We are only month away from the broadcast upfront week where the networks will unveil their fall schedules but a significant portion of nets’ lineups for next season remain murky. Yet to learn their fate are not only middling performers and other shows that have found themselves on the bubble for one reason or another, but also highly rated series whose renewal is subject to complex negotiations with a non-affiliated studio, such as ABC’s The Goldbergs (Sony TV) and The Conners (Werner Entertainment), CBS’ FBI franchise and The Equalizer (Universal TV) as well as Fox’s 9-1-1 franchise and New Amsterdam (20th TV), or even with the network’s own studio and/or top talent, like is the case with NBC’s Law & Order and Law & Order: Organized Crime and CBS’ Blue Bloods.
While these shows are fully expected to continue, the renewals of a slew of bubble shows will depend on the strength of the broadcast networks’ crop of 2022 pilots as they will be competing against them for a spot on the schedule.
Here is a close look at the scripted broadcast series that are yet to be renewed or canceled, with analysis of their current status and prospects. Next up, Deadline’s Pilot Panic roundup of pilot buzz, which will launch later this month.
ABC, which is seeing off veteran comedy black-ish, has so far renewed its strongest dramas, Shondaland’s Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19, stalwart The Rookie as well as red-hot newcomer Abbott Elementary. Deals are being worked out for veteran family comedies The Goldbergs and The Conners to come back, along with sophomore drama Big Sky. Two other half-hours, freshman The Wonder Years and sophomore Home Economics, also look promising to continue.
Drama A Million Little Things, now in its fourth season, is a true bubble show, with its odds at 50-50. The series, which has drawn praise for its depiction of complex issues such as mental health, has been asked by ABC not to wrap its storyline in the Season 4 finale, I hear, which could be a positive sign for its future. Like Dan Fogelman did with This Is Us, AMLT creator DJ Nash had pitched the series with a pre-conceived ending, so a possible cancellation would deny the ensemble drama of proper ending.
Freshman drama Queens is not likely to come back.
CBS has renewed the NCIS franchise, CSI: Vegas, comedies Young Sheldon, The Neighborhood, Bob Hearts Abishola, breakout hit Ghosts as well as drama S.W.A.T., while veteran Bull is ending its run this season.
There are several non-bubble shows that are yet to be picked up, more notably, CBS’ top scripted series, FBI. The flagship, as well as the other two FBI dramas, Most Wanted and International, are currently in renewal negotiations with lead studio Universal Television, along with two other CBS dramas Universal TV is co-producing, The Equalizer and Magnum PI. I hear the conversation is complicated but sources expect deals to be made for all five shows to come back.
Blue Bloods has been a rock solid Friday night anchor for CBS and is expected to remain one with a Season 13 renewal contingent on star and executive producer Tom Selleck closing a new deal, which is pending, I hear.
For a second year in a row, the Chuck Lorre-produced comedies B Positive and United States Of Al are on the bubble. Last year, both of them ultimately got renewed. This time around, there is talk that only one of the two may join Lorre’s Young Sheldon on the 2022-23 schedule.
CBS has had one of the strongest freshmen classes in awhile, with three formidable new additions already renewed for Season 2, Ghosts, NCIS; Hawai’i and FBI: International. Of the other two freshmen, drama Good Sam does not look good. Comedy How We Roll just launched a couple of weeks ago, so the jury is still out . So far, the sitcom been a so-so performer with lead-in retention in the ballpark of B Positive and United States of Al.
Fox has renewed its animated slate as well as freshman drama The Cleaning Lady. Like CBS, the network is yet to pick up its top-rated scripted series, 9-1-1 and spinoff 9-1-1: Lone Star. The duo, along with medical drama The Resident, which also has been a solid performer, are in renewal negotiations with 20th Television. All are expected to continue but talks are complex.
On the comedy side, Call Me Kat is expected to get another go as the network is said to be happy with the show’s creative direction under the new Season 2 showrunner and her writing staff. I hear Fox brass also are high on freshman comedy Pivoting, which is looking good for renewal contingent on trimming the budget for Season 2, boosted by strong showing on Hulu. It’s early to make a definitive call on midseason comedy Welcome To Flatch but it seems to be playing too young for Fox, with its linear ratings the lowest of any series on the network this season.
Fox already canceled dramedy The Big Leap, with fellow freshman Our Kind Of People heavily on the bubble. There were some positive signs early on as the soapy drama has done well on Tubi but OKOP‘s chances of renewal have gone down recently, largely due to its high cost.
NBC, which is saying goodbye to its flagship drama This Is Us, has renewed freshman standout La Brea and veteran The Blacklist, and has the Chicago franchise, Law & Order: SVU and New Amsterdam coming back next season as part of three-year renewals. (Next season will be medical drama New Amsterdam‘s last.)
Law & Order: Organized Crime and revived Law & Order are NBC’s highest-rated scripted series that have not been renewed yet. Both are full expected to come back.
On the comedy side, freshman American Auto, from Superstore creator Justin Spitzer, is considered a slam-dunk for a pickup, with sophomore Young Rock, executive produced by and featuring Dwayne Johnson, also looking good. There are positive signs for Mr. Mayor, based on its pedigree, coming from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, and its streaming performance, with feelers out about a potential Season 3 writers room. Sophomore Kenan and freshman Grand Crew are heavily on the bubble, though the former involves arguably the two top players on Saturday Night Live, executive producer Lorne Michael and longest-running cast member Kenan Thompson.
NBC recently canceled freshman drama Ordinary Joe, with fellow first-year drama The Endgame, not looking good.
For the first time in years, the CW finds itself with about half of its series on the bubble. The network recently renewed its strongest performers, All American, The Flash, Kung Fu, Nancy Drew, Riverdale, Superman & Lois and Walker. That is just over half the number of series the CW renewed in January-February the past two years (12 and 13, respectively).
The pending ownership change is clearly a factor in the CW’s renewal strategy this year. The massive renewal of virtually the entire slate we have seen in years past works for the two studios that supply the CW, Warner Bros. TV and CBS Studios, and their parent companies that co-own the network. The CW’s new majority owner is expected to have a say in the remaining renewals, with Warner Bros. getting acquired last Friday additionally complicating decisions. Even if the CW is not bought by the upfronts, the network is not expected to renew shows en masse, making for some tough calls.
Believed to be most vulnerable are low-rated series like freshman The 4400 as well as Dynasty, whose previous renewals had been motivated by the money the series generates for CBS Studios through the show’s Netflix deal. Charmed and Legacies‘ odds are probably a little better, with Legacies‘ ties to one of the CW’s signature series, The Vampire Diaries, giving it a slight edge.
Then there are the three remaining DC series, veteran Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman and freshman Naomi, which will be in consideration alongside DC pilot Gotham Knights. Word is that about half of the four projects will make it to next season. Batwoman and Gotham Knights are set in a similar universe, so it is possible that one of them is picked up for next season. It will be a difficult decision on Legends of Tomorrow, which is getting old, currently in its seventh season, having gone through a string of cast changeovers. The CW’s President Mark Pedowitz is known for giving the network’s long-running series a proper goodbye, so a final season would be logical solution but, given the uncertainty over the CW’s ownership, the final decisions may not be the network’s to make.
Yet to premiere new seasons are the network’s Stargirl, Roswell, New Mexico and In the Dark.