The networks traditionally announce their Fall schedules at the network upfronts in May. As part of that announcement we find out which shows won’t be returning and, therefore have been cancelled. Several of the networks have announced early renewals for some of their more popular shows. Today, ABC came out and announced that eleven of their existing series have been picked up. In addition to the three renewals that were previously announced in January, that makes fourteen renewals.
Here are the lucky ones: America’s Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, Boston Legal, Brothers & Sisters, Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Grey’s Anatomy, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Lost, Men in Trees, Supernanny, Ugly Betty and Wife Swap.
The only real surprise was Men in Trees which has a checkered ratings history. The network hasn’t announced the quantity of episodes they’ll be ordering for each show as yet and I suspect Trees will get a tenuous 13 episode initial order.
What about the rest of the ABC shows? Well, it doesn’t look very good for most. For the most part, it seems like ABC has already made up their mind on many of them.
According to Jim — The series has been around for six years and, as such, is pretty expensive. The ratings haven’t been anything to write home about but have been more resilient than the other sitcoms up against American Idol. There’s a good chance ABC will call it quits.
Big Day — The wedding sitcom went off the air in January after 12 of the 13 episodes aired. Its ratings were poor and ABC is highly unlikely to bring it back for another year.
Day Break — Passionately loved by may fans, ABC made all 13 episodes available on their website. Though the final episode left some questions unsolved, its unlikely to return to series television. In addition, Taye Diggs has signed on to co-star in the proposed Grey’s Anatomy spin-off.
George Lopez — The sitcom is in its fifth year on television. It’s likely expensive and has enough episodes for syndication. There’s a decent chance it won’t be back.
Help Me Help You — The offbeat sitcom was pulled last December due to low ratings and nine episodes. There’s been no word of any interest in its return and Ted Danson has signed on to co-star with Glenn Close in a new drama series for FX.
In Case of Emergency — This sitcom was decimated by American Idol. It will go off the air on April 4th. ABC is calling that episode the season finale though there will still be two episodes left unaired. It’s a longshot for renewal.
The Knights of Prosperity — This series went off the air this month and ABC maintains that it will return this season. It had the misfortune of being pitted up against American Idol but also consistently lost viewers from According to Jim and George Lopez lead-ins. If ABC has a hole to fill in their schedule, this sitcom has a decent chance for a second season, as several at ABC like it (including Entertainment President Steve McPherson).
The Nine — Only six episodes have aired and there are still no plans to air the remaining seven. Several people in the cast have taken on other Fall series, including two for ABC. This one’s not coming back for a second season.
Show Me the Money — The William Shatner game show was a hit initially but quickly slipped in the ratings. ABC still has a few episodes in the can but its very unlikely the dancing girls and host will be back.
Six Degrees — This series is miraculously returning on Friday after an almost five month absence. Once considered a “dead duck,” there are rumors that it may get a second season. It will likely depend on how well it performs in the ratings.
What About Brian — This series was given a second chance after a disappointing freshman year. It usually loses a significant amount of its lead-in audience and frequently lost to NBC’s ratings-challenged Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The season finale airs next week and Brian’s unlikely to be given a third chance.
We’ll know for sure how many of these shows survive or are revived once the network schedules are announced in May. Based on how things are looking right now, none of their chances look very good. Stay tuned!
Postscript: October Road came out of the gate solidly but it’s too early to tell how it will do over the long haul. American Inventor is returning for a second season on June 6, 2007.