It’s not easy for any TV show — whether new or returning — to avoid the ax. Some start out strong and end up losing viewers over time, while others just can’t make it work in their freshman season. Plus, as audiences know all too well, cancellations aren’t always predictable. While some seem doomed right from the start, others remain on the bubble for some time.
In the coming months, all five major TV networks will have to decide which entries from their lineup — from sitcoms to fantasy dramas — will get officially pulled. Here’s a look at 14 shows that may be counting this TV season as their last.
Two seasons in and Quantico is not the strong performer it once was. The ABC drama has struggled with its ratings, scoring middling viewership and a low average of 0.69 in the key demographic throughout its sophomore season. To be fair, the show likely owes some of its decline to a change in time slot, having been moved from Sunday nights to Monday nights for Season 2.
Whether ABC will decide to give it one more chance in a different slot remains to be seen, but the show certainly isn’t a sure bet for renewal this time around.
2. New Girl
Fox’s comedy, starring Zooey Deschanel, was a breakout in its freshman season, but it’s faded in popularity since its 2011 debut. It’s slowly but steadily declined in ratings every season, with Season 6 losing 18% of its viewership for an average of only 2 million viewers an episode.
Even the stars of the show have suggested that it’s unlikely the comedy will return for a seventh season. The Season 6 finale was reportedly written to double as a potential series finale, in case Fox decided to pull the plug.
DC Comics delivered its first ever sitcom-like comedy with this NBC series, starring Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi, and Christina Kirk. Unfortunately, the risk hasn’t paid off the way either party may have hoped. The series earned slightly mixed reviews from critics (a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes) and failed to register with audiences, pulling in the lowest ratings of all of NBC’s comedy lineup.
Its fledgling viewership ultimately led the network to pull the final two episodes of the show’s freshman season, suggesting that the series is effectively canceled.
4. Scream Queens
Fox’s horror comedy earned a second season renewal, largely because it made up for soft ratings with significant DVR and on-demanding viewing. But the latest season wasn’t quite as successful. The sophomore season fell well below last year’s average in live viewership and demographic score — and unlike the first season, its DVR viewership isn’t adding much.
Right now, its future remains a toss-up, but it might find itself in jeopardy of cancellation.
5. The Real O’Neals
Thanks to its slate of family sitcoms, ABC has solid comedy blocks on both Tuesdays and Wednesday. But there’s one notable exception: The Real O’Neals. The second-year comedy has lagged pretty far behind its counterparts, averaging just a 0.93 rating in Season 2. To put that into perspective, that’s a full 35% lower than the next lowest-rated comedy, Fresh Off the Boat.
Those lackluster numbers will likely put the show in jeopardy, when it comes time for ABC to determine their lineup.
6. The Exorcist
Given the classic predecessor it has to live up to, The Exorcist earned surprisingly decent reviews in the lead up to its premiere. Unfortunately, it hasn’t fared anywhere near as well in viewership. The Fox show didn’t exactly come out swinging in its premiere and continued to dip in following weeks.
With disappointing ratings from the get-go, it could find itself on the chopping block.
7. Code Black
After a lackluster first season, CBS made some changes to Code Back and brought it back for Season 2. Unfortunately for the network, the revamp didn’t help much. The medical drama continued to struggle in ratings, earning only an average 0.97 demographic score throughout its second season.
With few signs of improvement, CBS will likely have little motivation to bring the series back for more episodes.
8. The Odd Couple
This CBS reboot initially proved to be a bit of a surprise. Despite running in a unconventional twice-a-week format during May 2016, the show brought in surprisingly strong ratings and ultimately earned a Season 3 renewal.
Unfortunately, Season 3 — which premiered in the fall instead of midseason — didn’t deliver in the same manner. Case in point? With its Season 3 average of a 0.3 score in the key demographic and 4.9 million viewers, The Odd Couple is currently CBS’s lowest-rated comedy — by a fair margin. With the network now introducing new comedies to its lineup, this sitcom will likely find itself replaced.
Star Matthew Perry basically confirmed as much in April 2017 when he tweeted, “My face on the Odd Couple stage door has been painted over with green paint. I think it’s safe to assume that we have been cancelled. #subtle.”
CBS, for its part, has yet to formally announce the show’s cancellation.
Elementary is in its fifth season on CBS, but it may not be around much longer. Though never a huge ratings earner for the network, the show saw a significant drop in viewership — and things aren’t looking much better.
In Season 5, the show is drawing a 0.6 rating in the 18–49 demographic, which is low by any standards, but especially by CBS’. Given those numbers, and the fact that the series now has enough episodes for syndication, the network may decide to do away with it altogether.
10. Secrets and Lies
It was kind of surprising that ABC decided to bring Secrets and Lies back for a sophomore season, considering that it was billed as a one-off miniseries and didn’t earn great ratings. Unfortunately, Season 2 is proving to be even more disappointing, earning only an average 0.7 demographic score and 3.2 million viewers.
Given its lackluster performance and equally poor reviews, it’s very unlikely that the drama will get a third shot from the network.
Though The CW adaptation earned decent reviews ahead of its debut in the fall of 2016, it hasn’t fared quite as well in ratings. The show has garnered an average 0.27 demographic score and a little under a million viewers so far this season. That’s pretty low, even for The CW.
The show’s shot at survival was made even bleaker with the network’s decision not to order additional Season 1 episodes. While Frequency is not officially canceled, the chance of it coming back to The CW is slim.
12. 2 Broke Girls
2 Broke Girls wasn’t among the many show renewals that CBS announced in March, leading some to wonder whether the show is on the chopping block. It’s not an unreasonable question — the show has lost around 18% of its audience from its last season. That being said, there are other series on CBS performing even worse, so the network may opt to keep 2 Broke Girls around for a while longer.
13. The Blacklist
NBC’s The Blacklist was a solid performer for the network in its first three seasons, but Season 4 earned significantly lower ratings, with a poor 1.03 score in the 18-49 demographic. Given its successful history on the network, NBC probably won’t be too quick to pull the plug. But since its viewership isn’t as strong as it once was, the drama could be in danger of cancellation after Season 4.
14. Son of Zorn
Since its debut, the part-animated, part live-action series has only pulled in only so-so ratings for Fox. Its freshman season raked in an average of 3.03 million viewers and a 1.3 score in the key demographic. While those numbers are pretty on par with Fox’s other quirky comedy, The Last Man on Earth, the latter has earned critical acclaim and become an award season contender over the last couple of years. Plus, it’s closer to syndication than Son of Zorn.
With Son of Zorn underperforming and earning mixed reviews, it could find itself on the chopping block at the end of this season.
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