Friday, May 04, 2018

Fri-Yay: Sitcom Renewal Chances: The Status Before Upfronts

It's time for another edition of Fri-Yay! That means we will take a look back on some sitcom happenings in recent days or weeks or other fun sitcomy stuff. It's a sitcom lover's paradise! Happy Fri-Yay!

Fresh Off teh Boat

by Vincent

It's officially May, which tends to be a nausea-inducing time for TV fans: Upfronts. Upfronts is when networks have to make the final decision on their schedules for the next TV season, which usually means a slew of renewal and cancellation news across the board - particularly for network television. Many shows have already been renewed, but there are still many sitcoms whose fates have yet to be determined that will surely be hearing the final news on whether they're a go for next season over the next few weeks. Last year's Upfronts were particularly brutal, with veteran series like 2 Broke Girls and Last Man Standing shockingly getting the boot at the very last minute. Just a note: Upfronts begin on May 13, so the final news on all network TV shows' statuses for the 2018-2019 season have to be finalized in the next few weeks. In this blog post, I'll write a bit about each "on the bubble" sitcom's chances and give my final prediction.

This post will be focusing on network sitcoms only, since cable economics work out a bit differently and don't adhere to the same schedule or financial decisions as network TV.

Fresh Off the Boat (ABC): Fresh Off the Boat seems to be an 11th hour renewal every year, despite the fact that it has consistently solid ratings and a lot of critical acclaim. While Fresh has never quite taken off the way some ABC staples like Modern Family or The Goldbergs have, it's a decent tent-pole and I would be surprised if ABC parted ways with it. Renewed

Speechless (ABC): Similar to Fresh Off the Boat, Speechless is a consistent "good not great" ratings player. That's the type of show that is often prone to a surprise cancellation (see: 2 Broke Girls and Last Man Standing last year), but unlike those shows, Speechless is young (meaning less expensive) and still feels like a valuable part of a strong night of comedy. Renewed

black-ish (ABC): black-ish transitioned from lead-out to anchor this year, and its ratings have mostly held up fairly decently - and blossomed after Roseanne's return provided a boost to ABC's entire Tuesday line-up. On the brink of being syndicated and with a spin-off chugging along on Freeform, I see no reason to let this one go. Renewed

American Housewife (ABC): American Housewife is one of those shows you never seem to hear anyone talk about but manages to consistently outperform almost all of the shows that you do. It gets help from its Modern Family lead-in, but overall this show is looking like a very solid player and will surely be back next year. Renewed

Superior Donuts (CBS): CBS's once dominant Monday line-up is in some trouble. All of the series tend to rate marginally at best, and with Big Bang ending the network is in search for a replacement other than its own spin-off Young Sheldon. That show is not Superior Donuts, which adopted the 9PM Monday slot that powerhouses like Everybody Loves Raymond and Two and a Half Men once occupied and saw it consistently in 4th place ahead of only The CW. Cancelled

Man with a Plan (CBS): Man with a Plan is far from the huge hit CBS wanted it to be last year, but it does consistently OK and is not the network's biggest problem in the comedy department. It will likely squeak by for at least one more year until CBS can find some decent Monday anchors. Renewed

Kevin Can Wait (CBS): This show has essentially become a King of Queens reboot, which sort of shows how desperate CBS is to bring back its old Monday night line-ups. It's the best-rated show of a disappointing night, which is good enough for another year. Renewed

Life in Pieces (CBS): Life in Pieces has always felt like an odd outlier on CBS's line-up, a high-concept single-camera comedy amidst a sea of traditional multi-camera sitcoms (or spin-offs of those sitcoms, in the case of Young Sheldon). Its ratings sort of reflect that, as it sheds off most of the Big Bang Theory/Young Sheldon audience the night begins with, but that audience is so huge it still looks pretty good. Renewed

Great News (NBC): Tina Fey-penned Great News pulled in truly miserable ratings over the course of the two seasons it has aired thus far, even managing to shed most of Will & Grace's initially huge audience when it was placed in the 9:30 lead-out slot. That said, NBC's other freshman comedies somehow managed to perform similarly awful or even worse, so Great News still sits in May, four months after its finale aired, with a fighting chance for renewal. Still, my guess is NBC doesn't take a chance at another miserably-rated season. Cancelled

AP Bio (NBC): AP Bio had a lot of initial hype and a cushy post-Olympics launch, but has not managed to capitalize on it, shedding most of Superstore's audience and falling far below The Good Place's season average. If NBC renews any freshman comedy, I'd place bets on this one (its ratings are somewhat less terrible than Great News and Champions) but I'm guessing NBC cleans house with its freshman comedies. Cancelled

Champions (NBC): In NBC's already bad freshman comedy situation, Champions has emerged as the worst aspect of it, and has absolutely zero shot at a renewal. Cancelled

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox): Brooklyn Nine-Nine started off the year terribly, earning series low after series low and falling into "this needs to be cancelled" territory. After a last-minute move to Sundays upon its return this spring, its ratings have shaped up a bit. That, in addition to its dedicated fans starting a bit of an internet rallying call, might be enough to get it to one more year, at least on some format. Renewed (but potentially moves networks to a streaming service)

The Mick (Fox): After a surprisingly strong start last year, The Mick's ratings fell considerably this season, but Fox's comedy situation is likely dire enough that it will survive another year to pad out the line-up. Renewed

The Last Man on Earth (Fox): Last Man's ratings have looked really ugly this spring after years of consistently decent (if not great) numbers. Still, like The Mick, Fox will have enough holes that it likely survives - the only thing it has to worry about is if Fox cuts back comedy hours next season. Still, going with...Renewed

LA to Vegas (Fox): These low-rated Fox shows are sort of all in a similar place to me - I could see any of them surviving but could also see all of them being cut if Fox downsizes its comedy hours. Still, as a low-rated rookie, this show seems like the most likely to go first. Cancelled

Ghosted (Fox): See LA to Vegas, except Fox actually pulled this before it finished out its season, so it seems even less likely to return. Cancelled

There's my prediction on these sitcoms' fates. In two weeks I'll check back to see how I did!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, March 18

The Big Bang Theory - "The Planetarium Collision" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Amy doesn’t have time to work on super-asymmetry, Sheldon goes to great lengths to ensure she’s available to work with him even it if means accidentally sabotaging her career in the process. Also, Koothrappali doesn’t want Wolowitz to join him in hosting a show at the planetarium. Emmy Award winner Bob Newhart returns as Arthur Jeffries.

Man with a Plan - "Hotel Hanky Panky" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Adam and Andi are eager to book a night away in a hotel after Teddy keeps sleeping in their bed. Also, Kate is allowed to stay home alone but doesn’t follow Adam and Andi’s strict rules.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Imitation Perturbation" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Wolowitz dresses up as Sheldon for Halloween, Sheldon seeks retaliation at Leonard and Penny’s Halloween party. Also, Leonard is shocked that Penny doesn’t remember their first kiss.

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to Grover's Birthday" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Dave and Gemma’s elaborate plans for Grover’s 7th birthday party go awry, Malcolm and Marty come to the rescue. Also, Calvin’s choice of gift winds up sending one person to the hospital.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 18)

Monday, March 18

  • Adam Scott (Ghosted/Parks and Recreation/Party Down) - Watch Adam on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Stephanie appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld (High Maintenance) - Ben and Katja are guests on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/The Suite Life on Deck) - Cole stops by E!'s Busy Tonight at 11pm.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Trial & Error/Kristin) - Kristin stops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Chris Meloni (Surviving Jack/Misery Loves Company/The Fanelli Boys) - Chris appears on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Robin Givens (Head of the Class) - Robin drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Rob is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jason Sudeikis (Son of Zorn/The Last Man on Earth/The Cleveland Show) - Jason visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Brandon Micheal Hall (The Mayor/Search Party) - Brandon is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February/March)

Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season

01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest