The network upfronts arrive next month, and while there used to be a flurry of activity ahead of the announcements for the new fall shows, there’s considerably less press devoted to it these days. Part of it is because producing television shows, even on network television, has become a year-round activity, and part of it is that the networks make many of their cancelation and renewal decisions earlier in the season.
Mostly, however, it’s because broadcast network television has fallen out of favor with audiences, and it’s rare that a series on the bubble cultivates enough of a following for viewers to care one way or another if a middling performer is canceled. There are a dozen shows likely to be canceled in the next couple of weeks which even avid television viewers probably won’t miss. Shows like Doubt (starring Katherine Heigl), Pure Genius (starring Dermot Mulroney), Time After Time, Notorious, Conviction, The Catch, and Imaginary Mary are not likely to return next season, but will anyone notice. There are a few more recognizable titles like 2 Broke Girls, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Gotham on the bubble, as well, but their fates have less to do with ratings and more to do with contract negotiations (all three are likely renewals).
Meanwhile, some other recognizable series like Sleepy Hollow and Quantico are likely at the end of their run. 24: Legacy is iffy (which means that Heath could return to The Walking Dead) while New Girl, which has anchored Tuesday nights on Fox for years, may come back for a shortened final season to allow the sitcom a proper ending.
However, there really aren’t any shows this year whose cancellations would lead to riots. Will anyone care if Matthew Perry’s The Odd Couple gets canned? Did anyone realize that it was still on? (It is, and in its third season). There is no Firefly or Freaks and Geeks or even a Community this spring. There’s not even an Enlisted or a The Grinder (RIP The Grinder). But there are a few shows on the bubble that would elicit a few tersely worded tweets if they were cancelled.
Let’s look at the odds of their return:
The CBS procedural may not be hugely popular in its Sunday night time slot, where it’s seen by about 7.5 million viewers, but Hulu viewers who have come to rely on Elementary to keep them company while they are making dinner or folding laundry would be chagrined if new episodes stopped appearing on the streaming service. Viewers who gobble up reruns of Elementary on WGN would likewise be disappointed if there weren’t any new episodes to break up repeats of How I Met Your Mother and Blue Bloods. That’s exactly why Elementary is likely to be renewed. It fetches $3 million an episode in syndication, and CBS owns the series, so they’re not likely to give up that revenue.
Chances of Renewal: 90%