A few more shows still have to bow, but a clearer picture has emerged regarding the fate of the fall frosh on the Big Four networks. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox have each picked up at least one new show for a full season, while four series have had their episode order trimmed, effectively marking their cancellation. In years past, under-performing shows would be yanked from the schedule before the November sweep, but with audiences avoiding repeats these days, it’s unlikely the networks have anything on their bench that could fare better in the short term.
Somewhat more in limbo, meanwhile, are the handful of shows that have received an order of additional scripts. The networks would like to take this to the next level and order the production of more episodes, but will need to see something in the ratings to justify such a move.
Here’s a look at the status of the fall’s new broadcast shows:
Blood & Oil — It had a tough task on Sundays at 9 opposite football and then “The Walking Dead,” but the Don Johnson-Chace Crawford soap has sagged in the ratings between veteran “Once Upon a Time” and promising newcomer “Quantico.” It hasn’t really cratered, though, holding at the same 0.9 rating in adults 18-49 with each of its last three episodes. “Blood” last week had its 13-episode order trimmed.
Quantico — It has been years since any network found a new drama that clicked on Sundays at 10, but this sexy terrorism thriller starring Priyanka Chopra has impressed from the start. It has been the fall’s highest-rated Sunday broadcast entertainment series, thanks in part to a big DVR and VOD following. Its third episode, for example, more than doubled in ratings when comparing its same-night score to its “live plus-7” tally (1.6 to 3.4). ABC picked up six additional episodes of the series to bring its total to 19 hours, and there’s a possibility this number could grow.
Dr. Ken — The family comedy starring Ken Jeong has been a solid performer on Fridays, basically matching the demo performance of its “Last Man Standing” lead-in. The network rewarded the show with a back-nine pickup, bringing its first-season episode order to 22.
Life in Pieces — The family comedy has delivered decent ratings, but it’s losing about half of the young adults watching “The Big Bang Theory” in the preceding half-hour. Now it’s moving with “Big Bang” to Thursdays, and CBS will probably decide “Life’s” fate based on how it fares as part of the network’s four-comedy lineup on the night starting next week.
Limitless — CBS has been pleased with the drama’s performance in young adult demos, as it has improved the time period vs. last year in adults 18-49 and has been among the network’s most popular programs in multi-platform viewing. The Eye extended the drama based on the Bradley Cooper film to a full 22-episode first season, and “Limitless” has to be on the short list of contenders to get the post-Super Bowl slot on CBS in February.
Code Black — The hospital drama isn’t faring as well as “Stalker” in its first season in the same Wednesday-at-10 timeslot a year ago, but it’s retaining about the same percentage of its “Criminal Minds” lead-in. CBS has been wanting to find a hit medical show for years, and a recent order for six additional scripts suggests it’s not ready to pull the plug on this one.
Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris — The variety show has performed OK, seeing above-average results for the network when slotted behind “The Voice.” It’s unclear if it will air beyond the originally ordered eight hourlong episodes.
Blindspot — The crime thriller starring Jaimie Alexander has been the highest-rated of the new fall series and was the first rookie to be picked up for a full season. It has dropped off some in same-night ratings since its Sept. 21 premiere, but since it also is the new show with the biggest following in DVR and VOD playback, these deficits have been trimmed significantly in Nielsen’s “live plus-3” and “live plus-7” estimates.
Heroes Reborn — The reboot of the NBC series that aired from 2006 to 2010 started out with solid numbers — and provided nice time period improvement on Thursdays for the network — but has faded since. It was always intended as a close-ended 13-episode miniseries, and barring a ratings surge down the stretch, it seems unlikely the network would bring it back for another chapter.
The Player — NBC’s other new Thursday drama this season, the Las Vegas-set action drama starring Wesley Snipes and Philip Winchester has pretty much been a bust from the start. The network last week decided to trim its series order to nine episodes.
Truth Be Told — The comedy about two diverse couples who are best friends and neighbors has fared poorly on Fridays in its first two airings, as it and lead-in “Undateable” have been unable to do much opposite ABC’s own multi-camera comedies in the same hour. NBC on Tuesday announced that “Truth Be Told” would have its 13-episode order reduced to 10.
Minority Report — It had a low premiere last month and has only gone downhill from there, with its most recent episode pulling a mere 0.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 1.8 million total viewers. The network decided to trim the show’s original order of 13 episodes to 10, meaning it will finish its run this fall.
Scream Queens — The horror comedy has not performed well in same-night ratings (1.3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall) but on average its first three episodes grew by 87% in Nielsen’s “live plus-7” estimates. (And in 30-day numbers released today by Fox, the audience for its premiere episode grew to 9.2 million viewers, including 2.2 million on Hulu and Fox Now.) The first season was set in stone at 13 episodes, and there’s been no official word on a second-season renewal at this point.
Rosewood — The medical drama starring Morris Chestnut has been the network’s best-performing new series, averaging a 1.85 rating in adults 18-49 in same-night results on Wednesday and getting a full-season pickup. In a good sign, the show hit a three-week high last week in its final airing before a brief hiatus for the World Series.
Grandfathered and The Grinder — The well-matched laffers fronted by John Stamos and Rob Lowe, respectively, have delivered modest numbers from the start, but Fox has ordered the back-nine episodes of “The Grinder,” which has been the better received of the two critically. A couple of weeks ago, the net had ordered six additional scripts for both series. The shows could be part of Fox’s Tuesday plans in the new year when “New Girl” returns to the schedule.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — The network’s only new fall offering has barely registered in its two airings to date on Mondays, netting a 0.3 rating in adults 18-49 and about 1 million total viewers. As a vote of confidence, and perhaps in acknowledgement of the rough ratings this unique series would endure out of the gate, CW ordered five additional scripts of the musical comedy a week before it premiered.