ABC Renew/Cancel Week 0: No Need to Call 9-1-1 for Any Returning Show... Yet

It's a bit of a strange feeling making a pre-season renew/cancel in February, but it's been a strange TV season. Unlike the other networks, ABC didn't air a single scripted show this fall in any capacity, with an all-reality lineup. After months of strike-related delays, ABC finally fires up their scripted programming this week. That doesn't mean we haven't heard anything about their scripted shows, as Station 19 and The Good Doctor didn't even make the starting line before ABC pulled the plug on both of them. It's time to take a look at the seven (yes, only seven!) remaining scripted shows.

Certain Cancellation:

Likely Cancellation:

Leans Cancellation:

Leans Renewal:
The Conners
Not Dead Yet
Will Trent

Likely Renewal:
The Rookie

Certain Renewal:
Abbott Elementary
Grey's Anatomy

Already Canceled/Ending:
The Good Doctor
Station 19

9-1-1: When it was announced that TV's #2 scripted series, 9-1-1, was moving to ABC after having been essentially canceled by Fox, it was a massive shock, to say the least. Sure, the show wasn't owned by Fox, and it was in its sixth season, but it was far and away their strongest series, and a huge asset for them, ratings-wise. Still, it clearly didn't make financial sense for them, and so it moved to ABC, as it IS owned by ABC parent company Disney, making it a lot more financially viable for them than Fox. So now, ABC has a new show that's entering its seventh season, and it could turn out to be a very big deal for them. They do have several dramas that perform well, but their highest-rated scripted series show overall last season were comedies The Conners and Abbott Elementary, which tied for #12 overall. ABC has the opportunity to take a huge step up in the drama department with the introduction of 9-1-1 to their lineup, and Thursdays have the potential to be a big success for them, as all three shows in the lineup are among the highest-rated dramas on TV. The only thing holding the show back are those financials that doomed it on Fox. Between A-lister Angela Bassett and longtime TV vets like Peter Krause and Jennifer Love Hewitt, the show's cast clearly can't come cheap. I don't think that'll hinder it from getting a renewal this year, but it could cap its overall lifespan a bit, especially if it takes a hit in the ratings upon moving networks. Due to those high costs and the unpredictable nature of this season, it starts as a LIKELY RENEWAL, but it's very much on the cusp of certain renewal. A cancellation would be a huge shock.

Abbott Elementary: One of ABC's highest-rated shows (alongside The Conners) is also their most acclaimed: Emmy winner Abbott Elementary. It's the rare broadcast show to continuously receive Emmy attention in the main categories, and ABC is clearly enthused about this attention, as they've heavily promoted the show's return and boasted about these Emmy wins. Of course, Emmy wins alone aren't enough for renewal, but its ratings sure are, as it averaged 0.50 in the key demo last season, and is also massive on Hulu. Hit shows do occasionally get canceled for reasons beyond their ratings (see: 9-1-1, mentioned just above), but that usually happens further down the line, when contract renegotiations have caused the show's costs to balloon to an unsustainable level. Abbott Elementary is only in its third season, and it's sitting pretty as by far the safest show on the network for a renewal. It's a CERTAIN RENEWAL.

The Conners: Tied with Abbott Elementary for #1 last season was The Conners, which has become one of the most successful revival series we've seen thus far, now lasting for seven seasons (including the one season of Roseanne). That's an admirable run for any show, let alone a high-profile revival, but it begs the question: how close are we to the end? Even the show's cast seems to be wondering, with lead actor John Goodman suggesting in an interview that the show "may be coming to an end." The show was also only picked up for thirteen episodes in May, rather than a full season, though that may have been due to ABC having the foresight to know that the strike would last long enough to significantly shorten the broadcast season. Either way, it's clear that the end of The Conners is much closer than the beginning, but it remains to be seen just how near we are to the end. Despite this, the show's producers have denied rumors that this will be the final season, implying that ABC isn't ready for it to end, either. We've seen plenty of shows still end despite the creatives behind them insisting that the networks were 100% supportive of their show, but with Station 19 and The Good Doctor both getting pre-announced sendoffs already this season, I'm inclined to believe that ABC isn't currently intended to end The Conners this season. Financials will be the major factor here, and the show is undoubtedly expensive, but I'm not currently expecting then sixth season to be its last. It LEANS RENEWAL.

Grey's Anatomy: Another expensive but highly-rated show, Grey's Anatomy is now about to enter its milestone twentieth season. This will be its first full season without original lead Ellen Pompeo in the main cast, having departed midway though last season, which is certainly one way to cut the budget. Other longstanding cast members have also departed in recent years, and only two original cast members remain. All this is to say that, while any show in its twentieth season is undoubtedly expensive to produce, I don't think the costs of the show, or any contractural matters with its cast, will doom it - not now, and probably not in the near future, either. Its ratings aren't what they used to be, but that's also okay, as it remains a power player on streaming and is still an international success. Those income sources are a huge deal for Grey's Anatomy, and make it one of the most profitable shows still on the air. Similar to what I stated above about The Conners, it's hard to imagine Station 19 or The Good Doctor getting final season announcements, but not Grey's Anatomy. ABC is clearly intending to keep going with their longest-running show, and it's a CERTAIN RENEWAL.

Not Dead Yet: The biggest wild card of a significantly slimmed-down ABC scripted class, Not Dead Yet will return for its second season later this week. Its ratings performance in season one was underwhelming, to say the least, having ended on a dreadful 0.18. Its 0.30 season average made it the lowest-rated ABC sitcom of last season, but if they needed a third returning comedy, it theoretically makes sense to pick the fully owned one with slightly worse ratings over an old, unowned, expensive show like The Goldbergs or co-production like Home Economics. The thing is, though, they didn't really need three comedies - they didn't order a single comedy pilot to series, meaning they had an odd number of comedies going into this season. That's made for an awkward lineup that will see 90 minutes of original comedy from 8-9:30 and repeats of Celebrity Family Feud at 9:30. ABC easily could have canceled Not Dead Yet after the strike went on for so long, and instead cut comedy to a single hour, allowing for an hour-long show at 9 instead. That they decided to go ahead with the second season anyway makes me think they are more supportive of this show than I had previously thought, as I viewed it as more of a pity renewal initially. I view this show as a complete tossup, one that ABC will renew if it can perform well enough, but cancel if it puts out more performances similar to its season one finale, especially between ABC's two highest-rated shows. For now, I give it the benefit of the doubt, and I'll say it LEANS RENEWAL.

The Rookie: A decent 10 PM performer, The Rookie moved to 8 PM last year and thrived, going from 0.3s to 0.6s. The show waned as time went on, but it remained a top performer for ABC, rating as their #5 scripted series last season. Its season high was also the highest rating for any scripted show on ABC last season, an impressive feat for a show whose real strength was always in delayed viewing and not in L+SD ratings. This season, it loses that 8 PM cushion and shifts to 9 PM, which is a bit of an unorthodox strategy by ABC, considering how well the 8 PM move worked out. That being said, I don't think it's an indication that ABC isn't happy with how it did, and it's more-so an attempt to strengthen Will Trent, a promising sophomore. The Rookie is aging, though, and I do expect that it will end in a few seasons, especially as we're seeing networks end other high-rated shows like Station 19 rather than going through contractual renegotiations. That means it should be good for a seventh season, but beyond that, it's a bit murky. It's a LIKELY RENEWAL for now, as I doubt ABC will want to give up on a solid show like this before they have to.

Will Trent: As I said above, Will Trent got a heck of a promotion from ABC, shooting from that cursed Tuesday at 10 slot to a valued 8 PM slot. ABC has also done a ton to raise awareness for this show, with repeats airing frequently (including a run of the entire first season on Fridays last summer) and heavy promotion. It's a show that ABC clearly sees potential in, and for good reason, as it did really well for them in a tough spot with a lead-in no show would want (The Rookie: Feds). I'm not sure if that potential will translate to L+SD ratings, or if it will live up to what The Rookie did in this slot, but it probably doesn't need to match The Rookie in order to get a third season. There is a chance that it won't benefit whatsoever, which would make it look pretty weak after such a big boost, and so I'm going to be conservative with my guess for it. As it remains mostly untested, it LEANS RENEWAL to begin the season.

What do you think of my predictions? What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments and make sure to vote in the poll of the week!

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