2017 can't come fast enough, because a new year means a new beginning. Well, except for many TV shows, because a new year can mean the beginning of the end for them! Suits inside network HQs will have their eyes trained on several series to see if they're worth keeping around on the next schedule, and the real decisions start now as competition from the development slate ramps up. Add in notorious ratings drop offs after the holiday break, and the turn of the calendar means the pressure's on.
That's why the new year is also the best time for fans of these troubled shows to rally and give network executives less reasons to cancel them. We've picked out eight shows on the bubble that need your help more than ever. Start watching them! Tell your neighbors to watch them! Turn all the TVs in Best Buy to them! Whatever you have to do to do your part.
1. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The Marvel brand may be *cash register sound* at the box office, but it hasn't fared as well on network television (it's doing aiiight on Netflix, though). ABC, a subsidiary of Marvel-owning Disney, is doing its best to take advantage of corporate synergy with Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but overnight ratings are at an all-time low for the show in Season 4 and the winter finale brought in the third-smallest audience for the show ever at just 2.37 million viewers.
That normally would mean insta-cancellation, but S.H.I.E.L.D. fans appear to be preoccupied with other things because the DVR stats are fantastic. The second-to-last episode before break netted the second-highest Live+7 DVR bump on network TV in terms of percentage of viewers and ratings go, more than doubling its overnight performance (it was second only to Designated Survivor; DVR stats for the winter finale weren't available as of press time). DVR and streaming data is the future of network television, so this bodes well for S.H.I.E.L.D., but fans will have to beef up those overnights — DVR stats don't sell advertisers on buying commercials — if it's going to make it to Season 5. And ABC wants it to continue, if the multiple attempts at a spin-off are any indication.
Early in its first season, Quantico was looking like the next sudsy ABC cornerstone and an exemplar of acting in a towel. Now in Season 2, one out of two ain't bad (those towels deserve a SAG award). The most recent episode fell to 2.29 million viewers (disclaimer: it aired on the Sunday after Thanksgiving), but that's well over a million viewers less than the numbers that had execs so worried in the big second half plunge of Season 1. Like other ABC shows, the DVR gain is monstrous (+100 percent in both 18-49 rating and total viewers) though it's less impressive given the low number of the overnights. ABC is moving the series to Monday nights to avoid the Sunday night clusterf***, so it's clear that the network wants the show to succeed. But what took ABC so long to adjust its schedule? When it returns in January, both The Walking Dead and Sunday Night Football will be long over.
3. Code Black
Given the high standards of CBS, we didn't expect a second season of Code Black so we're obviously even more doubtful of a third season of the medical drama. Fortunately for the show, ratings have been remarkably steady — the Rob Lowe effect? — and nothing is more valued by networks right now than reliability. Unfortunately, they've been reliably in the lower half of CBS' shows, meaning if its 6-million faithful don't continue to watch, it'll definitely be a goner.
In its first season, Elementary averaged over 10 million viewers and once pulled in more than 20 million viewers for a single episode (OK, it was after the Super Bowl, but still). Now? It doesn't take advanced deduction to say "not so much." The current fifth season is lucky to get over five million viewers in overnights, and it's sitting on the very bottom of CBS' shows in terms of ratings. However, CBS sold Elementary syndication rights to WGN America back in early 2014 for mountains of cash, so if WGN America decides to renew its deal, CBS will want to keep it around for easy money. One thing that would catch WGN's eyes? Boosted ratings for Elementary on CBS.
Baby Batman is about to sink below the 1.0 rating if its trajectory continues — it went into the break tying a series low 1.0 — and it never became the hit Fox hoped it would as part of the superhero surge. DVR pick up is solid but also starts with a low bar, as Gotham's settling into an average audience below 3.5 million viewers in its third season. It's still a top 10 show for Fox, but the network is in such tatters that Fox should just clear the table and start anew. Right now, I'd say the show is closer to cancellation than not, but that can change if Batfans come out of their cave.
After a splendid start, Blindspot tumbled greatly following its lengthy winter break in Season 1 and the slide continues with Season 2's move to Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Numbers are just north of the dreaded 1.0 rating, so if another second-half spill occurs, Blindspot could be doomed. Thankfully, NBC decided to not keep Blindspot off the air for two months this season and it will be back in early January rather than late February. Will that be enough, though? Want to know what those tattoos mean? You'll have to watch.
7. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Rachel Bloom's comedic examination of psychosis through musical interpretation did something that no other CW show did: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was relevant during award season thanks to Bloom, who won the Golden Globe earlier this year and is nominated again this year. But girlfriend, the crazy truth is the ratings are extremely bad. Season 2 went below 500,000 viewers early, making it easily the least-watched show on The CW (yes, even below No Tomorrow). The network wants any excuse to keep this around, so get on the phone and cold call some potential viewers because it won't take much.
8. DC's Legends of Tomorrow
The outlier of The CW's superhero slate is generally considered the weakest of the bunch as it came in with less focus than the others and is still trying to find its identity. Despite being overshadowed by Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, it's still the network's fourth-highest rated series behind, you guessed it, the three series just mentioned, and it's integral to The CW's efforts to build ambitious crossovers. But several members of the cast have signed unusual deals that contract them with all four shows instead of just Legends of Tomorrow, meaning there's less reason to keep the show around. If The CW wants to launch a new DC Comics series — and why wouldn't it, since we all know people will flock to anything superhero related — it may cut its losses with the wayward Legends of Tomorrow and start anew with something entirely different. Of course, if a surge in viewers pushed Legends past Arrow — and the two are almost neck and neck — more Tomorrow may only be a day away.
What are you going to do to help save these shows?