It's that time of year. April showers bring May flowers, which will be used to put on the graves of dead shows because networks will be canceling series left and right as they finalize their schedules for next season! Is your favorite show in danger of being canceled? We rounded up the most interesting situations of shows that are on the bubble for a case of good news, bad news to help you stay informed about the future of your faves. For the latest renewal and cancellation information, check out our Fall TV Scorecard.
The Good News: The fifth season hasn't aired as of this article's publication, so we can't see any dip in the numbers! The show's fan base is also passionate, even by CW standards, and The CW has been really good about giving its long-running shows a chance to wrap up storylines with official final seasons. That will probably happen with The 100 too, especially with its chance to become a streaming gem for fans and the show's studios as well (young-skewing shows are particularly valuable on Netflix, et al). But the real good news for The 100 comes with The CW finally making the decision to expand its schedule to six nights a week by opening up Sunday for programming, as well as its push into more summer originals. That's two more hours of real estate during the regular season, which is very critical considering the network's crowded schedule.
The Bad News: The 100 sat in the bottom half of The CW's shows last year, and the likelihood of that going up is low. The CW has already renewed a ton of shows, so schedule space is already limited. Even if The 100 matched its ratings last season, it would still be closer to the wrong end of that spacious gap between shows that are doing well on The CW and those that aren't (of The CW's shows this season, Arrow is averaging a 0.46 rating, and is immediately followed by iZombie's 0.25; The 100 averaged a 0.34 and bottomed out at 0.28 last season). Plus, if this gets canceled, my coworkers are going to be so MAD.
The Good News: James Spader! You try telling Spader he's canceled. NBC clearly likes this show a lot, as it tried to spin it off with Redemption just last year. (That didn't go well.) How do you go from trying to expand the franchise one year to canceling it the next? Answer: You don't. That would be dumb. The Blacklist is also so on brand for NBC as a twisty procedural, which is part of the reason it's been on the air for five seasons. Ratings are also not bad -- it nearly averages a 1.0 rating and 6 million viewers in overnights -- with some episodes this season doing even better than last season. Even more surprising, overall viewers are up nearly 10 percent! It's in the middle of the pack for NBC (11th of 19 NBC shows), but has enough twists in the tank for at least a farewell season to wrap things up once the bag of bones opens up a new can of worms for Liz and Red. NBC Universal Television also has its hands in The Blacklist's distribution, along with Sony, meaning it's a better deal for the parent company. We'd be surprised if this wasn't back for at least one more season.
The Bad News: Despite the solid overall viewers, the show skews old and several shows with a much smaller audience are doing better ratings in the coveted 18-49 demo. (Example: The Good Place does nearly 2 million less viewers on average, but a full 0.2 better in ratings). And with Emmy-winner Spader on board and stunts aplenty, it can't be cheap to make. Finally, though The Blacklist is doing better than eight other NBC shows, all eight of those have a very good chance of being canceled.
The Good News: Overnight ratings aren't everything, right? Blindspot is a Top 25 show when it comes to percentage gains in both total viewers and ratings, jumping about 80 percent in ratings gain. That's a bit of a spin though, as one can also argue that Life Sentence's 100 percent ratings gain is something to crow about, when in fact it's just a jump from 0.1 to 0.2. Blindspot is going from about 0.6 to a 1.1, which helps, but probably won't help enough. However, the show has found a nice rhythm to its myriad twists with a full-on injection of humor, making it a better show than it was in its more serious first season.
The Bad News: The move from Wednesday to Friday hasn't gone well for Blindspot, which has seen ratings and total viewers drop by more than 30 percent apiece. Even worse, it's not doing as well as what NBC had in the same slot last year (the final season of Grimm), so if NBC compares the show's performance from that angle, it will probably look for a change. Finally, Season 2 of Blindspot was a Top 10 NBC series last season. This season? Among NBC shows, it's only doing better in ratings than the practically already dead Champions and Taken (it's tied with Timeless), essentially spelling the show's doom.
The Good News: Of all the bubble shows out there, the press seems to be pushing Fox to renew Brooklyn Nine-Nine more than others -- because it is great -- and online chatter about saving the show is pretty rampant. There's a claim for consistency to be made because the show's ratings are sitting around where they were last season (minus bigger numbers for early-season episodes), and now that it's been moved to Sundays (where it used to live), ratings have jumped up to season highs, bucking the downward trend of shows in later seasons. Previously, behind The Mick on Tuesday nights at 9:30pm in the fall, the show suffered, so maybe it was just the awkward scheduling and Fox has finally realized that?
The Bad News: Does Fox really want to renew a show averaging a 0.72 rating that doesn't come from its own studio? It's also only doing better than New Girl, which is calling it a merciful end after this season. This sucks, but it looks like Brooklyn Nine-Nine will turn in its badge too. Unless Fox listens to fans, this is a goner.
The Good News: Criminal Minds is still CBS' fifth-highest rated drama, which is lower than normal but still good enough to secure a spot in CBS' good graces. CBS Television Studios is also a co-producer on the series, meaning the CBS mothership gets a lot of the money from the show's international success and streaming cash flow. But the real reason we expect Criminal Minds to be back is this season's finale will be Episode 299. What kind of cruel entity would cancel a show one episode shy of 300?
The Bad News: Two things used to be certain about Criminal Minds: some crazy a-- person would be killing people in ghastly ways each week, and the show was a lock to average over a 1.0 rating in overnights. Well, now we can only say one thing is guaranteed with this show. Just three seasons ago (Season 10), Criminal Minds was averaging over a 2.0 rating; now in its 13th season, it's down to a 0.99 after shedding a full 0.4 points from last season. The show is falling down CBS' top drama ladder too; two seasons ago it was the network's No. 2 drama, last season it was No. 3, this season it's No. 5., and that's a trend that isn't going to change. It's had the second-biggest decline percentage-wise between seasons after the tanking Scorpion. And of course, every year the show comes down to the wire for renewal because of contract negotiations. But this should be the year the things go smoothly, and we expect it come back for a 14th season and a 300th episode (and crazy a-- psychos).
The Good News: Designated Survivor took a trouble slot for ABC and turned it into a Top 20 show in its first season, thanks to strong DVR gains, solid overnight ratings and Kiefer Sutherland dropping the occasional "son of a bitch!" DVR numbers are still some of the best in the biz, almost always more than doubling the ratings and total viewers (why won't people watch this live?). That's a clear indication that people want to watch the show, and in this day and age of time-shifted viewing, it's an important sign. Kiefer Sutherland is also a bona fide TV star that ABC wants to hold onto, and it's produced in-house at ABC, making it even more valuable.
The Bad News: Tom Kirkman's second term was not nearly as kind as its first. Numbers are down from the inaugural season, with Season 2 posting the sharpest declines from the previous season of any ABC show not named Once Upon a Time. Likewise, overnight ratings drop it well into the bottom half of ABC's series (19 out of 25), compared to its Top 10 finish the year before. But given the ABC Studios connection and strong DVR numbers, we're predicting a third season.
The Good News: Everyone loves Batman! At least that's what we were told. But having that association to such a popular character definitely means something to television execs. And while this wouldn't normally be considered good news, Gotham is doing just OK in ratings and DVR lift. OK is the new good with broadcast television. Ummm, other shows have steeper drops from last season than Gotham. Yeah you got me, I'm reaching here to find some good news.
The Bad News: Fox has many more new hourlong series that are working much better than Gotham. In fact, in Fox's pecking order, only The Exorcist is doing worse among dramas. The real killer here will be Gotham not being a 20th Century Fox Studios product (it's WB TV). If Fox is going to keep one of its Monday dramas, it's going to be Lucifer, right? Gotham's future is really going to depend on Fox's pilot season, which is looking decent. We'll call this a coin flip.
The Good News: Hawaii Five-0 is an anchor for CBS on Friday nights, where it's been remarkably consistent for eight seasons and a perennial winner in its timeslot. That kind of reliability is invaluable to a network, and CBS has managed to build a hit night (seriously!) around the show with Blue Bloods and MacGyver. The show is also a hit overseas and it's a CBS Television Studios production, which makes it a real cash cow for CBS.
The Bad News: Still, ratings are going down following a season in which its ratings actually went up, and it's hitting series lows and is finally averaging below a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demo for the first time. But the worse news comes from star Alex O'Loughlin, who previously said that he's leaving the show after his contract is up following this season. The good news in this bad news section is that it sounds like he's reconsidering his decision and mulling a return for a ninth season. The show could go on without its star, but do we want a version of Hawaii Five-o with no McGarrett? Five-0 will be a lock for another season if O'Loughlin returns, but if he becomes a free agent, expect CBS to make a hard decision.
[Update 4/18 - CBS renewed Hawaii Five-0 for Season 9!]
The Good News: Like The 100, iZombie has a couple things that are really in its favor. First, The CW loves to put an ending on long-running serialized shows, and the way that iZombie is really opening up its world this season (zombies everywhere!) really implies that there's an endgame somewhere down the road, and The CW probably knows what it is. Second, the extra space on the network's schedule was made available exactly for situations like this; The CW doesn't want to cancel iZombie and now it has even less of a reason to since the scheduling logjam is getting some relief. One more thing in its favor? The recent return of Supergirl leading into iZombie boosted the latter's ratings by 50 percent (well, from a 0.2 to a 0.3), giving the show a much-needed boost during a season that's hitting series lows. We're thinking there's another season left in iZombie to wrap up Liv's story.
The Bad News: Among The CW's shows this season, iZombie ranks eighth out of 13 shows. But that doesn't tell the whole story. It's actually the top of the heap of The CW's underperforming shows with a 0.25 rating in the 18-49 demo. The next show above it, Arrow, is averaging a 0.46, which is a huge jump. Yes, Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are renewed and have lower ratings than iZombie, but they get mentions during awards season, something The CW doesn't get a lot of.
The Good News: As is usually the case with shows in their fourth season, there's a ratings slide going on, but the silver lining is that it's not a steep slide! Ratings are only down 8.5 percent to a 0.81. And if Fox is looking at its comedy overall, The Last Man on Earth is still doing better than comedy vets The Mick (0.73), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (0.72) and New Girl (0.70)! The show's serialized nature also makes it a prime candidate for a wrap-up season at least, especially since Fox produces it.
The Bad News: It's hitting new series lows since its midseason return, bottoming out with a 0.6 rating and just over 1.3 million viewers, and that's not going to cut it. New comedy on the Sunday block, Ghosted, is also faring much better just an hour later, as are the rest of the shows on the night. And if we're talking creatively, the show has outlived its premise by a few seasons. We wouldn't be surprised if Last Man is on its last season.
The Good News: Lucifer was a bit of an afterthought in the 2015-2016 season, a 13-episode midseason entry set to fill out the block behind the high-profile Minority Report reboot. Well, Minority Report bombed and Lucifer became a surprise hit for Fox, earning it an easy renewal and a more important spot on the schedule the next season, where it finished in the Top 10 for Fox. Season 3 dropped as expected (it's averaging a 0.86 rating and 3.36 million viewers), but not at the same rate as other Fox shows, proving there's a hardcore fan base sticking this out.
The Bad News: The level of fans' loyalty doesn't move over to Fox, as Warner Bros. TV is the studio behind it. Lucifer has also fallen out of Fox's Top 10 and is only doing better than two Fox dramas, Gotham and The Exorcist. Season 3 is also the first season to contain more than 20 episodes, resulting in a season that isn't as tight as the previous two. That may be the reason ratings are continuing to dip as the season progresses, and they still have time to go even lower. The fact that it's not a 20th Century Fox production really hurts it here.
The Good News: Though it's been ratings challenged for seasons now, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has stuck around as ABC chases the success of Marvel's movies and takes advantage of the Marvel-Disney-ABC connection. ABC wants a successful Marvel show so badly that it's tried several (Agent Carter, Inhumans, a S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off) but only S.H.I.E.L.D. has survived. That may be in part to its continuing strong DVR lift, which doubles its ratings. The series is also in the midst of a creative renaissance, and that looks especially good considering how much Inhumans was panned. One more positive? It's an ABC Studios production.
The Bad News: For as bad as Inhumans was, it still did better than S.H.I.E.L.D. in overnight ratings. In fact, the only two ABC shows that have done worse than S.H.I.E.L.D. were Once Upon a Time and Ten Days in the Valley, both of which are ending. That leaves S.H.I.E.L.D. as the worst performing ABC show in traditional overnight ratings. Thank the lord for Live+7 ratings. Honestly, this is one of those incredibly close calls and we wouldn't be surprised to see it canceled or renewed.
The Good News: What once was considered the next big thing for ABC (remember, this series premiered with a big splash in a tough Sunday night slot in 2015) is now just scraping by as it prepares for Season 3. A creative reboot may help the show out in Season 3, and apparently ABC has enough faith in it to give it a chance. However, it's up for debate whether the benefits of the new Thursday night slot at 10pm will be canceled out by the odd late start at the end of April. Quantico somehow didn't get canceled last year (the fact that it's an ABC Studios production probably had everything to with that), so whatever witch doctor has given the show positive mojo may still be at work somewhere.
The Bad News: After debuting as ABC's top-rated new drama in Season 1, the show dropped like a stone in Season 2 as it saw its ratings nearly halve (1.24 to 0.67). Assuming there's no boost in ratings in Season 3, as is the trend with broadcast shows, things will fall even further, and that could place it even below the disastrous Marvel's Inhumans, which averaged a 0.61 rating before quickly disappearing. It's way too early to tell since Season 3 hasn't even started, but we'd bet that this is it for Quantico.
The Good News: NBC knows that the fans behind the time-traveling series are a passionate bunch, as they were instrumental in saving the show from cancellation last year. The network initially axed Timeless just before deciding its fall schedule, but three days later changed its mind and gave Timeless a second season. It's also one of broadcast's most socially conscious series, focusing on historical figures of color and women, which is always good for a brand in these days, and NBC has to like having co-creators Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan and star Abigail Spencer to call its own. However, NBC moved Timeless to Sundays, where it is performing well in terms of percentage gains (of viewers and ratings) on delayed viewing, which is a nice way of saying it isn't doing great.
The Bad News: Timeless had a strong start in Season 1 thanks to nabbing the post-The Voice slot, but after it moved away from the numbers-boosting spot, ratings dipped significantly even while critics came around to the show. That drop has continued and then some on Fridays, which NBC had to expect, but no Season 2 episode -- even the premiere -- has matched the numbers of Season 1's lowest-rated episode, with the most recent hour notching an anemic 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demo. If NBC gave the show another chance in part because of the fans' complaints, it has to be wondering why they aren't showing up now. Add in the fact that it's produced by Sony and it's only beating fellow NBC shows Champions and Taken (it's tied with Blindspot), and the chances of a third season do not look good.