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Bubble Watch: Latest Status Report On ‘Elementary’, ‘Exorcist’, ‘Taken’, ‘Once’, ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ & Other Series In Limbo

Deadline logo Deadline 5/6/2017 Nellie Andreeva
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We are on the cusp of the annual flurry of renewals and cancellations when the fate of dozens of series will be decided within just a few days. Here is one more look at the broadcast scripted series whose fate beyond this season has not been determined yet, along with assessment of their chances. You can stay up to date with the status of the current TV series with Deadline’s Series Renewal Status Scorecard.

CBS  already has renewed 19 series for next season, leaving only several in limbo.

The highest profile CBS series yet to learn their fate are veterans Elementary and 2 Broke GirlsElementary surprisingly did not make the list of early renewals for the first time, spending its first spring on the bubble. I hear the crime drama, 100% owned by CBS, is expected to return and is staffing for next season. While its linear ratings are pretty soft, the series makes money for the company via its off-network and international deals.

2 Broke Girls, now in Season 6, is in the midst of tough renewal negotiations between CBS and producer Warner Bros. TV. The outcome is still up in the air, with a limited, 13-episode pickup a possibility.

CBS

I hear there is no hope for freshman comedy The Great Indoors, which has struggled in the ratings, especially in its two tryouts on Monday night. Also unlikely to continue is The Odd Couple reboot after a low-rated third season. Medical drama Code Black clinched a last-minute renewal last season and, with a solid pitch for next season, I hear it’s very much in the mix, likely for a shorter order. The other CBS bubble drama series from ABC Studios/CBS TV Studios, the low-rated Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, is not expected to come back. Ditto for three freshman CBS drama series which have been unofficially canceled, midseason dramas Doubt, which was yanked from the schedule after two airings; Training Day, which was banished to Saturdays and also tragically lost its star Bill Paxton; and fall entry Pure Genius, which did not get a back order after an anemic initial run.

ABC so far only has renewed the original TGIT lineup of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder and comedy The Middle.

ABC

On the drama side, freshman drama Designated Survivor, a strong delayed viewing and international performer (ABC Studios co-produces with indie Mark Gordon Co.) is fully expected to come back and just hired a new showrunner. Also expected to come back is veteran Once Upon a Time, which is in a process of negotiating deals with four cast members who would lead a planned reimagining, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle and Colin O’Donoghue. The show also has been signing high-level writer-producers for next season. Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., which serves as a solid marketing platform for the Disney-owned Marvel, also is getting renewed I hear. EvenQuantico, which has been struggling this season with some pretty dismal linear ratings after a solid first year, appears to have a decent shot at continuing as it makes money for ABC Studios via international and SVOD deals. If that happens, I hear there is a plan for the writers room to move from New York to Los Angeles.

The Catch‘s ratings are very low even after the revamp heading into Season 1. Because of its pedigree, being part of Shondaland, and because the show is liked creatively by ABC and does well enough internationally for ABC Studios on the strength of its lead cast, I hear there is a small chance for it to come back. ABC’s prestige drama American Crime is heavily on the bubble because of its low ratings. While it is a long shot, based on its acclaim, I hear there is a very small chance of a possible limited order, like 6 episodes. Not expected to come back is anthology crime drama Secrets & Lies, with swiftly pulled midseason drama Time After Time and fellow freshmen Notorious andConviction also gone.

ABC

The bulk of ABC’s comedy lineup looks hopeful to return though flagships Modern Family and The Goldbergs, which come from outside studios, are both in difficult renewal negotiations.Black-ish and American Housewife, both from ABC Studios, are expected to come back. Speechless and Fresh Off the Boat, both from 20th TV, look good, though another comedy from the studio, veteran Last Man Standing, once again is in limbo despite solid Friday numbers.  Not expected to continue is low-rated sophomore family comedy The Real O’Neals, with the network’s newest half-hour addition, Imaginary Mary also looking unlikely.

NBC has renewed breakout drama This Is Us, Shades Of Blue and comedies Superstore and The Good Place. 

Dick Wolf is holding the key to NBC’s 2017-18 schedule. He controls five drama series — half of NBC’s dramas in contention for next season.

Wolf is in the midst of a renewal negotiation with NBC that would determine the fate of all of his series. Law & Order: SVU is an institution and still doing well, 18 seasons in, and Chicago Fire, now in Season 5, or Chicago PD, in Season 4, are solid ratings performers for the network, though the newer Chicago shows –Chicago Med and Chicago Justice — may not both come back. There had been some chatter about Chicago Med being possibly a bit more vulnerable but it’s all in flux. In a challenging off-network marketplace for dramas, there have been no syndication sales yet for Chicago Fire, now in Season 5, or Chicago PD, in Season 4, likely leading to reexamining the long-term business plan for the Chicago franchise.

Modestly rated midseason action thriller Taken, which does well internationally for NBCUniversal, is looking good for renewal, likely with some creative changes.The Blacklist, one of NBC’s top dramas in Live+7, is in renewal negotiations. While it’s expected to come back, its low-rated spinoff, The Blacklist: Redemption, is not. Freshman Timeless and sophomore Blindspot both are in limbo. Both have modest but loyal audience, appealing casts and do well in delayed viewing and both are from outside studios. I hear NBC is not losing money on them but it may come down to a scheduling decision on both, with their renewal contingent on the network’s needs for performers with built-in fan base. Freshman drama Emerald City has been canceled.

Of NBC’s midseason comedy entries, true crime spoof Trial & Error looks promising to return for another installment, while DC-themed Powerless has been pulled from the schedule and not expected to come back. Two weeks into its run, fellow newbie Great News also appears unlikely barring a big ratings upswing next week. The network is yet to premiere Marlon.

Fox has renewed flagship Empire as well as Lucifer and freshmen Lethal Weapon, Star and The Mick.

It is unclear why Batman drama Gotham has not been renewed yet but it is expected to be. And despite not getting a back order, the well-received new dramaExorcistalso looks good to come back. Meanwhile, fellow freshman drama Pitch has been canceled. Sophomore crime procedural Rosewood and supernatural drama Sleepy Hollow are both heavily on the bubble and heading toward cancellation, which could only be thwarted by the network’s possible drama needs with only four hourlong pilots produced. Both low-rated series have something going for them — Rosewood has very modest budget and Sleepy Hollow sells well internationally. Based on its legacy, 24: Legacy has a decent shot at coming back despite a very rocky first season. Fellow midseason drama entry APB is not expected to continue.

On the comedy side, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a good utility player, is expected to return. New Girl could get a limited, 13-episode final season. The Last Man On Earth has become increasingly narrow but looks promising to come back, while freshmen Son of Zorn and Making History appear unlikely.

The CW has renewed almost all of its current scripted series — 9 in total — only leaving midseason entries The Originals and iZombie for a May decision. Rob Thomas’ iZombie has been the hotter and expected to return. The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals has done a respectable job on Friday and is in contention though the network also likes all six of its pilots, so it will likely come down to choosing between bringing back The Originals or picking up an extra new series. New fall series No Tomorrow and Frequency are dead.

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