ABC Renew/Cancel Watch: Sony, Contracts, Shonda Rhimes, and More

Certain to be Canceled
Likely to be Canceled
Likely to be Renewed
Certain to be Renewed
Blood & Oil
Agent Carter

The Catch
American Crime


Of Kings and Prophets
The Family


Fresh Off The Boat
Wicked City

The Real O’Neals
Dr Ken

The Goldbergs

The Muppets

Last Man Standing

Grey’s Anatomy

How to Get Away with Murder

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD

The Middle

Modern Family

Once Upon a Time



First and foremost, if you missed the first Deadline insider Bubble Watch article, it can be found by clicking here.

Dr Ken and the Power of Sony
It's been said that a Dr Ken renewal may mean a bundle deal with Sony. A similar situation happened a last season, where 20th Century Fox bundled Fresh Off The Boat and Cristela alongside a season 4 renewal of Last Man Standing. Sony right now has two drama and two comedy pilots in development
at ABC, and according to the Deadline Bubble Watch article, a Sony bundle is entirely possible for next season. But first, what does Sony have?

On the comedy side, they have 'Hail Mary', starring Casey Wilson as a person whose decisions have led to her becoming mayor of a failing town. They also have similarly-titled 'Imaginary Mary', which follows a well-adjusted woman whose imaginary friend returns to offer her guidance when she marries a divorced man with three dysfunctional children. Perhaps just as important, it was co-created by Adam Goldberg of 'The Goldbergs' fame.

On the drama side, they have 'Notorious', which follows an attorney and a TV producer trying to control the media and judicial system, how far they will go to attract ratings. Also, they have 'The Jury', an anthology series set to follow a single murder trial. News flash: looks like political dramas are all the talk these days, especially on ABC.

All four pilots, like Dr Ken, are co-productions between ABC Studios and Sony. My personal guess is that a Dr Ken renewal will come with an order of Imaginary Mary, perhaps for midseason, and at least one of the two dramas. Notorious to me looks more likely, since it could fill up a full season, and assuming American Crime comes back, will they really have room for The Jury?

It would be a very unfortunate fate if ABC decides not to go ahead with Season 2 of Dr Ken in a Last Man Standing-less world, but ABC only has one full-on multi-cam in development (The Fluffy Shop), which has so far garnered zero buzz in the media and hasn't been well-received by early critics.

Prediction: Likely Renewal

Why is Castle a Likely Renewal?
With it seeming that ABC's new direction is to go more procedural, if they can negotiate new contracts for the syndicated procedural, things are looking good for it. Whether it would be on the fall schedule or not will remain to be seen, but I think Castle may be ABC's version of Bones in terms of its fate.

What About Nashville?
Nashville has been fractional a large string of times now, and quite frankly ratings have been poor for the show. It's also lacking the prestige that similarly-rated American Crime has. However, the show is a huge asset to Lionsgate, the production company, and the city of Nashville. There's been a proposition for the city to pay $8 million to keep it alive. This raises the question: Nashville could still get renewed, but will it be on ABC?

In a world where ABC is moving more towards procedurals, I think the last thing that will happen is
a fractional veteran hogging up the Wednesday at 10 time slot. It could prove to be a decent summer option, especially if it doesn't cost ABC all that much money to keep it up and running. It could also be an option for CMT, which syndicates the program and is venturing into original scripted programming,  to pick up a fifth season of the show. Most likely, it would cost them pennies, and could benefit all sides. Just a thought.

Note: If Nashville gets a pick-up on CMT but not ABC, that counts as a renewal.

Could The Real O'Neals Get a Second Season?
It's very possible. I see three options right now:

Option 1: The Real O'Neals gets renewed in a fifth hour comedy expansion.

Option 2: The Real O'Neals gets renewed because ABC can only bring back one, if any, of the Friday comedies, and un-owned Fresh Off The Boat has to be called over for lack of any other option.

Option 3: The Friday comedies logically get renewed, and ABC doesn't want to go out of their way to open up a new hour just yet. In that case, it's a clear lock for cancelation, because they'll want to premiere something new somewhere on the fall schedule.

So I really don't know what ABC has in store for the show right now, and if its 1.0s are enough to warrant a renewal, even being an ABC Studios production. Eventually, ABC will have to prepare for a world without The Middle, Modern Family, and even Last Man Standing, so maybe opening up another hour for now wouldn't be such a bad idea so that we could see more than one new comedy on the schedule. Keep a close watch on this show.

NOTE: On Tuesday, The Real O'Neals airs with Fresh Off The Boat as a repeat. Pay close attention to those numbers everyone.

The Catch vs Still Star-Crossed and the Power of Shonda Rhimes
Deadline has more or less written off The Catch, which is saying a lot considering almost everything is considered to be in contention for a renewal according to them. I'm not sure what to think of that Catch prediction; a 1.0 out of a 2.2 is pretty bad, but maybe the show just isn't that reliant on a lead-in? Also, it is severely underperforming based on how relatively high they set that ad rate before the season began. Then again, so is its lead-in. I've made up my mind, and this is what I've come up with:

Not every show produced by a big name can get an automatic renewal. I think The Catch gets renewed if Still Star-Crossed doesn't work out, but it gets canceled if Still Star-Crossed does. Either way I expect Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder all on the fall schedule, with a midseason/spring 4th Shonda drama also on the schedule.

For now, The Catch is still in the "Watching" column, but I'm also "Watching" the speculation on Still Star-Crossed's progress.

Here's a little recap:

-I'm expecting to see Imaginary Mary picked up alongside a renewal of Dr Ken and a pick-up of another Sony show, most likely drama Notorious.
-I'm expecting a Castle renewal as long as contracts work out.
-Nashville is a true bubble show, and may have a future somewhere else if it's not on ABC.
-I'm expecting a Real O'Neals renewal if ABC can add a new comedy hour or can't bring back one or both of the Friday sitcoms. But if they go ahead and keep four hours of comedy + renew the Friday comedies, we have a certain cancelation on our hands. It all cancels out at this point and warrants being in the "Watching" column, at least until we see how it does with a Fresh Off The Boat repeat lead-in.
-I'm expecting to see either The Catch or Still Star-Crossed somewhere on the spring schedule. Not both, not neither.

Even though we're getting down to the wire, ABC still has many tough decisions through the eyes of a public spectator like myself. We don't know how contracts will work out for Castle and Last Man Standing, though I firmly believe that ABC intends to bring both back so long as they do. If negotiations fall through, Nashville and The Real O'Neals will look as strong as ever. Also, please note that I quietly downgraded The Muppets to a certain cancelation. With The Real O'Neals in serious contention, let's forget about this high-profile failure. It's scary to think that in as soon as two or three weeks, I'll be making final predictions for all of these shows.

What do you think? Do you agree with my analysis? Will there be a show to get a shock renewal? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments below!

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