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

Tuesday, November 13

The Conners - "The Separation of Church and Dan" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Geena learns that D.J. hasn’t been taking Mary to church while she’s been away, she insists they go as a family to uphold her traditional values. To make matters worse, Mary refuses to attend without her cousins Harris and Mark, leaving D.J. in the last situation he wants to be in – at the mercy of Darlene. Meanwhile, Mark’s attempt to conduct an unbiased survey on the upcoming election for his school project goes south when Jackie volunteers to help.

The Kids Are Alright - "Peggy's Day Out" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
To hide a mess Eddie made, his girlfriend, Wendi, tries to distract Peggy by insisting she take a day off with a fun day out while they take care of the housework. To everyone’s surprise, Peggy accepts the offer and requests Wendi tag along, with the ulterior motive of teaching her a lesson. Meanwhile, Eddie enlists the help of his brothers to clean up and keep Mike out of the house while Wendi and Peggy are out. Elsewhere, Pat introduces Timmy to his secret dog.

black-ish - "Purple Rain" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The family is shocked to learn that Jack and Diane are not familiar with the iconic music of Prince. One by one, each member of the family works to explain Prince’s tremendous impact on their lives through his music.

Splitting Up Together - "War of the Wagners" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Lena and Martin’s escalating battle for control of the house is put on hold when Milo announces he wants to go to a school for the gifted – to which they think he will not be accepted. Meanwhile, they both meet a contractor for the house, Vlad, but Lena undermines him and scares Vlad away. Things get uglier between Lena and Oliver after she introduces a new member to the family as payback for all the back-and-forth about the house. Elsewhere, Lena and Martin give conflicting advice to Mason on how to deal with his recent breakup.

The Guest Book - "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Mike and his family hate spending every summer in a subpar vacation home far from the beach; in order to afford paying a booking fee for their dream house, the Barefeet Retreat, Mike pulls double shifts and ends up paying more than he bargained for.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 12)

Tuesday, November 13

  • Jason Mantzoukas (The League) - Catch Jason on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jenifer Lewis (black-ish/The PJs) - Jenifer appears on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Taran Killam (Single Parents) - Taran visits E!'s Busy Tonight at 10pm.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul stops by The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • The Cast of The Conners - Michael Fishman, John Goodman, Lecy Goranson, Laurie Metcalf and Maya Lynne Robinson are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie previews the film Robin Hood on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tatyana Ali (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Love That Girl!) - Tatyana talks about her upcoming two Holiday movies for Lifetime and Hallmark on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Together/Happy Endings/New Girl) - Damon is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan talks about The Upside Down and Network on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Ashley Tisdale (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/Clipped) - Ashley appears on the BUILD Series at 4pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest