‘Sleepy Hollow, ‘The Catch,’ ‘The Great Indoors’: Which Bubble Shows Will Be Canceled?

Bubble Shows
Courtesy of Fox/CBS/ABC

Network executives are currently hard at work evaluating new programming for the 2017-2018 television season, but pilots aren’t the only projects that require decisions. Veteran shows are also up in the air and possibly on the chopping block.

Many returning series have already been renewed, but there is still a healthy portion of shows still on the bubble. Fox’s “Pitch,” NBC’s “Powerless” and “Emerald City” have kicked off the TV industry’s annual blood bath — so which shows will follow?

Though the majority of the final decisions won’t come until just before the week of May 15 for Upfronts, Variety has the early buzz from industry insiders.


Dead: “Notorious,” “Conviction”
Mostly Dead: “Imaginary Mary,” “The Catch,” “Secrets and Lies”
Staying Alive: “Once Upon A Time,” “American Housewife,” “Black-ish,” “Speechless,” “The Goldbergs,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Designated Survivor,” “Quantico”
Too Close to Call: “Agents of SHIELD,” “Dr. Ken,” “The Real O’Neals,” “Last Man Standing,” “American Crime”
Hasn’t Premiered Yet: “Downward Dog”

ABC has yet to renew many of their stable shoo-ins, but fear not — most of the network’s family comedies, including newbies “American Housewife” and “Speechless,” plus “The Goldbergs,” “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Black-ish,” which recently secured rich off-network cable deals, are staying alive.

“Designated Survivor” and “Quantico,” both packed with star power, with Kiefer Sutherland and Priyanka Chopra respectively, are also expected to land season renewals, though “Quantico” did dip drastically in its second season. A source says if “Quantico” is renewed, it may move from New York City to Los Angeles. “Once Upon a Time” is also a sure thing. Insiders say offers have already been made to the writing staff, which will be tasked with taking the show in a new direction with the loss of some original characters in Season 7.

Not looking as good are ratings strugglers “Imaginary Mary,” “Secrets and Lies” and Shondaland’s “The Catch,” which hasn’t done better than a 0.8 in the ratings for its entire second season. An insider did point out, though, that ABC liked the Season 3 pitch. “American Crime,” which has always had a tough time attracting large viewership but brings awards cachet to the broadcast network, is also likely to end its run after shedding considerable viewership for its third season, even with stellar storytelling from John Ridley. But a source says if the show did return, Season 4 would be a short run of possibly just six episodes.

The shows too close to call at ABC are “Agents of SHIELD,” which has held onto its viewership in its new 10 p.m. slot; “Dr. Ken,” which may squeak through given its Friday night placement; “The Real O’Neals,” which sources say had a great Season 3 pitch; and “Last Man Standing,” which has off-the-charts syndication numbers, but is getting very expensive for the network, which doesn’t own the series which hails from 20th Century Fox TV.


Dead: “Emerald City,” “Powerless”
Mostly Dead: “The Blacklist: Redemption”
Staying Alive: “Chicago P.D.,” “Chicago Fire,” “The Blacklist,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Taken”
Too Close to Call:  “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Justice,” “Timeless,” “Great News,” “Trial & Error,” “Blindspot”
Hasn’t Premiered Yet: “Midnight Texas,” “Marlon,” “Carmichael Show,” “The Night Shift”

“Emerald City” and “Powerless” were two of the first broadcast shows to get the ax, but on the brighter side, NBC gave very early renewals to other freshman shows “The Good Place” and “This Is Us,” the latter of which got picked up for two seasons. The network has also renewed sophomore shows “Superstore” and Jennifer Lopez’s “Shades of Blue.”

“The Blacklist: Redemption” likely will not get a season renewal — the spinoff series never matched the success of its parent program and struggled in the ratings from the start, though “The Blacklist” is very likely to return given its solid live-viewing numbers in its timeslot. As for another action drama, freshman series “Taken” has not performed exceptionally well domestically, but the show has been popular internationally and is relatively inexpensive to produce, making a second season likely. And as for veteran procedural “SVU,” it’s a sure thing.

Sources say that surprisingly one of Dick Wolf’s four “Chicago” shows may not return — and it’s likely not flagship “Chicago Fire” or “Chicago P.D.,” leaving “Chicago Med” and the newest installment “Chicago Justice” possibly left on the chopping block. But an insider says that the legal drama is eyeing a potential shorter 13-episode second season.

“Blindspot,” which was the breakout broadcast show during its freshman season, has seen a major ratings drop in Season 2, making its fate uncertain. “Timeless” is also on the cusp of cancellation, due in no small part to executive producer Shawn Ryan also working on the CBS pilot “SWAT,” which is a serious contender at that network.

Freshman comedy “Trial & Error” failed to live up to the ratings of both “Superstore” and “The Good Place,” but the show is said to be a favorite of NBC head Bob Greenblatt, giving it a shot. “Great News” is only in its second week, but the show shed nearly 50% of its viewers in just two weeks on the air — plus, producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock have a very buzzy pilot with “The Sackett Sisters,” which may take priority over “News.”


Dead: “Training Day,” “Pure Genius,” “American Gothic,” “BrainDead”
Mostly Dead: The Great Indoors,” “The Odd Couple,” “Criminal Minds Beyond Borders”
Too Close to Call: “2 Broke Girls,” “Elementary,” “Ransom,” “Code Black”
Hasn’t Premiered Yet: “Zoo”

CBS announced a mega-renewal for 18 of their shows earlier this year, leaving only a few on the bubble, including Joel McHale’s “The Great Indoors,” which performed solidly when scheduled behind “Big Bang Theory,” but had two very low-rated episodes when tested in other timeslots. “The Odd Couple” seems to slip through the cracks every year, but a source suggested that another renewal is unlikely. “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” is another high-profile broadcast drama that failed to live up to expectations, dipping in Season 2 and never coming close to matching its parent program.

“2 Broke Girls” has solid numbers, but hasn’t performed as well in total viewers as new comedy offerings “Kevin Can Wait,” “Man With a Plan” or “Superior Donuts,” which have all been renewed. One of our insiders says the sitcom has a 50/50 shot of returning, as does the long-running “Elementary.” Shockingly, despite low numbers, a source says that international co-production “Ransom” has a shot to return, taking into consideration its Saturday night timeslot. “Code Black” also still has a pulse, and is one of CBS president Glenn Geller’s favorite series.

Tragically, “Training Day” will not be returning without the late Bill Paxton, who died earlier this year at the age of 61.


Dead: “Pitch”
Mostly Dead: “Scream Queens,” “APB,” “Making History,” “Shots Fired,” “Son of Zorn,” “Sleepy Hollow
Staying Alive: “The Exorcist,” “Gotham,” “New Girl,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
Too Close to Call: “24: Legacy,” “Prison Break,” “Wayward Pines,” “Rosewood,” “Last Man on Earth”

“Pitch” was the first Fox series to strike out, but more series are unfortunately coming up to bat. Sources say freshman series “APB,” Making History” and “Son of Zorn” will all be cancelled, though a search for a new showrunner for “Zorn” has been under way for quite some time. “Shots Fired” was billed as an event series and will certainly have an awards push, but don’t expect additional episodes, after its season average of 3.7 million viewers. Fan-favorite “Sleepy Hollow” looks like its head is finally going to fall off for good, and Ryan Murphy’s “Scream Queens” is dunzo.

“24: Legacy” is up in the air — the hotly anticipated series had a strong start after the Super Bowl, but nose-dived after the premiere. The equally anticipated “Prison Break” had decent live numbers and grew immensely in delayed viewers, but remember that Fox called the season an “event series,” so it could be a one-and-done. (Then again, they said the same thing about “X-Files.”)

“Wayward Pines” isn’t necessarily dead; the show’s future is contingent on finding a new star, so the thriller could potentially come back if a big name gets attached, according to a source. “Rosewood” has a shot to return, despite being down 50% in the demo, because it’s one of the network’s cheaper shows and it airs on Friday night.

Though not certain, insiders say “The Exorcist” will be back, as will “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “New Girl,” which will probably return with a shorter episode-order for its final season. “Gotham” is also promising, as is “Last Man on Earth,” especially since Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s other Fox series, “Making History,” is not landing a second season renewal.


Dead: “Frequency,” “No Tomorrow,” “Reign”
Staying Alive: See here: the CW has renewed the majority of its shows.
Too Close to Call: “iZombie,” “The Originals”

“Frequency” and “No Tomorrow” did not receive back orders for their first seasons, essentially confirming their cancellations months ago. The only other shows that are up to be cancelled are “iZombie” and “The Originals,” since the CW renewed most of their shows earlier this year. However, a source says if/come deals have been made for “iZombie,” which is a positive sign for the show, despite being way down from last season. “Originals” could perhaps be the one to go, now that “The Vampire Diaries” era is gone, or maybe the network will want to hold onto one last project in the vampire genre.

The CW may not have room to renew two returning shows with their jam-packed slate — insiders say the network could order up to as many as five new series for the 2017-2018 season because executives are so pleased with their pilots this year. (Take a look at our pilot buzz report for more.)

Leave a comment below: which show(s) will you be sad to see canceled? Weigh in!