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Upfronts 2017: Networks by the Numbers

Variety logo Variety 5/18/2017 Elizabeth Wagmeister

The marathon week of broadcast Upfronts is officially over. Though the week was jam-packed, per usual, if this year’s presentations seemed slightly less crowded — that’s because they were.

Overall, the networks had less new shows to present to the rooms of advertisers because series orders are down this year, as previously reported by Variety. Across the Big Four and the CW, just 38 new scripted shows were ordered for the 2017-2018 television season — vs. 42 series that were greenlit last year. In fact, this year’s orders marks the lowest tally in five years.

Here’s a look at the breakdown for each network’s 2017 vs. 2016 series orders.


Even with their big bet on the “American Idol” reboot, which will fill up time on their midseason schedule, the Alphabet was the only Big Four network to order more series than last year. The “Roseanne” revival is certain to get attention — despite the awkward banter among the cast at the upfront. And of course the net is still in big business with Shondaland, with a legal drama “For the People” and a “Grey’s Anatomy” firefighter spinoff in the works.

2017 series orders: 12 total (8 dramas, 4 comedies)

2016 series orders: 9 total (5 dramas, 4 comedies)

Renewals: 14 in 2017; 16 in 2016

Cancellations : 10 in 2017; 10 in 2016

Click here for ABC’s 2017-2018 schedule.


Consistency is the name of the game at CBS. Les Moonves and his team know what works for them, and that’s what they’re planning on delivering yet again next season. “Criminal Minds” alum Shemar Moore is headlining an action drama, “SWAT,” while “The Big Bang Theory” has a spinoff that was well-received as the upfront with “Young Sheldon,” starring a pint-sized version of the titular fan-favorite character from the flagship series.

2017 series orders: 8 total (4 dramas, 4 comedies)

2016 series orders: 8 total (5 dramas, 3 comedies)

Renewals: 18 in 2017; 16 in 2016

Cancellations : 7 in 2017; 8 in 2016

Click here for CBS’s 2017-2018 schedule.


The Peacock stayed in house for all of its series orders this season, even though last season’s big hit, “This Is Us,” came from 20th Century Fox. But all the buzz is about the “Will & Grace” reboot, which will anchor the network’s return to a “Must-See TV” revival on Thursday nights.

2017 series orders: 8 total (5 dramas, 3 comedies)

2016 series orders: 11 total (6 dramas, 5 comedies)

Renewals: 14 in 2017; 10 in 2016

Cancellations : 4 in 2017; 10 in 2016

Click here for NBC’s 2017-2018 schedule.


Like NBC, Fox stayed in-house for all of its series as well, betting big on Seth McFarlane’s unique live-action series, “The Orville.” “The Gifted” looks to be a solid prospect — the trailer for the Marvel series racked over 30 million views in just the first two days.

2017 series orders: 7 total (5 dramas, 2 comedies)

2016 series orders: 11 total (8 dramas, 3 comedies)

Renewals: 14 in 2017; 12 in 2016

Cancellations : 8 in 2017; 7 in 2016

Click here for Fox’s 2017-2018 schedule.

The CW

The CW knows its audience. The superhero genre has performed well for the network, so midseason will bring another to its slate, “Black Lightning.” The buzz factor goes to the “Dynasty” reboot, which is being shepherded by producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, and made noise in the theater during the young-skewing network’s upfront.

2017 series orders: 4 total

2016 series orders: 3 total

Renewals: 11 in 2017; 12 in 2016

Cancellations : 4 in 2017; 1 in 2016

Click here for CW’s 2017-2018 schedule.

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