NBC Pre-Season 2024-25 Renew/Cancel: How Do You Solve a Problem Like NBC Comedy?

The NBC Renew/Cancel is back this week for a special pre-season edition, as I look ahead to the upcoming season to see what fortunes are ahead for all of NBC's scripted shows. Keep reading for my thoughts on new shows Happy's Place and Brilliant Minds, as well as returning shows Night Court and Lopez vs Lopez and long-running favorites such as Chicago Med and Law & Order: SVU.

Certain Cancellation:

Likely Cancellation:

Leans Cancellation:
The Hunting Party
The Irrational
Night Court

Leans Renewal:
Brilliant Minds
Happy's Place
Lopez vs Lopez
St. Denis Medical

Likely Renewal:
Law & Order

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

Brilliant Minds: This new medical drama has been gifted with a solid time slot, getting a fall slot behind The Voice over the network's other new drama, The Hunting Party. While The Voice has seen its ratings dwindle over the years, it's still a good launchpad for a new show. Despite modest retention from both, the dramas that aired behind The Voice were renewed the last two seasons, meaning that Brilliant Minds might not need to do all that well in live ratings, as being put in this slot is a show of support in itself. As long as it performs well enough on Peacock, it should be given a second chance, so I'll start by giving it the benefit of the doubt with a LEANS RENEWAL prediction.

Chicago Fire: It's NBC's highest-rated primetime scripted series, and the centerpiece of their most important lineup. Yes, every show has to end eventually, but creator Dick Wolf's other franchise, Law & Order, suggests that this show could still have another decade left in the tank. It's a CERTAIN RENEWAL.

Chicago Med: Though it's slightly less safe than Chicago Fire, Chicago Med is still an incredibly valuable show for NBC. I remain convinced that it will be the first Chicago series to end, but there's still no sign that that end will be anytime soon. Unlike its fellow Chicagos, it still lacks a syndication deal, but its strong linear and streaming ratings will be more than enough to secure another season of the show. It's a CERTAIN RENEWAL.

Chicago PD: Though it's the lowest Chicago in the linear ratings, I believe this franchise entry may be the safest of the three. Not only is it an absolute powerhouse of the 10 PM slot, rating a full tenth above the #2 10 PM series, FBI: Most Wanted, but it's also a syndication goldmine, with deals on both cable and network syndication. It remains an asset for NBC in every regard, and is likely to remain a staple of their schedule for years to come. It's also a CERTAIN RENEWAL. 

Found: Last year's strike meant we barely got any new scripted shows in the 2023-24 season. One of the few we did get was Found, and in it, NBC "found" what looks to be a solid long-term player. In its fall run, Found retained The Voice pretty well, averaging 0.32 behind it. It held up pretty well in its two January episodes behind La Brea, drawing a 0.26 in both of its airings despite La Brea rating much lower than that. It clearly has an audience, and it's getting a fantastic lead-in next season, with the hit procedural SVU leading into it. SVU should be very compatible with it, and this new lineup (which was the initial lineup last season before the strike changed their plans) should do quite well for NBC. Obviously, it's hard to be certain about how this will pan out for NBC before it even premieres, but there are many positive signs, and it starts out this season as a LIKELY RENEWAL.

Happy's Place: It's never easy to predict the future of a show that hasn't even premiered yet, but I'm cautiously optimistic about Happy's Place. NBC seemingly added a second comedy hour to their fall schedule for the sake of this show, which would imply that they're pretty high on it. This sort of multi-cam comedy has done respectably for them on Fridays, with Lopez vs Lopez recently putting up a respectable showing on Fridays in its first season. Whatever this show does, it will most likely be an improvement on last season's Friday at 8 occupants - The Wall, Transplant, and reality repeat, and while Reba probably doesn't come cheap, the show as a whole doesn't seem to be all that expensive, with a cast otherwise devoid of any big-name stars and a premise that won't require many different sets. The show could underperform and get canceled, as NBC has finally stopped automatically granting renewals to freshman comedies, but I think it's pretty well-positioned for relative success, and could be an effective way for NBC to program on Friday nights. It LEANS RENEWAL for now.

The Hunting Party: My initial prediction for The Hunting Party simply comes down to the fact that midseason shows tend to be less successful than fall ones. Fall shows have more time for promotion than midseason shows, and fall slots are often given to the shows that networks have the most faith in. The Hunting Party could still end up being a success for NBC, but for now it feels like a bit of an afterthought. It LEANS CANCELLATION for that reason, though the real test will be once it premieres, as it could easily over-perform my expectations for it.

The Irrational: Though it was quickly renewed last year, The Irrational never felt like all that much of a success story for NBC. It progressively dropped throughout its run after an OK 0.34 debut, ultimately going as low as 0.19 and averaging 0.26 for its first season. That's not awful, but it's enough to make it NBC's lowest-rated returning drama. It's only a singly hundredth above Quantum Leap, another Monday at 10 show that moved to Tuesdays in its second season. That show was, obviously, canceled after a similarly middling run on Mondays. The Irrational will still have a Voice lead-in next year, which Quantum Leap did not have, but I still believe this is the most "obvious" cancellation of NBC's returning programs. If it fails to impress next season, I'm expecting it to get the axe in order to make room for new shows. It LEANS CANCELLATION.

Law & Order: While Organized Crime was canceled by NBC and moved to Peacock last season, two Law & Order series remain. Some may think that that cancellation is an indication that NBC is moving away from the Law & Order brand, but I don't think so. In their renewal press release for their five current Dick Wolf shows, NBC touted Law & Order's strong multi-platform performance, despite it being the weakest of the five shows in that metric. It also does respectable numbers on linear platforms, with a 0.37 average last season. I do expect it to be the current Dick Wolf series that exits the airwaves first, due to its relative weakness in comparison to the other four, but a cancellation next season would be a surprise, as it is a solid, if unexceptional, performer for the network. It's a LIKELY RENEWAL.

Law & Order: SVU: At this point, SVU is a bona fide TV institution, having lasted for twenty-five seasons and counting and entering season twenty-six in the fall. It's the longest-running primetime drama series in TV history, and has produced more episodes than all but three shows. It's a top performer on Peacock, and has other streaming deals on top of that, and can be found airing in syndication at pretty much any hour of the day. While no show can last forever, this massive cash cow is not going to be spontaneously canceled when the time to end it does come. Mariska Hargitay, who has been the show's lead from the very start, is still seemingly very dedicated to the show, and has made no indiction of wanting to end it, nor has creator Dick Wolf. I expect the show will run until Hargitay or Wolf themselves make the decision to end it, and there's no sign that that'll be anytime soon. It's a CERTAIN RENEWAL.

Lopez vs Lopez: The two returning NBC comedies were the hardest to predict. Last season, I guessed cancellation for Lopez vs Lopez, and that turned out to be wrong. This season, I am cautiously optimistic about its renewal chances. The show should, theoretically, be pretty compatible with Happy's Place, another multi-cam sitcom starring a familiar sitcom veteran. It's also returning to Friday nights, where it did pretty decently in its first season, and where expectations for shows are lower than other nights. Getting a fall slot is also a pretty good sign, as it being doubled-up in the spring last season was the main reason why I was convinced it would be canceled. I also expect three of this season's NBC comedies to return in the 2025-26 season if they continue with two hours of comedy, and this show's seemingly inexpensive production and low-priority slot make think that it'll remain safe schedule filler. It LEANS RENEWAL, though that could easily change, especially if Night Court returns strong.

Night Court: And that brings us to Night Court, which I m currently expecting to end after its third season. This show has been NBC's top comedy in its first two seasons, but that didn't stop NBC from shifting it to 8:30 on Tuesdays, nor did it stop them from denying co-producer Warner Brothers the full, twenty-two episode season that they wanted (it ended up with a shorter eighteen episodes). Neither of those are signs that point to certain doom, which is why I'm so uncertain about this prediction, but ratings will inevitably decline with next season's move, and that will definitely work against it. We'll get a clearer idea once it premieres and we can see its ratings, but for now, it LEANS CANCELLATION.

Saturday Night Live: NBC's #1 show is, somehow, a fifty year-old sketch comedy show that airs at 11:30 PM on a Saturday night. SNL is an integral part of American culture at this point, and it's obvious that it will be around for a long, long time to come. It's a CERTAIN RENEWAL.

St. Denis Medical: While NBC is no longer automatically handing out renewals to freshman comedies, St. Denis Medical seems to be in a solid position going into the season. The 8 PM slot has never been more valuable, as the local lead-in has declined at a smaller rate than primetime as a whole, thus providing a solid launchpad for shows. NBC moved Night Court from 8 PM to 8:30 in order to give St. Denis this slot this season, giving it the absolute best chance it has at success. NBC hasn't found a genuine hit comedy in many years, and I don't really expect St. Denis to be an exception to that, but this scheduling should allow it to at least perform better than Night Court, possibly allowing it to be NBC's top comedy for the year, depending on how the Friday lineup does. If it underperforms, it can still be canceled, but it's well-positioned for renewal at this point. It LEANS RENEWAL.

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

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