Ah May. Besides being the all important sweeps period, it’s also when networks begin to reveal what they have planned for the next season. News is just beginning to arise regarding what beloved shows are coming back and what is ending soon and the 4 major broadcast networks. There will be more to come as upfronts begin next week, along with which new series will be joining these schedules.
FOX axed most of it’s comedy slate, killing critically reviled Dads, midseason replacement Surviving Jack, and the heartwarming but underwatched Enlisted. They also wiped out midseason’s Rake and the deeply odd Almost Human. As to renewals, nothing surprises more than American Idol continuing to avoid the guillotine for another year. The ratings on this new, semi- rebooted season have been pretty abyssal but it’s still hanging in there. Their summer slate, including the new 24 movie/mini series thing, and their romance reality show that plays on stupid golddiggers, I wanna marry “Harry” where women compete to marry a Prince Harry lookalike that they believe to be the actual royal will probably not do much invigorate their ratings.
Also returning: American Dad, Bob’s Burgers, Bones, Brooklyn 99, Family Guy, The Following, Glee, Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, The Mindy Project, New Girl, The Simpsons, Sleepy Hollow
NBC suffered pretty hard this season. From what I can find, they’ve lost all of the shows they started this season with the exception of 2 (The Blacklist and Chicago Fire) and their summer slate is filled with returning reality shows (American Ninja Warrior, America’s Got Talent, and the rebooted from the dead- again, some more- Last Comic Standing). Nothing about this bodes well. And, with all of their “bubble” shows being totally obvious, with the exception of Community, NBC better hope that they have something up their sleeves for next year. Besides that strange, unwanted Heroes reboot that is ’cause no one cares. No one.
Also returning: The Apprentice, Chicago PD, Grimm, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Parks and Recreation
Update 5/9/14 1148 hrs: Per Deadline.com, NBC this morning has officially cancelled Community, Revolution and renewed About a Boy
ABC is in a similar place having cancelled nearly all of its Fall ’13 slate. While they have yet to decide on the fate of about 17 shows- 5 of which I would expect to be surefire cancellations – they’re sticking with middling successes (that plug into their corporate masters’ tentpoles) like the just renewed Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and their mass cultural touchstones- Scandal. Having read the loglines (I’ll get to those soon) of their newly picked up pilots, I’m not enthused for their future either.
Also Returning: Castle, The Goldbergs, Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family, Once Upon a Time, Resurrection, Revenge
Update 5/9/14 1148: Per Deadline.com and TVLine.com ABC has passed on new seasons of Mixology, The Neighbors, and Trophy Wife while renewing The Middle and Dancing with the Stars
CBS by contrast is in an awesome place. They’ve already renewed basically their entire schedule (many back in February- on in the case of The Big Bang Theory last year) and even their summer season is filled with buzzy watercooler shows (Big Brother, Under the Dome and that weird looking Halle Berry show Extant). What’s not clear though is why they’ve renewed everything. Two and a Half Men has strayed so far from it’s original premise it’s unrecognizable (as well as being sophomoric, and as of this season intensely complicated/mean-spirited), 2 Broke Girls is essentially 1 joke and on the drama front do CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Criminal Minds really have anything left to say to the world?
Also Returning: Elementary, The Good Wife, Hawaii Five- O, Mike & Molly, The Millers, Mom, Person of Interest
And then there’s The CW. Always last, aimed squarely and kids, and filled with the kind of broadcast level HBO-esque action that should really cause more protests than it gets. The CW knows exactly what it is and while their shows are not exactly groundbreaking they really fill their niche well. They’re also more likely to give shows a chance. What other network would air the just renewed historical drama Reign in the same season as the now cancelled The Tomorrow People and Romeo-and-Juliet-but-with-aliens Star Crossed? And still have room in their schedules for 2 vampire shows (renewed series The Vampire Diaries and The Originals) and a standard quirky romantic comedy like the also renewed Hart of Dixie? This is why I love The CW
Also Returning: The 100, Arrow, Beauty and The Beast, Supernatural