Some bubble shows were saved in the 11th hour as the major broadcast networks roll out their Fall 2013 schedules this week in lavish upfront presentations taking place in New York City. Saved from cancellation are:
Nashville (ABC), Season 1; Country music filled soap returns for a 2nd season with the promise of more great music and lots of diva drama between battling music superstars Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). Although it struggled initially DVR viewership continues to increase along with solid performances and storylines so ABC’s sticking with it.
The Middle (ABC), Season 5; returns for a 6th season to pad the episode bank now that the series has gone into syndication. The Middle, starring Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn remains a solid performer for ABC, with 7.5 viewers scoring a 2.0 rating with 18-49’s.
Suburgatory (ABC), Season 2; in another surprise renewal, Suburgatory, starring Jane Levy, Jeremy Sisto, comedy vet Cheryl Hines and Carly Chaikin returns for a 3rd season. Given its fluctuating and declining ratings throughout Season 2 most predicted Suburgatory’s days were numbered. ABC’s rationale for brining it back is somewhat inexplicable and may simply be an attempt by ABC to keep its current comedy line-up stable while developing better alternatives.
The Neighbors (ABC), Season 1; in one of the biggest renewal surprises, The Neighbors comes back for a 2nd season. Despite being almost universally panned by critics out of the box the show demonstrated constant and steady growth. Aliens Simon Templeman and charming Toks Olagundoye lead a pack of talented newcomers, evoking the quirky out of this world comedy of long time ratings champ 3rd Rock From the Sun, with vets Jami Gertz and Lenny Venito also on board.
Last Man Standing (ABC), Season 2; Tim Allen led sitcom returns for a 3rd season. Despite a shortened season and move to Friday nights “Last Man Standing” held steady in the ratings with 1.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic. That’s a solid number for a broadcast series on a weekday, let alone a Friday.
Elementary (CBS), Season 1; popular newcomer starring Johnny Lee Miller as modern day Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as sidekick Watson coming back for a sophomore run. Elementary was one of this season’s few breakouts amongst all the networks so its renewal is not really a that big a surprise given how many other new shows failed to get out of the gate.
Blue Bloods (CBS), Season 2; perennial favorite Tom Selleck returning for a 3rd season with Bridget Moynahan and Donnie Wahlberg. Despite low ratings for its 2nd season this CBS produced solid family police drama plays to well to CBS’s key older demographic. It’s almost guaranteed to be renewed for a 4th season as well to hit the magic 88 episodes needed for syndication.
Criminal Minds (CBS), Season 8; following a standoff with female cast members, Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook, who demanded salaries commensurate with their male co-stars and tense negotiations with Showrunner Erica Messer, CBS is bringing back the #1 rated Wednesday night drama with the entire cast on board for another 2 years. Now going into it’s 9th season the show remains a consistently in the Top 20 and has a solid 15 million base of fans, big numbers in today’s world of constantly declining broadcast ratings.
The Mentalist (CBS), Season 5; despite slipping numbers The Mentalist comes back for a 6th season due to stable viewership. Next season will continue Patrick Jane’s (Simon Baker) pursuit of the elusive Red John with the added twist raised in the season finale – are Red John and Patrick Jane one and the same? Co-stars Robin Tunney and Emmanuelle Chriqui remain on board.
Two & a Half Men (CBS), Season 9; rises from the dead once again with stars Ashton Kutcher and John Crier remaining for a 10th season, with Half Man Angus T. Jones finally departing after a shaky year, although the door is open to his returning for occasional guest stints. Despite the off camera drama, Two and a Half Men still posts ratings growth and is up from last season, ranking 2nd amongst all primetime comedies for adults 18-49.
Hart of Dixie (CW), Season 2; the sophomore series starring popular “OC” alum Rachel Bilson as Dr. Zoe Hart returns for a 3rd season. Hart’s ratings have averaged around a low 0.6 rating and while those numbers aren’t great the show does well in on-line viewing. It also is one of CW’s few remaining offerings (along with The Carrie Diaries) that holds appeal for its key younger female base.
Nikita (CW), Season 3; to the surprise of many, CW is bringing back terminally ratings challenged Nikita for a limited run. With a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49, Nikita has the dubious distinction of bring the lowest-rated broadcast show to get a renewal this year. In fact, it’s very likely the lowest-rated renewed broadcast drama ever. CW has even left the door open to bringing Nikita back for additional limited runs after the 4th season. Its renewal may be due in part to creator Craig Silverstein, who has a hot new pilot, Turn, at AMC. Additionally, Nikita ranks as one of the CW’s top series on social media and, because of its brand, has been a strong international seller for producing studio Warner Bros TV.
The Beauty & The Beast (CW), Season 1; starring Kristin Kreuk and Jay Bunyan in its title roles, comes back for a 2nd season. Sandwiched between The Vampire Diaries and supernaturally themed newcomer, The Originals, the surprise renewal of low rated Beauty and the Beast is generally viewed as a place filler by CW, given the low number of shows in their current development slate that were picked up.
The Carrie Diaries (CW), Season 1; comes back for a 2nd season, starring young SJP doppelganger AnnaSophia Robb. Like Hart of Dixie, The Carrie Diaries remains a strong on-line ratings and social media success, particularly on Hulu. That could be the main reason for its renewal.
The Mindy Project (FOX), Season 1; Mindy Kaling’s freshman Mindy Project returns for a 2nd season. Although soft in the ratings the series has done well with critics and is a favorite of Fox brass, probably the #1 factor for it’s being given a 2nd shot.
Glee (FOX), Season 4: in a real shocker Glee was spared from its much anticipated execution by Fox who re-upped for not 1 but 2 additional seasons, its 5th and 6th. A-list guest stars will continue but with cast changes and shake-ups rumored it remains to be seen how Fox will revitalize Glee from its current seemingly unstoppable ratings slide.
The X-Factor (FOX), Season 2; who could deny Simon Cowell? Certainly not Fox. With Idol plummeting in a seemingly ceaseless ratings slide Fox is taking another shot with X-Factor, hoping to hang on to its music dominance. Judges for the 3rd season have yet to be named and format changes are rumored. But Fox continues on with its valiant attempt to build X-Factor into a brand on par with its far more successful British counterpart.
Parenthood (NBC), Season 4; solid family drama Parenthood with its stellar ensemble cast including Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard, Peter Krause, Monica Potter and Craig T. Nelson returns for its 5th season to anchor NBC’s new Thursday family themed programming block. Preceded by 4 new family comedies, solid ratings and a loyal viewer base made Parenthood the logical choice.
Community (NBC), Season 4; destined for the chopping block NBC makes no secret that fan loyalty and their heavy campaigning led to Community’s belated renewal for a 5th season. With its Fall schedule already filled fans will have to wait for Community’s return until Spring 2013.
Chicago Fire (NBC), Season 1; NBC has not only committed to a 2nd season of Chicago Fire, but the Peacock’s top programming execs are so committed to turning it into their next big franchise they’re already launching spinoff Chicago Police as part of their Fall 2013 line-up. With NBC stalwart Dick Wolfe (Law and Order) at the helm and a strong ensemble cast Chicago Fire’s renewal is really no surprise.