The CW released its midseason schedule Wednesday and the previously announced departure of The Vampire Diaries isn't the only major change headed our way. In addition to shows moving days and times, there were a few revelations that may have caused alarm bells to ring for some fans. But we're here to soothe you, friends, and explain why, despite current appearances, things may not be as dire for your favorite shows as they seem.
Let's break it down.
The Originals isn't returning until March! What does that mean?
It means The Vampire Diaries runs until March. That's it. This one isn't too hard to figure out.The Originals sliding into The Vampire Diaries' soon-to-be vacated timeslot makes sense given its connection just like the low-rated Reign taking over for the low-rated Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in the 9 p.m. hour is just common sense. (If Reign aired anywhere else it would be considered a joke. Sorry, Reign. Your costumes are pretty.)
OK, well iZombie doesn't premiere until April. Does that mean the show is doomed?
Not necessarily! Like several of the network's shows last year, iZombie was renewed for a shorter season than the usual 22 episodes. This is a trend across broadcast TV and not just on The CW, and in that regard, the show's episode order and placement at midseason hasn't been particularly worrisome. It's true that the show's return in April -- which is a time traditionally reserved for programs that have already been canceled or are dead on arrival -- doesn't exactly instill confidence, but iZombie has a very dedicated and loyal audience and has been well received by critics and fans alike. It's likely The CW understands this and knows that the show's fans will watch Liv's crime-fighting zombie no matter when she airs. So while the fact the show is being held until April is unfortunate -- we could all use a little bit of Ravi right about now -- it doesn't mean The CW is burning it off like most shows debuting so late in the season.
Why doesn't The CW air iZombie after The Flash if No Tomorrow isn't getting additional episodes?
Scheduling is a tricky thing these days. With the exception of The CW and Fox, broadcast networks typically have three hours of primetime programming Sunday through Friday. Because of The CW's agreements with its affiliate stations, it has just two hours of programming a night (8-10 p.m.), Monday through Friday. Because the network has been producing better quality programs than it was, say, five years ago, the network has been renewing the bulk of its lineup each year and thus has more programs than timeslots in which to air them. Currently, The CW is in the business of launching its newest drama, Riverdale, while also finding room to air four returning midseason series (iZombie, The 100, Reign and The Originals are all returning in 2017) and its shows with full or near-full episode orders (Supergirl, Jane the Virgin, The Flash, Arrow, Supernatural and DC's Legends of Tomorrow).
The network is smartly using the long-running drama Supernatural, which shows no signs of letting up even in Season 12, as the lead-in to Riverdale. The network has previously used the Winchesters to launch new programming, and as a darker take on the popular Archie comics, Riverdale's tone is likely a better match for Supernatural than it is The Flash, which come January will lose freshman lead-out No Tomorrow. Moving DC's Legends of Tomorrow to Tuesdays, and thus clearing the way for Riverdale on Thursdays, makes sense because Legends has a lighter tone and will likely pair well with the adventures of Barry Allen.
Likewise, the post-apocalyptic setting of The 100 is a better match for Arrow's darker themes than iZombie's well-balanced world of comedy and drama would have been (or Frequency turned out to be). As for the two open Friday slots, see the first question. What this means is that The CW has nowhere to slot iZombie until Legends airs its full season.
Are No Tomorrow and Frequency canceled since they didn't received additional episodes?
Ordinarily when a series fails to receive an order for additional episodes, it's a nice way of saying it's canceled without having to utter the words. For example, ABC's Notorious and Conviction? Dunzo. But that isn't always the case! When it comes to The CW, a network with only 10 hours of programmable space a week, there is a lot to consider. Unfortunately, in this case it doesn't look good.
Both No Tomorrow and Frequency failed to register with fans -- they're both averaging a 0.3 rating among adults ages 18-49 and neither receives much of a bump when time-shifted viewing is factored in (No Tomorrow rises to 0.4, while Frequency comes in just above at 0.5) -- but that doesn't mean fans should just assume outright that there is, well, no tomorrow for either of them.
Thanks to a relatively new streaming deal with Netflix, the most recent seasons of The CW's shows will debut on the streaming service just eight days after their season finales air. Both shows will air their respective season finales, as The CW has referred to them, in January. The network will likely start making decisions regarding renewals before Upfronts in May, when it will announce next year's programming slate, but that still leaves plenty of time for The CW to look at Netflix's streaming data for the shows (provided Netflix shares that data with the networks, as it's not shared publicly) to determine whether it's worthwhile to pick them up for new seasons.
OK, but why are there only 13 episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend this season?
What are the chances it's going to be renewed?
It's pretty early to talk about the show's chances of renewal, but since you asked, we'll bite. Despite being adored by critics and despite co-creator and star Rachel Bloom winning a Golden Globe for her performance, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is an extremely low-rated gem. It's intelligent and funny and deconstructs stereotypical rom-coms. It's basically everything we could ever want it to be, plus musical numbers! But the fact that it was renewed at all last season was a minor miracle, and the show's sophomore season isn't performing very well either. The musical comedy is holding steady at a measly 0.2 rating and is averaging just about a half million viewers each week in its Fridays at 9/8c timeslot. Again, The CW may turn to Netflix to determine whether or not there's any traction on the streaming service, and it might also consider how the series performs on its own website and streaming app, but you shouldn't bank on the show's critical acclaim to carry it to through to another season. Still, here's hoping The CW proves us wrong. The world needs more Rebecca Bunch.
(Full Disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)