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

Friday, January 18

Fresh Off the Boat - "Driver's Eddie 2: Orlando Drift" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Eddie finally gets his driver’s license; but instead of freedom, he finds an endless list of errands to run for his mom. Will he be done in time to take his friends to the Insane Clown Posse concert? Louis is excited for a boy’s weekend at Chili Con with Marvin, until Honey tags along; and Jessica faces off with her nemesis, Jamie, at the school fundraiser.

Speechless - "H-- HEY, YOU" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Maya is less than thrilled when Kenneth interferes with her business plans with Melanie. Ray begs JJ to cast him opposite his new crush, Izzy, in his next movie, which has unexpected consequences. Meanwhile, Dylan is impressed with Jimmy’s band.

Last Man Standing - "Dreams vs. Realty" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mandy comes close to forgetting her fashion designer dreams when she is confronted with rejection and sends herself in a spiral; Vanessa feels regret as she reflects on her own career path; Mike helps the women in his family achieve their dreams.

The Cool Kids - "Thanksgiving at Murray's" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mike and Ryan are forced to get along together when Boyd proposes a compromise to their plans to take him on separate trips by all three going on a trip together; Mandy and Kyle attempt to solve a mystery like a pair of detectives.

Andi Mack - "I Got Your Number" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Andi gets in over her head when she attends a high school party with Amber, causing Bowie's plans for a romantic outing with Bex to go awry; Cyrus tries to mend a longtime rift between Jonah and T.J.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 14)

Friday, January 18

  • Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Watch Maura on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Elizabeth Banks (Scrubs) - Elizabeth visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She talks about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country) and Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Lily and Jane are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Molly Ringwald (Townies/The Facts of Life) - Molly talks about All These Small Moments on People Now at 12pm.
  • Don Cheadle (Black Monday/House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Don talks about Black Monday on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Dave Franco (Scrubs/Do Not Disturb) - Dave talks about If Beale Street Could Talk on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Adam Pally (Champaign ILL/Making History/The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) and Sam Richardson (Champaign ILL/Detroiters/Veep) - Adam and Sam talk about Champaign ILL on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November/December/January)

Step by Step - The Complete Third Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series

11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
11/28 - The Great Indoors - Season 1 (The Complete Series)
12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest