NBC 2022-23 Renew/Cancel Wrap-Up: Final Thoughts on American Auto, La Brea, Lopez vs Lopez & More!

NBC's 2022-23 season is officially settled, following last week's cancellation of their last remaining show, American Auto. It's now time to take a look back on the season that was, looking at my hits and misses and looking ahead to the future for NBC's current programming slate.

Certain Cancellation:
Grand Crew

Likely Cancellation:
Young Rock

Leans Cancellation:
American Auto
The Blacklist*
La Brea

Leans Renewal:
Quantum Leap

Likely Renewal:
Law & Order
Lopez vs Lopez

Certain Renewal:
Chicago Fire
Chicago Med
Chicago PD
Law & Order: Organized Crime
Law & Order: SVU
Night Court
Saturday Night Live

Cancellation/Final Season Announced before 2022-23 Season Began:
New Amsterdam

American Auto: The final show to have its fate announced by NBC, American Auto's engine stalled this season and the show was put out of its misery last week, after two low-rated seasons. While it was one of the stronger shows of a weak comedy class last year, it ranked towards the bottom this time around, and Friday comedy Lopez vs Lopez improved on Auto when it moved to its slot for the last three episodes of its first season in late April and early May. Auto had a well-liked NBC creator in Juyear-tstin Spitzer, but as speculated in my final predictions in May, NBC went with Spitzer's promising new pilot St. Denis Medical over a third season of this show. With NBC's comedy crop standing at four shows with this pickup, American Auto was no longer needed. Though I had doubts about the cancellation towards the middle of the season, and feared my initial Likely Cancellation call was too harsh, I ultimately reverted to my initial call, and this was a hit for me.

The Blacklist: In my pre-season renew/cancel, I stated that The Blacklist was more likely than not to end this season, after reaching the ten-season milestone. That was confirmed in February, ahead of the season's premiere. Though not an "official" prediction, I listed the pre-season prediction I the prediction list above. 

Chicago Fire: As broadcast TV's #1 scripted primetime series, Chicago Fire's renewal was never in any doubt. It saw some larger spring declines than usual, and showed a bit of fatigue, but overall, it remained an obvious renewal and still has a long future ahead of it. This was an easy hit for me.

Chicago Med: As with Fire, the 8 PM Chicago anchor also saw noticeable drops late in the season, and hit multiple. new lows, but was never in danger of cancellation - not even when NBC considered cutting their programming hours. This was a certain renewal all season, and ended up as another easy hit.

Chicago PD: The lowest-rated Chicago, PD's 0.55 average this season was enough for it to remain TV's #1 10 PM series. Any network would be foolish to cancel such a strong and reliable player, and as with its other Chicagos, it was a certain renewal in every Renew/Cancel writeup, thus making it a hit for me.

Grand Crew: Of every show to air in the 2022-23 TV season, only HouseBroken rated lower than this show. Why it was renewed in the first place remains a mystery, as its ratings were nearly as dreadful last time around. NBC has been handing out renewals to first-season comedies as of late with no questions asked, which has resulted in an onslaught of two-and-done comedies on the network. It may be time to rethink this "strategy" (if it can be called that), as none of their underperforming comedies have managed to take off in their second seasons. This show was the cancellation I was most certain about of any show across broadcast TV this season, and this was another hit for me.

La Brea: Despite a year-to-year decline larger than any other, La Brea managed to pull off another renewal this season. The writer's strike, which was only rumored at the rime of La Brea's pickup, was likely responsible for the reprieve, as the series went into production early in order to film its short, six-episode third season early. Its ratings trend this season was terrible, going from a potent 0.49 return to a miserable 0.18 during one of its double-pumped February airings. Despite making preparation for the strike, NBC's fall schedule didn't take the strike into account for the most part, with shows like the Chicagos and two of the there Law & Orders being on the schedule, despite extremely low odds that they will be ready for the fall. Not on the schedule? La Brea, one of the few shows that likely will be ready. It can still end up on the schedule - NBC can't ignore the strike forever - but being left off the schedule is not a good sign for its future. That six-episode final season may well be the last we see of the show, but I've been wrong about its demise in the past. My concerns about the show's ratings trend this year prompted a cancellation prediction that obviously didn't come to fruition in the end, resulting in my only miss of the season.

Law & Order: I was never certain of a renewal here, but I was always pretty sure that the revival of Dick Wolf's signature legal drama would be renewed for another season. Like the Chicagos, Law & Order began to falter a bit at the end of the season, going below the league average in its last four showings and never recovering. However, the same problem faced the show last season, and its fall and winter growth from those spring lows was genuinely impressive. This season only averaged four hundredths below its inaugural revival season, which I'd say is a big win, considering that that short first season was heavily frontloaded. While I'm still not sold on its longevity (particularly if NBC ends up cutting the 10 PM hour in the near future), its placement on the "fall schedule" seems to place it as a solid #2 among Law & Order shows, at least in NBC's eyes. This was a hit for me.

Law & Order: Organized Crime: Speaking of the fall schedule, this Law & Order was left off of it, after reports that it only received a thirteen episode pickup for its fourth season. While the strike will likely lead to most shows only producing about that many anyway, this show was shortened before that became obviously known. It's said that the reason for this was due to creative plans for the fourth season, but that may be purely network PR. After all, this show has managed to juggle multiple episode-long arcs in the past without being capped. What we know for sure is that this show has been a disaster behind-the-scenes, changing showrunners more often than the weather changes. I'm not convinced season four will be the end of the line for the show, but I'm also not seeing much longevity here. Nevertheless, my certain renewal prediction this season was a hit.

Law & Order: SVU: The highest-rated Law & Order series, Mariska Hargitay's star vehicle remains a big success for NBC, and will soon enter its twenty-fifth season. Surely it has to end some day, but that day doesn't seem to be anywhere in the near future, and it may well go on for as long as Hargitay wishes. Obviously, I predicted a renewal here, and it was a hit.

Lopez vs Lopez: Though it drew only modest ratings, I was fairly convinced that Lopez vs Lopez would be welcomed back for a second season. It's been some time since NBC canceled a freshman comedy, and its ratings were acceptable enough for an NBC comedy, rating ahead of all three veterans. It also had a full season order, a rarity for an NBC comedy, which signified NBC's commitment to the show. Its future remains murky, and will depend on when and where it airs, but it's in a decent position for a third season at this point. It was a hit for me this season.

Magnum PI: As its fifth season will be split over two ten-episode half-seasons to air in the 2022-23 and 2023-24 TV seasons, a renewal decision was not guaranteed to be made here alongside the rest of NBC's shows. I still believe a sixth season

Night Court: Like nearly all revivals (if this can be called that - only John Larroquette returned from the original cast in a main role), this show started off strong and slid as the season went on, though one thing always remained the same: it was always NBC's highest-rated comedy. That's why I was certain from the start that it would be picked up regardless of where it settled. Next season will be telling as to whether it has any sort of long-term future on NBC, or if it will continue to drop, particularly as it will likely face a larger gap between seasons than normal, thanks to the strike. It was a hit this time around, but it may well be a difficult show to call next season.

Quantum Leap: NBC's only new drama this season, Quantum Leap drew so-so ratings behind The Voice, and I viewed it as only leaning towards renewal. Despite this, it was handed a full season order quickly, and was then picked up for season two before the close of 2022. The mediocre ratings continued in the second half of the season, but it likely still did well enough for NBC to not regret renewing it, as its 0.3s were relatively average for the 10 PM time slot. It'll move to Tuesdays next season, and how it holds up in that move will be indicative of whether it has a future on NBC, though NBC's standards in the slot aren't very high. It was a hit this time around.

Saturday Night Live: Despite the season ending early due to the writer's strike, Lorne Michaels' iconic, high-rated sketch comedy show will be back soon enough, having received a pickup for next season. NBC is already planning on celebrations for its 50th season in 2025, and it will likely continue for far longer than that. This was an obvious hit.

Young Rock: The longest-running NBC comedy this year was Young Rock, and NBC threw it to the wolves, airing it Fridays at 8:30. I thought it was doomed from the moment of NBC's schedule announcement, and its ratings did little to change my mind, sliding again this season after already dropping a ton last season. Posts from The Rock himself around the time the finale aired seemed to point towards the show ending, and I was proven right when NBC canceled it earlier this month, after dragging out a decision for over a month. This was another hit.

Closing thoughts:

In all, I'm proud of my record this season, being correct on 93% (or 13/14) of my predictions. That's an improvement on last season, when I missed both Mr. Mayor and Grand Crew. I was able to guess that NBC would cut its underperforming veteran comedies, though they were a bit more lenient overall than I expected, ordering another season of La Brea while I guessed cancellation. Much of the lineup was easy to guess, as Dick Wolf productions take up a large portion of their schedule. I expect next season to be a bit more unpredictable, with the network's comedies looking to be harder to guess and even some Dick Wolf production potentially being in danger. I'm excited for next season, whenever that may be.

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