CW Renew/Cancel Watch: 'iZombie' is Certain to be Canceled

The CW #PRJedi mind tricks have been working overtime through TVBTN CW comment threads. And with the hiatus rolling around for several shows, time to put iZombie back into the headline.

Final Season
Certain to be Canceled
Likely to be Canceled
Likely to be Renewed
Certain to be Renewed
Beauty and the Beast
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Jane the Virgin

The 100
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow


The Flash

The Originals (F)

The Vampire Diaries (F)

Why is iZombie Certain to be Canceled?
It was announced that the show will double pump episode 18 and the season finale on April 12. I don't know what you are thinking, but I think that announcement screams burnoff city and that the CW is probably rushing to make room for Containment. Never mind that iZombie's ratings were better than the CBS Studios produced shows (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, and Reign), The Vampire Diaries, and The Originals. However, it is the lowest rated Warner produced show that is not a coproduction with CBS. That is not going to cut it when CBS politics are in play. And yes, CBS politics also apply to coproductions, folks! With that being said, this latest announcement is the final nail in the coffin for the sophomore series.

Jane the Virgin's CBS Studios Affirmative Action Status Screams Renewal. Why is it Still in the Watching Column?
This week, Jane the Virgin ratings adjusted up to a 0.4 A18-49 rating. Yet there are so many internal factors that may need to be considered.

Tuesday night, I commented on SpoilerTV possible factors that will possibly cause a miss in the TV Ratings Guide predictions if I predicted likely renewal and it was canceled instead. Here are the possible factors.

1. Low Ratings
Jane the Virgin is currently averaging a 0.38 in the adults 18-49 demographic. I figured I would pose the question: Is Jane the Virgin going to be another Reign or another Beauty and the Beast?

Here were the outcomes for the second seasons of Reign and Beauty and the Beast:

Season 2 A18-49 Average

The Vampire Diaries (WB/CBS coproduction with WB getting the distribution rights)
It was renewed, sent to Fridays, and then the third season episode order was reduced from 22 to 18 episodes. It will return on Monday, April 19, to air the remaining season 3 episodes.
Beauty and the Beast
Hart of Dixie (WB/CBS coproduction with WB getting the distribution rights)
It was renewed. the second season went on hiatus in March, and the remaining episodes aired in the summer. It was then renewed for Season 4 ahead of the third season premiere. Season 3 aired entirely in the summer.  

This season, what is different about Jane the Virgin is that it has Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a CBS produced show, as a lead-in. It's deductive reasoning to say that both Reign and Beauty and the Beast got renewed for a third season and so would Jane. However, I think that it's tough to assume the same thing would happen. Both Beauty and the Beast and Reign were renewed when the network was up year to year each season, and at two different circumstances. Beauty and the Beast aired on Mondays, and Reign aired on Thursdays. This season, the network is down a double digit percentage from last season and the Monday scripted show average is down considerably from a year ago. You would probably say that it is irrelevant because of CBS affirmative action, but I wouldn't exactly rule low ratings out just yet.

2. Pilots are Genre. What's Really Compatible with Jane the Virgin?
The CW has ordered six pilots in 2016: No Tomorrow, Riverdale, Frequency, Transylvania, an untitled Mars drama, and an untitled Kevin Williamson produced paranormal project. Here are the pilot descriptions for each one, as quoted in Deadline.

Riverdale: "Set in present day and based on the iconic Archie Comics characters, “Riverdale” is a surprising and subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and their friends, exploring the surrealism of small town life — the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade."

No Tomorrow: "When a risk-averse, straight arrow, female procurement manager at an Amazon-like distribution center who falls in love with a freewheeling man who lives life to the fullest because he believes the apocalypse is imminent, to comedic and poignant results they embark on a quest together to fulfill their individual bucket lists."

Frequency: "A police detective in 2016 discovers she is able to speak via a ham radio with her estranged father (also a detective) who died in 1996. They forge a new relationship while working together on an unresolved murder case, but unintended consequences of the “butterfly effect” wreak havoc in the present day. A reimagining of the 2000 movie."

Transylvania: "In 1880, a headstrong young woman in search of her missing father ventures from NYC to Transylvania where she teams up with a wrongfully disgraced Scotland Yard Detective, and together they witness the births of the most famous monsters and villains in history."

Untitled Mars project: "A team of explorers arrive on Mars to join the first human colony on the planet, only to discover that their predecessors have vanished. Led by a woman whose husband is among the missing, the colonists are forced to change their mission from exploration and settlement to investigation and survival, while navigating the hostile planet and their own personal demons."

Untitled Kevin Williamson paranormal project: "A young woman seeks help from a parapsychologist when she begins to experience paranormal phenomena."

Now for my analysis. Based on the current Renew/Cancel Watch standings, two shows are predicted to be canceled, and we have one show as a toss up. The two major pilots that are getting buzz are No Tomorrow and Riverdale. No Tomorrow and Riverdale are usually on schedule predictions on TVBTN. Here are the historical notes:

In 2015, CBS produced Cheerleader Death Squad was buzzworthy in the pilot development on the CBS side. Ultimately, only Warner produced shows DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Containment were picked up to series. The CW ended up picking up rejected Showtime pilot Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It was then paired with Jane the Virgin. 

In 2014, a Supernatural spin-off was in the works, but was ultimately not picked up to series. That pilot season produced Jane the Virgin, iZombie, The Flash, and The Messengers. Only The Messengers was canceled. 

Now here are the buzzworthy pilots: Riverdale and No Tomorrow. 

No Tomorrow is apparently being developed as a companion piece to Jane the Virgin. However, I don't think it will be compatible with Jane the Virgin. Here's why. The key word in the No Tomorrow description was "apocalypse". Apocalyptic themes are common in genre shows. Jane the Virgin is loosely based on the Venezuelan telenovela Juana la virgen. The series protagonist, Jane gets artificially inseminated by mistake during a checkup. The first season deals with her pregnancy, and the events that happen in a telenovela format. Unlike soap operas, telenovelas only last for a limited period of time while soap operas can go on for many years. So the question is, how could an apocalyptic themed female skewing dramedy fit as a companion to a dramedy that is basically a combination of a telenovela and a soap opera? That's going to be a pretty risky situation indeed.

Now let's look at Riverdale. Riverdale is produced by Greg Berlanti, who has developed and produced Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl. It was originally a pilot developed for FOX with some supernatural elements. Key sentence includes the phrases "surrealism of small town life" and "darkness and weirdness". The leaked pilot script apparently was way too mature for broadcast television because of extremely strong language. If it aired on TV, this will be the one that will get fined from the FCC and get petitioned by One Million Moms and the Parents Television Council. In order to air on the network, it's going to go through some major retooling. I'm hoping that it retains the supernatural aspect so it will air after The Flash, but the casting deems it to be female skewing. This is a show that could go either way. 

The truth is, there really is no true companion for the critical darling. The CW could do something completely unexpected just because of internal politics. Let's take pilot season off the table.

3. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Got the Golden Globe Over Jane This Season, How Can it Not Get Canceled?
When Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe last season, it was a very big deal. This was the very first time that the network has gotten awards accolades outside of the Teen Choice and People's Choice Awards. That show was then renewed for a second season in the CW mass renewals. 

This season, Rachel Bloom won a Golden Globe and a Critics' Choice Award over Gina Rodriguez. However, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was low rated from the start unlike Jane the Virgin. It even has a partial backorder. Let's take the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend quotient off the table, because there are some cases where awards darlings get canceled after one season. 

4. Supposedly Unwritten Rules Do Get Broken Eventually
There is currently an unwritten rule out there that two full seasons gets you a third season. There is also an unwritten rule of syndication that every regular season broadcast show that has completed three seasons of at least 66 episodes that is not produced by an outside studio has been renewed for a fourth season. These two rules have already been broken a long time ago by the CW. 

After the 2013-14 season, Beauty and the Beast was renewed for a third season. However, it was not on the fall schedule. It was then renewed for a fourth season ahead of the third season premiere. The third season was only 13 episodes, and the fourth and final season will also have 13 episodes, enough to have a proper conclusion for Netflix. The CW has modified the rule to be two full seasons gets you a third and fourth season regardless of how many episodes that both seasons get. Sounds simple, right?

Wait, the two full season rule was already broken last season with the renewal of The 100. The 100 only had 29 episodes at the conclusion of the second season. Most shows would get canceled at less than 44 episodes. Yet it was renewed for a third season. Since both Reign and The 100 will not hit the magic number of episodes needed to get a fourth season, their renewals are not certain. They are currently predicted as likely renewals. Two networks have already broken the syndication gods rule with the renewal of Chicago PD earlier this season, and the cancelation of The Mindy Project last season. I think that the renewals of Reign and The 100 will likely break that rule. And with the changing television climate I also think that the two full season rule will eventually be broken in full with either a cancelation, or the inconceivably unlikely renewal of iZombie. 

These are the possible factors cancelation can happen for Jane, even though the Crazy Ex quotient has been dismissed entirely and pilot season has been taken off the table until a future post.

Wait? What About Netflix?
There's also a deal with Netflix that is at stake in the renegotiation saga. There has been speculation about the deal. For example it has been said that Netflix pays higher premiums for established shows. For example comments were saying that Netflix pays more for shows that have reached a fourth season. The details of the Netflix deal are not public knowledge. I'll say it again, what they pay to shows is not public knowledge. What Netflix prefers to pay is not public knowledge. Sorry folks, any source that has Wiki in its name is not reliable by any means, even if they do contain "leaked emails"

What we do know about the deal is that it's keeping the CW profitable, and that according to an article on Forbes that Nikita was renewed to provide a proper conclusion to the series. 

It's not that Netflix prefers shows to reach season four, it's that it prefers a proper conclusion. If the streaming service supposedly wants a show to have four seasons, why are there so many shows on Netflix that were canceled after one or two seasons? Why does Amazon Prime have Veronica Mars, which was canceled after three seasons? The details are not as clear cut as it seems to be. 

At the end of the day, it is possible that Jane the Virgin will be renewed in order to balance out the number of CBS and Warner produced shows. Any other reason besides that is just pure speculation and #PRJedi nonsense. However, I'm not ready to make a final call on the show just yet. Jane the Virgin is still a toss up to be canceled or renewed.

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