Register  |  Sign In
Will They Or Won't They? ABC and CBS Edition
As I dust off the last of The Walking Dead's season, I look ahead to the pitiful programming on network television. And judging by the ratings, there are a lot of pitiful shows still on the air. But alas, many of those pitiful shows are our favorites. And this time of year is a bloodbath in television. Not everything gets renewed. Not everything gets revived. Not everything gets a film adaptation. Sometimes, television dies. And right now, I'm taking a look at Television Purgatory: CBS and ABC edition.


What's Renewed:
Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, The Mentalist, The Big Bang Theory, Hawaii Five-0, CSI, Elementary, NCIS, NCIS: LA, How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly, Person of Interest, Survivor, The Amazing Race

What Should Have Been Canceled:
It's hard to justify cancelling any of CBS's renewed series. They're all hits in their own right. But if I had to zero in on a few choices that maybe should have been reversed, I might go with Elementary. It's been a great idea, I loved the pilot (haven't watched since) and any time Sherlock Holmes is revived is always fun, but the ratings aren't great. It loses a lot of Person of Interest's lead-in, squandered its Super Bowl sampling and could be replaced by virtually any other CBS primetime crime time series that would do as well or better.

There was also talk that CBS might let go of old-skewing The Good Wife or The Mentalist, and while there are plenty of reasons for both to go, the potential for strong syndication runs is too good to pass up this far into their runs. But I can't help but express how disappointed I am in The Mentalist. It seemed poised to take over for CSI, but has steadily shed viewers. That's in big part to CBS's complete mishandling of it for the last few seasons, but if viewers were loyal, they would follow.

What's On The Chopping Block:
CSI: NY, Golden Boy, Vegas, Rules of Engagement, Two and a Half Men, Criminal Minds

What Should Stay:
Criminal Minds is a no-brainer. No discussion necessary.

What Should Go:
Golden Boy and Vegas have never and will never be hits. If you can't hit it big with a crime series starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis, you never will. And Golden Boy is merely a placeholder for the rest of the season.

Long-running series like CSI: NY and Rules of Engagement are far enough into their respective runs that there's little more you can squeeze from them. The CSI franchise is all but dead. Let Gary Sinise do something else finally. Something befitting of his talents. Meanwhile, The Series That Won't Die (Rules of Engagement) is likely finally going to meet its end in May. It's that show that no one you know watches but it always somehow has viewers. I think people see David Spade and think they're watching reruns of Just Shoot Me.

Most controversial of all may be my plea to send Two and a Half Men away. Finally. They milked two more years out of it with Ashton Kutcher, but he's not coming cheap. And the trouble surrounding its stars seems to be growing all the time. It must cost a fortune to produce. Let it go while you have a few other hit sitcoms on the air to fill the void. The only reason to keep it is a big one: roughly 13 million people still watch it, making it the second highest-rated comedy on the air. So while I won't be shocked to see an eleventh (or beyond) season, I still think it's reasonable to let it go now.

What CBS Needs in Fall 2013:
More of the same, I suppose. It has a steady supply of crime dramas and hit sitcoms on the air. It's hard to justify trying something new and exciting in the drama department. Why fix what ain't broken?


What's Renewed:

ABC puts itself into a weird position every year where it decides "Hey, we aren't going to announce anything until the last possible minute!" so like in previous years, nothing's been renewed.

What's Obviously Coming Back:
No brainer that Modern Family will be back. It's a ratings hit, a critic hit, an awards show hit. It has hit the trifecta of success in television.

I can also only assume that Grey's Anatomy will return, despite age playing a big factor. Ratings are down each year, but hey, which ratings aren't? And ABC has created a one-two punch of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal on Thursday nights that's proving to be a quiet success. Splitting them up by way of cancelling Grey's could severely and irreperably damage Scandal, which is also a no-brainer for renewal.

The only other series I am confident in saying is 100% returning is The Middle. Despite sagging numbers, it's vital to ABC's success in the sitcom department. To ditch it now would leave them with only Modern Family to anchor its comedy department.

What Should Come Back
Now we step into trickier waters. There a lot of series close to guaranteed renewals, but depending on ABC's mood, could swing into uncertain territory.

First, what should definitely come back, despite not being 100% sure-shots: Once Upon a Time and Castle. Once has proven to be more of a modest hit as of late on Sundays, despite starting the season as a monster. But it's typical to see ratings slide as the seasons progress, so I can't imagine ABC kicking the fairy-tale fantasy to the curb. Same for Castle, which just celebrated its 100th episode. Even more joyous: Nathan Fillion finally has a hit series! Only took him about eleven tries. But even without Dancing With The Stars, Castle has been a solid ratings-earner, despite a paltry showing in adults 18-49.

Also on the chopping block but likely coming back is Sunday staple Revenge. It hasn't lit up the ratings like ABC would have liked, but it's, for better or worse, consistent. Sometimes what a network needs is consistency. What works against the serialized drama is a lack of ability to grow in viewership. If it hasn't already, it likely never will. That's troublesome. I suspect it won't be a long-running series, though I hope proper time for resolution is given, when the end eventually comes.

Wednesday night fare like Suburgatory is also coming back, by my own predictions. It has taken ABC a long time to build a slate of sitcoms, so to cancel too many this year would put their schedule in jeopardy. Also returning is Tim Allen's Last Man Standing. It just doesn't make sense to cancel a show that can pull 7 million viewers on Fridays.

My last guess at a renewal is Nashville. To paraphrase Springsteen, it's not a beauty, but hey, it's all right. ABC could do better and ABC could do worse. I feel they will ship it off to Sundays at 10pm following Revenge next fall, though it likely won't turn out well. Sometimes, all you can do is try.

Too Early to Tell, Though Things Look Good
How To Live With Your Parents is a shoe-in for renewal based on two airings, but if it keeps sliding from Modern Family, ABC may not be so kind as it has in the past with shows like Happy Endings and Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23.

What's Should Go
Happy Endings. Sigh. It's hard to say but it's hard not to see why. Rumors are swirling that a USA network revival is coming, but alas, ABC should not and will not keep the much-loved but little-seen series.

Easier to live with are eventual cancellations for newbie Red Widow and Dana Delany's Body of Proof. They're just inevitable. Where Castle has prospered in its post-DWTS timeslot, Body of Proof does just okay, barely enough to ever scrape by.

The hardest-to-predict cuts are to Malibu Country and The Neighbors. It depends on whether ABC expands its Friday lineup (not likely with Shark Tank and 20/20 in the mix). If it doesn't, these shows are goners. ABC could try out Suburgatory after Last Man Standing, while The Neighbors' fate may or may not depend on How To Live With Your Parents, though I think it's history regardless.
What ABC Needs in Fall 2013
Stronger dramas. They're coasting on a few modest hits (Castle and Scandal), an aging medical drama (Grey's Anatomy) and less-than-stellar serials (Revenge, Nashville, Once Upon a Time). And maybe, sadly, it might be time to do things by the book at ABC. They've tried too many outside-the-box dramas as of late. They're trying to re-create the successes of Lost and Desperate Housewives, but almost a decade later and they aren't doing it.
Until next time, stay tuned.
Login to Comment
Total Comments: 0