The “Peak TV” era means that there are plenty of great shows on cable and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, but the broadcast networks are still living in the past. New legal dramas, medical dramas and police procedurals get the green light every year, even though most of them feel the same. So while other platforms create innovative shows (along with flops of their own), NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and The CW all fall into the same traps year after year. Fall 2016 was the same, delivering a bunch of shows that are going to be cancelled.
The one big difference between Fall 2016 and past seasons is that no network is using the word “cancelled.” Since they prepared so little content, pulling a show off the schedule is not as easy as it once was, so the networks have just been announcing that they won’t order more episodes beyond the initial 10 or 13. It means that some shows are essentially dead men walking for weeks or months even before being finally put out of their misery. One major example is CBS’ Pure Genius, which will not get more than 13 episodes, but is still on the air until the end of January.
Surprisingly, the network that had the best fall was NBC. The network is home of the only breakout freshman hit of the fall, This Is Us. It is also has the sci-fi series Timeless that’s doing well. This Is Us was picked up for a full season that will run 18 episodes.
Here’s a look at the freshman shows from each of the four broadcast networks (plus The CW) that won’t survive this season. This list also includes returning shows that aren’t likely to survive into next season.
On November 8, ABC announced that Conviction will not get a “back nine” order and will end with 13 episodes. This was a legal drama starring Agent Carter‘s Hayley Atwell as the rebellious daughter of a former president who is blackmailed into a job as the chief of the Conviction Integrity Unit in New York.
Conviction aired on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET. It will continue in the time slot until January 22, 2017, when the last episode airs.
ABC hoped that Notorious would be able to help the network out in the fall on Thursdays, since Scandal‘s sixth season won’t start until January 19. But the Piper Perabo-led show was a disaster, earning terrible review and horrid ratings. The last episode drew just 2.6 million viewers on December 8.
ABC cut the show’s 13-episode order to 10 in October, when it became clear that few viewers were sticking around after Grey’s Anatomy wrapped.
3. Pure Genius
CBS is the king of precedurals of any kind, but even Pure Genius‘ preposterous premise couldn’t draw viewers. The December 15 episode drew just 5.51 million viewers and was the lowest-rated new show for the Eye Network. On November 21, Deadline confirmed that the show wouldn’t get more than 13 episodes. The last episode will air on January 26.
Pure Genius centered on a tech billionaire (Augsustus Prew) who runs a hospital that treats patients with rare diseases for free and the troubled doctor (Dermot Mulroney) he hires to lead it.
Fox had high hopes for Pitch, which stars Kylie Bunbury as the first female MLB player, but the show’s rating were not great. It averaged 4.8 million total viewers when DVR views are counted, notes The Hollywood Reporter, so Pitch clearly has fans who aren’t tuning in for the first broadcast of an episode. The show’s 13th episode aired back on December 8 and showrunner Kevin Falls didn’t see it as a series finale.
But Fox still hasn’t made a decision about picking up the show for a second season or even giving it a full first season of 20 or more episodes. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Bunbury made a case for a second season.
“We want to see more. You can see that with the fans; the fans love this show,” she told EW. “If anyone gives this show a chance, they love it as well. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this show.”
5. The Exorcist
The Exorcist, which is based on the classic novel by William Peter Blatty and the 1973 film, wrapped up its 10-episode freshman season on December 16. The finale had just 1.84 million viewers, which was about even with the previous episode. Fox hasn’t made a decision yet and, with numbers like that, there’s a strong chance of it not being renewed.
“I don’t know if this is the end of The Exorcist story, I definitely hope it’s not because I love these characters and this world and I have a lot more story to tell,” creator Jeremy Slater told Deadline. “But if this is all we get, then I feel we went out swinging and on a real high note.”
Frequency was another time-traveling series, based on the 2000 movie of the same name. Peyton List (Mad Men) starred as Raimy Sullivan, who communicates with her deceased father, Frank Sullivan (Riley Smith) and they have to solve a murder mystery together. the show’s most recent episode aired back on December 7 and the 10th episode is scheduled to air on January 4. The January 25 episode will be its last.
In November, Deadline reported that The CW will not order a back nine for Frequency. However, the show could find an audience on Netflix, since the network has a deal that brings shows to the network just eight days after their finales air. If it does well on Netflix, Frequency might get a second life.
7. No Tomorrow
No Tomorrow is a dramedy that stars Tori Anderson as Evie, who doesn’t like to take risks. She falls in love with Xavier, played by Joshua Sasse, who loves taking risks. This was a show The CW had high hopes for, so it scheduled the show after The Flash, one of its most popular shows. However, on the same day Frequency got bad news, so did No Tomorrow. The January 17 episode will be its last.
Like Frequency, No Tomorrow will be available on Netflix eight days after the final episode airs.
Returning Shows That Could Get Cancelled
8. The Odd Couple – CBS
The Odd Couple, a reboot of the iconic TV series, has somehow survived to season three, but don’t expect a season four. Season three’s ratings have been so bad that Deadline confirmed on November 29 that the season will only have 13 episodes. The previous two seasons of the Matthew Perry/Thomas Lennon series also only had 13 episodes.
It’s not technically cancelled, but The Odd Couple is CBS’ lowest-rated sitcom. Considering that the network has seven other sitcoms on air right now, CBS won’t miss it.
9. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – The CW
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend proves that no matter how many awards you win, it doesn’t guarantee an audience. Then again, a bizarre move to Fridays never helps anyone. Rachel Bloom’s unique musical comedy series was on the bubble during its first season, but her shocking Golden Globe win gave it the clout needed for a second season.
However, the move to Fridays has put the show on the bubble again. The December 9 episode had less than 600,000 viewers and earned just a 0.2 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. It fans really love this show, they have to tune in when it returns from its winter break on January 6.
UPDATE: Despite the poor ratings, The CW has surprisingly decided to renew Crazy Ex-Girlfriend!
10. The Blacklist – NBC
No one thought even two years ago that the James Spader-starring The Blacklist was in danger of being cancelled. However, the show’s ratings in season four have plummeted. According to ratings data on TV Series Finale, the show is now NBC’s lowest-rated scripted program with 1.15 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic. However, its overall viewership averages 5.85 million, which is more than Timeless, Blindspot and The Good Place. That’s a fact that could save it from ending with a fourth season.
The Blacklist could also get a boost from a new spinoff, The Blacklist: Redemption. Starring Famke Janssen and Ryan Eggold, the new series debuts on February 23 at 10 p.m. ET.