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Bubble Shows 2019: Which Shows Will Be Renewed and Canceled?

Networks have lots of decisions to make about your favorite shows.

Tim Surette
Whiskey Cavalier
1 of 24 Larry D. Horricks/ABC

Whiskey Cavalier

The Good News: If you're ABC and looking at your "brand," Whiskey Cavalier checks all the boxes. It's got action! It's got romance! It's got a radio-friendly soundtrack! And most of all, it's unapologetically fun! You have to think that's one of those intangibles execs look at when making the hard decisions of what to keep. The series is also a great performer in delayed viewing, with DVR views doubling the show's ratings (for the last week of March, it out-gained everything else with a 160-percent increase). Traditional overnight ratings are becoming less and less indicative a show's success; these DVR numbers matter more than ever. Plus, we don't want Lauren Cohan to have walked away from The Walking Dead for nuthin'.

The Bad News: Those overnight ratings that are being doubled? They rank 17th out of ABC's 21 series, with an average 0.6 rating in the adult demo and 3.7 million viewers. So while doubling up is great, double of not-that-much isn't. Despite that, this is a 50/50.

2 of 24 Peter Kramer/NBC

The Village

The Good News: Let's just move right along to the bad news.

The Bad News: NBC tried to replicate the success of This Is Us with another weepy drama about interconnected people, but viewers didn't fall for it -- it's averaging a 0.69 rating, and it still hasn't found its floor. The network even slotted it right after This Is Us, but all that did is highlight that The Village is not This Is Us. The Village is losing more than half of This Is Us' ratings and is NBC's lowest-rated new drama, which should make this an easy decision to cancel. And now that it doesn't have This Is Us to trickle in audience, it will fall even further. NBC will likely tear this down.

3 of 24 Tony Rivetti/ABC

The Rookie

The Good News: Nathan Fillion has a permanent primo parking spot on ABC's lot after carrying Castle for so many seasons, so ABC would like to do anything it could to keep him around. It's holding its own against the competition -- NCIS: New Orleans and New Amsterdam -- in the Tuesday at 10 p.m. slot, and while its ratings in the 18-49 demo aren't great, it's consistently near the top of total viewers on ABC on Tuesdays. DVR performance is also rock solid, doubling its numbers. But really, Fillion is the reason this will stay if ABC renews it.

The Bad News: ABC had to expect more from the show, as it sits 14th out of ABC's 21 shows (0.73 rating). Buzz on the show has also died down to a whisper. Ten years ago, this likely would have been a hit, but with competition from streaming alternatives, The Rookie is looking like a relic. But for nothing more than a hunch, I think this comes back.

4 of 24 Erika Doss/Fox

The Passage

The Good News: Do critics mean anything anymore? The Passage hopes so, as it stood out as a solidly reviewed new drama, even though it's about 10 years too late to get on the vampire bandwagon. It's Fox's highest-rated new drama (which is kind of misleading since the woeful Proven Innocent is the only other new drama), with a solid 0.9 rating in its first season. It held up pretty well on Mondays against anything not named The Bachelor or The Voice, too. And with Gotham and The Gifted not returning next season and Lethal Weapon also looking like a goner, there's plenty of room for Fox to slot in The Passage.

The Bad News: Fox gave The Passage a two-episode finale night in mid-March, and both episodes were the lowest-rated of the season, with a 0.7 for the last hour. A pairing with The Orville next season would make more sense for The Passage. I think it returns for Season 2.

5 of 24 Rick Rowell/ABC

The Kids Are Alright

The Good News: These kids were doing alright, especially early in the season, with ratings above a 1.0 and a total audience above 5 million. And it's outperforming the Tuesday night comedy anchor black-ish, which is considered an easy renewal. It's sitting middle of the pack when compared to the rest of ABC's shows, but middle of the pack is probably good enough for a renewal these days. It's also an ABC production, so Disney doesn't have to split profits with anyone.

The Bad News: If ABC really wanted to be mean, it could look at the numbers for The Kids Are Alright's second half of the season. Once The Conners left as its lead-in at the end of its shortened season, ratings for The Kids Are Alright dipped dramatically with American Housewife airing before it. That trend isn't going to change next season, but ABC will likely renew this.

6 of 24 Will Hart/NBC

The Enemy Within

The Good News: After a good start, The Enemy Within is a top 10 show for NBC with a decent average rating of 0.8 and overall audience of 4.65 million. Way to go, Enemy Within!

The Bad News: The Voice is supposed to be a big boost as a lead-in for shows, but The Enemy Within isn't taking advantage of the cushy time slot. Half of The Voice's audience tunes out after the show ends, leaving The Enemy Within with a sub-4-million audience and a measly 0.6 rating in recent episodes. That's way below what Manifest did in the same spot (1.25 rating). This is a tough decision for NBC, but the network would be wise to cancel it -- if it can't work behind The Voice, it's not going to work anywhere. The other option would be to ship it to Friday nights with The Blacklist if Blindspot gets canned.

7 of 24 Byron Cohen/ABC

Station 19

The Good News: As ABC's third-highest-rated drama, Station 19 is a lock to come back for a third season. I'm not sure we really need to do the rest of this, but I'll make up some bad news anyway.

The Bad News: If you really want to be a stickler, you can point to the fact that it's shedding almost half a ratings point from its lead-in mothership Grey's Anatomy, but you shouldn't be a stickler. Grey's Anatomy is an inexplicable force of nature that will go on until Meredith dies of old age at the age of 116 thanks to her connections in the medical industry. ABC hasn't renewed Grey's Anatomy yet, either, so there are probably some contract things that are being hammered out.

8 of 24 Wilford Harewood/Fox

Star

The Good News: Star has essentially ridden on the coattails of Empire, but that doesn't matter when it comes to renewing or cancelling a show. Networks just want to look at numbers, and Star has them. Ratings are down from last year, but they're still good enough to be Fox's third-highest-rated drama and fifth-highest overall. Ratings on Fox are down dramatically all over, but Star's 17-percent decline isn't among the worst of them. It's also a perfect pair for Empire, which isn't going anywhere.

The Bad News: Ratings are dropping a little more than Fox would like as the season progresses, with the show dropping series lows on the reg. Fox is kind of a mess overall right now as it transitions to a new look, so I'd expect Star to return as Fox focuses on its problem areas, like comedy.

9 of 24 Kelsey McNeal/ABC

Splitting Up Together

The Good News: In late 2018, ABC ordered a full season of Splitting Up Together. That is the definition of good news, as ABC could have easily let the show end its run quietly. Well, that's it for good news.

The Bad News: I'm not going to lie: Every time Splitting Up Together gets brought up, I forget that it's a show that exists on TV. But it does, and it's consistently ABC's lowest-performing show on Tuesday nights. It's also an unusual fit for ABC's family comedies. Though it's technically a family comedy, a divorced couple living in the same house doesn't have the same feel as the rest of the families for which ABC has become famous. But if you need one reason why we think this show will be canceled, just look at the ratings drop-off between Season 1 and Season 2: The Season 2 premiere was down more than 50 percent in ratings and viewers, and ratings have only fallen from there. Those are grounds for divorce.

10 of 24 Richard Cartwright/ABC

Speechless

The Good News: It's performing better than Fox's Proven Innocent! Everything is performing better than Proven Innocent. Also, at least a few years back, some called it the best comedy on broadcast television. Maybe ABC thinks so too?

The Bad News: The move from Wednesday to Friday was not a good one for Speechless. Ratings are way down, and it's ABC's lowest-rated series. It would be a miracle if it returned.

11 of 24 Richard Cartwright/ABC

Single Parents

The Good News: Single Parents is arguably the best new broadcast comedy of the season and is putting up solid ratings, good for 11th out of ABC's 21 shows. The series has also found some late life this season, building up its audience after a heavy sag in February. It's also ABC's second-highest-rated new comedy after Schooled.

The Bad News: The order of ABC's Wednesday night comedies in terms of ratings goes like this: Modern Family, The Goldbergs, Schooled, and then Single Parents. While that does make it the weak link, it's probably not bad enough to cancel it. If anything, ABC could consider moving it to Tuesday nights next season.

12 of 24 Warrick Page/CBS

SEAL Team

The Good News: Of CBS' new dramas last year, this one received some of the better reviews. And it's performing well with delayed viewing; it's regularly CBS' top show in terms of gains from DVRs.

The Bad News: Between seasons, SEAL Team's ratings dropped more than most of CBS' other shows. After posting a 1.0 rating in its first season, the second season is averaging a 0.78. There's been an especially alarming drop in ratings in recent weeks, which looks real bad to executives who are currently looking at numbers to make decisions about the show's future. This is a real 50/50 call.

13 of 24 Eric McCandless/ABC

Schooled

The Good News: Pop quiz! Can you name ABC's highest-rated new comedy? Well, of course, it's Schooled, I wouldn't ask that question in a Schooled blurb if it wasn't Schooled, duh. The Goldbergs spin-off didn't premiere until 2019, but the early grades are great on a competitive night of television. There's no reason to touch Schooled; not only do we think will it be back next season, but it will probably stay in its same time slot.

The Bad News: Didn't you read the good news? It's going to be fine!

14 of 24 David M. Russell/CBS

Murphy Brown

The Good News: The reboot craze hit CBS hard, making Murphy Brown one of the most familiar shows -- at least by name -- on the bubble this year even if you didn't see the 2019 version. And it did OK in the ratings, sitting right in the middle of the pack of CBS' shows.

The Bad News: CBS probably hoped for Roseanne-type ratings, but instead got, well, Murphy Brown 2018 ratings. The show was supposed to bring back Murphy's fighting spirit against an increasingly hostile political environment, but the comedy never found its commentary in the public conversation. Fam, which replaced Murphy Brown at midseason, is actually performing better than Murphy Brown. Whoops! It's worrying that CBS hasn't already renewed this, which gives me the feeling that it's on the outs.

15 of 24 Greg Gayne/CBS

Man With a Plan

The Good News: How yooooooou doin', Man with a Plan? The answer is about as middle of the road as you can get. The Matt LeBlanc comedy is 12th out of CBS' 25 shows, right in the middle of CBS' second-tier sitcoms. Uh, people still love Friends, so that can't hurt, I guess. It is absolutely vanilla among a bunch of vanilla peers. That's CBS' specialty, so this will probably be back for another season.

The Bad News: Fam and Happy Together, which are in virtual ties with Man with a Plan, do a bit more for diversity and youth at CBS than Man with a Plan does, so if there's some debate about which of those three stays and which goes, that could be the tie-breaker. I'd guess Man with a Plan returns anyway as a reliable midseason filler.

16 of 24 Jace Downs/CBS

MacGyver

The Good News: Paired with Hawaii Five-0 on Friday nights, MacGyver is doing fine! But is fine good enough? CBS has a great relationship with MacGyver creator Peter Lenkov, who is also behind Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum P.I.

The Bad News: MacGyver is ranked 22nd out of 25 CBS shows, and CBS doesn't have time for that. Magnum P.I. is doing well on Mondays and has already secured a renewal, so I can see a scenario where Magnum slides over to Fridays and MacGyver gets canceled. This is leaning towards cancellation, but I wouldn't be surprised if it finds another season.

17 of 24 Fox

Lethal Weapon

The Good News: Which is your favorite Lethal Weapon movie? I liked 2, personally. What? No, I'm not trying to distract you from the fact that there isn't any good news here!

The Bad News: All the behind-the-scenes drama of Lethal Weapon led Fox to fire star Clayne Crawford and replace him with Seann William Scott before the start of Season 3, but we all thought the show should have been canceled instead. We were right, as Lethal Weapon has dropped almost 30 percent of its ratings in its new iteration and is doing better than only three shows, all of which are ending, have been canceled, or will be canceled. This is a goner.

18 of 24 Mitch Haaseth/ABC

How to Get Away With Murder

The Good News: Shonda Rhimes!

The Bad News: Everything else. Ratings have plunged nearly 30 percent, and some recent episodes clocked in at barely over a half a ratings point. The twisty legal-ish drama also twisted itself into some tough-to-believe storylines in Season 5, which means the series is probably out of juice. Also, though Shonda is a plus, she's got two feet out the door now that she's become property of Netflix. It's probably time for How to Get Away With Murder to go.

19 of 24 Richard Cartwright/ABC

Fresh Off the Boat

The Good News: Constance Wu is a movie star thanks to Crazy Rich Asians, which improves the caché of Fresh Off the Boat. The series has also passed the 100-episode mark, which sets it up for a syndication deal, and a sixth season would mean even more sweet syndication moolah. With a cast that's predominantly Asian-American, the series is also a cornerstone of ABC's diversity effort.

The Bad News: Like Speechless, Fresh Off the Boat was dumped to Friday nights and now its ratings stink. Last season, the comedy averaged just over a 1.0 rating; this season it's down to a 0.6. You have to assume ABC knew a drop was coming, and instead will look at the consistency Fresh Off the Boat posted in its fifth season. I think it returns.

20 of 24 Cliff Lipson/CBS

Fam

The Good News: Since joining CBS' schedule as a midseason entry, would you believe that Fam is actually outperforming Murphy Brown, which it replaced on the schedule? Well it is! Barely, but it is! It's also targeted at a much younger audience (Nina Dobrev!) than most of CBS' other shows, and CBS is looking at whatever it can do to lower the average age of its audience. It's also CBS' top-rated new comedy that hasn't been renewed yet.

The Bad News: Fam is lagging behind the rest of CBS' comedies on Thursdays, giving it major weak-link status at 9:30 p.m. as a booster for a 10 p.m. drama. Still, this should get another season.

21 of 24 Patrick McElhenney/Fox

The Cool Kids

The Good News: There's little pressure for The Cool Kids to pull in massive ratings since it's filling a hole on Friday nights after Last Man Standing, but the comedy has done just fine: It's fifth overall for Fox in total viewers, which is pretty surprising. It's also Fox's highest-rated new comedy (if you don't count Last Man Standing as a new Fox show). OK, that means it's only barely better than Rel, which was canceled, but I think it sticks around for another season.

The Bad News: Ratings have plunged since February, but that aligns with the decline for Last Man Standing. Fox is still in limbo with the Disney acquisition, so there could be even more shaking up next season.

22 of 24 Karolina Wojtasik/NBC

Blindspot

The Good News: Blindspot is awfully close to hitting 100 episodes, which used to be the mark for syndication. (However, that number has come down to 88 episodes, which Blindspot has already hit.) And for a show with so much mythology, it deserves a true series finale instead of the season-ending cliffhangers it has made its name on. Give Jane and Weller a happy ending before you pull the plug, OK, NBC?

The Bad News: This isn't the first go-around on Fridays for Blindspot, so the dip in ratings can't be attributed just to it being on Friday. Ratings are down 20 percent from 2017-2018, and at this point, the show is running on fumes. It's only done better than two other NBC shows: the already canceled Midnight, Texas and the sure-to-be-canceled Abby's. Blindspot should follow them, possibly with a shortened season to wrap up the story. But with the way NBC begrudgingly gave Timeless a wrap-up movie even after all the vocal fan outrage, I wouldn't bet on the quieter Blindspot getting the same treatment.

23 of 24 Trae Patton/NBC

A.P. Bio

The Good News: AP Bio got a surprise second season and snuck into the Thursday night lineup at midseason, where it's performing on par with NBC's big comedy acquisition Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Good Girls, which puts up similar numbers to AP Bio, just got renewed. That's good news!

The Bad News: I still don't know why AP Bio got a second season, and NBC is probably wondering the same right now. It's only outperforming the dismal Abby's on the comedy side of things, and is 17th out of 20 NBC shows in ratings. When the renewal test comes out, AP Bio will flunk out.

24 of 24 Michael Ansell/ABC

American Housewife

The Good News: ABC had enough confidence in American Housewife to feel comfortable moving it to Tuesdays to lead off that night's comedy block once The Conners ended, and the network is certainly happy with its performance. Sure, ratings were down, but not by much, and it's now ABC's top show on Tuesday nights. Overall, it's eighth out of ABC's 21 shows.

The Bad News: As said above, ratings dipped once it moved to Tuesdays, but that's not a bad thing. ABC will bring this one back for another season.