With mere days to go before the annual rite of spring turns the broadcast TV business into a moneyed round of show-and-tell, the fate of dozens of legacy series remains up in the ether. Of the 85 scripted shows that have aired at least once since the season began, 38 remain in a sort of existential limbo. (For the non-mathletes among you, that’s 45 percent of the overall stash.)
And while ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox won’t show their hands until Upfront Week, we’ve figured out which of your favorite shows will live to see another sunrise and which ones are fated to become worm food. Having applied Adweek’s proprietary prognostication formula—basically, we toss C3 ratings, studio provenance, syndication prospects and a gambler’s gift for lucky guesses into a rocks glass, soak everything with bourbon and set it all alight—we hereby offer a list of the drowned and the saved.
Let’s start easy. CBS in March once again eschewed with much of the will-it-or-won’t-it theatrics, renewing the vast majority of its flagship series in one glorious burst of flavor. As such, only a handful of new series are on the bubble, while The Mentalist is the veteran outlier. As Hostages and Intelligence had all the drawing power of an Agoraphobics Day parade, they’re history. Meanwhile, the cratering Simon Baker procedural lost its entire raison d’être with the resolution of the Red John narrative.
With a pittance of bubble shows, Fox is another lead-pipe cinch. Its two high-profile enigmas are anything but—a fall 2014 Family Guy-Simpsons crossover will serve as the season premiere for both shows, while Seth MacFarlane’s much-reviled live-action comedy, Dads, was effectively canceled on Dec. 6, when Fox reduced its back-nine order.
Given the sheer number of NBC shows that hover around a 1.0 rating, the Peacock offers a slightly greater degree of difficulty. But let’s just get this over with: Community will get its “Six Seasons and a Movie.” Insiders say that Dan Harmon’s loopy comedy is expected to be given one final 13-episode order. Look for the homegrown Parenthood to return alongside Sony Pictures TV’s Hannibal. About a Boy also will earn a return ticket.
Lastly, ABC always keeps things lively by keeping its renewals under wraps until the day of its upfront presentation. The pulpy Scandal will be back, because, duh. The shows that won’t find a chair when the music stops: The Neighbors, Nashville and every new series but Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Resurrection and The Goldbergs.