewed:
* Modern Family (1.73)
* The Goldbergs (1.54)

Likely Renewal:
* Grey’s Anatomy (2.11)
* The Good Doctor (1.85)
* American Housewife (1.30)
* Speechless (1.16)
* Black-ish (1.12)
* Fresh Off the Boat (1.05)

Bubble:
* How to Get Away with Murder (0.95)
* Designated Survivor (0.81)
* Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (0.71)
* Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (0.60)

Likely Cancellation:
* Marvel’s Inhumans (0.61)
* Once Upon a Time (0.55)

Cancelled:
* The Middle (1.36) – Final season previously announced
* Scandal (1.21) – Final season previously announced
* The Mayor (0.82)
* Ten Days in the Valley (0.35)

Too Early to Call:
* Alex, Inc. (Premieres March 28th)
* The Crossing (Premieres April 2nd)
* Deception (Premieres March 11th)
* For The People (Premieres March 13th)
* Grey’s Anatomy Spinoff (Premieres March 29th)
* Quantico (Premieres April 26th)
* Roseanne (Premieres March 27th)
* Splitting Up Together (Premieres March 27th)

CBS

Renewed:
* Big Bang Theory (2.92)
* Young Sheldon (2.37)

Likely Renewal:
* Mom (1.50)
* NCIS (1.45)
* Kevin Can Wait (1.29)
* Bull (1.21)
* Life in Pieces (1.18)
* Seal Team (1.09)
* Man With a Plan (1.07)
* Criminal Minds (1.01)
* Hawaii Five-0 (1.01)
* NCIS: New Orleans (1.01)
* NCIS: Los Angeles (0.96)
* Blue Bloods (0.94)
* Code Black (Premieres April 25th)

Bubble:
* SWAT (1.02)
* Superior Donuts (0.95)
* MacGyver (0.86)
* Scorpion (0.84)

Likely Cancellation:
* 9JKL (0.97)
* Madam Secretary (0.67)

Cancelled:
* Me, Myself & I (1.00)
* Wisdom of the Crowd (0.91)

Too Early to Call:
* Elementary (Premieres April 23rd)

NBC

Renewed:
* This Is Us (2.75)
* Will & Grace (1.70)
* The Good Place (1.14)

Likely Renewal:
* Chicago Med (1.31)
* Law & Order: SVU (1.30)
* Chicago PD (1.20)
* Superstore (1.13)
* Chicago Fire (1.11)
* The Blacklist (0.97)
* Blindspot (0.66)
* Shades of Blue (Premieres Midseason)

Bubble:
None

Likely Cancellation:
* Law & Order True Crime (1.05)
* The Brave (0.92)
* AP Bio (0.80)
* Great News (0.73)
* Taken (0.48)

Cancelled:
None

Too Early to Call:
None

FOX

Renewed:
* The Simpsons (1.89)
* 9-1-1 (1.66)
* The Orville (1.25)
* The Gifted (1.01)

Likely Renewal:
* Empire (1.92)
* Bob’s Burgers (1.38)
* Star (1.35)
* Family Guy (1.29)
* Lucifer (0.89)
* The Mick (0.78)

Bubble:
* The Resident (1.50)
* Ghosted (1.17)
* The X-Files (1.07)
* Lethal Weapon (1.04)
* The Last Man on Earth (0.90)
* Gotham (0.87)

Likely Cancellation:
* L.A. to Vegas (0.91)
* Brooklyn Nine-Nine (0.66)
* The Exorcist (0.41)

Cancelled:
* New Girl (Final season previously announced, premieres April 10th)

Too Early to Call:

The CW

Renewed:

Likely Renewal:
* The Flash (0.88)
* Black Lightning (0.72)
* Supernatural (0.60)
* Supergirl (0.55)
* Riverdale (0.55)
* Legends of Tomorrow (0.55)
* Arrow (0.49)
* Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (0.22)

Bubble:
* Jane the Virgin (0.25)

Likely Cancellation:
* Dynasty (0.21)

Cancelled:
* Valor (0.21)
* The Originals (Final season previously announced, premieres April 20th)

Too Early to Call:
* The 100 (Premieres April 24th)
* iZombie (Premieres February 26th)
* Life Sentence (Premieres March 7th)