Like so many aspects of society, the television industry has been rocked by the coronavirus outbreak.
The pandemic brought production in Hollywood to a standstill, forcing many shows to end their seasons earlier than usual and plunging others into limbo.
It also threw a wrench into the annual May ritual known as upfront week. That’s when the networks typically unveil their new fall schedules to advertisers during lavish presentations in New York City.
It’s before and during upfront week that many TV fans start to fret that their favourite show might be cancelled to make room for new inventory. And so for the last few years I’ve initiated a “TV Death Watch” to explore which series either are in danger of being axed or have been cut down already.
But again, there is a lot of uncertainty in this area because networks, cable channels and streamers don’t quite know yet when shows will go back into production. Will there be a traditional fall season as we know it? Or will it look drastically different?
With that in mind, we present a cursory rundown of what we know so far, including what shows are goners already:
The network didn’t have a typical upfront presentation, but did announce that it had renewed 23 shows for next season, including U.S. TV’s No. 1 drama (“NCIS”) and top-rated comedy (“Young Sheldon”). (They air on Global TV and CTV, respectively, in Canada.)
Twenty-three is a lot of shows, but still there were some casualties. CBS handed pink slips to comedies “Man With a Plan,” “Broke” and “Carol’s Second Act” (all of which aired here on Global), along with the cop drama “Tommy” (also on Global). Those cuts are proof that past success doesn’t guarantee continued triumphs. All of those shows were headed by stars who once were associated with major hits: Matt LeBlanc, Pauley Perrette, Patricia Heaton and Edie Falco, respectively.
CBS previously pulled the plug on “God Friended Me” (CTV), which lasted only two seasons. Also not coming back are two crime dramas that enjoyed long, successful runs before reaching the end this season: “Criminal Minds” (CTV) and “Hawaii Five-0” (Global).
Fox, which doesn’t program nearly as many hours as the other major networks, recently announced a fall schedule that it hopes is coronavirus-proof. It’s a lineup that consists largely of sports franchises (football and WWE wrestling), reality series, animated comedies and shows that were already in the can before the pandemic set in.
Of course, Fox is betting (fingers crossed) that the NFL season will actually happen as planned.
That said, a good chunk of Fox’s established shows — including the highly popular “9-1-1” (Global) and “9-1-1: Lone Star” (CTV) — are being held back for mid-season and Fox appears to be waiting to see how things shake out before dropping the axe on certain shows.
What we do know is that “Empire” won’t be back, having completed its run a couple of episodes sooner than planned because of the shutdown. Also Fox earlier pulled the plug on “Almost Family,” “Deputy” and “Flirty Dancing,” the latter of which also aired on CTV.
As for shows on the proverbial bubble? Well, the dramas “Prodigal Son” (Global) and “The Resident” (CTV) have yet to be renewed, but the bet here is that they’ll be back at some point.
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Apparently winter is the new fall for this network. The CW recently announced that it will delay the launch of the bulk of its new shows until 2021, although the final few episodes of “Supernatural” are expect to air in the fall.
Previously cancelled was “Arrow,” which aired on CTV Sci-Fi Channel.
That leaves “Katy Keene,” which airs here on W Network, as the main CW “bubble” show for now.
ABC has yet to release any details on how it plans to approach the fall, so it’s difficult to tell which shows are on the chopping block. But, hey, we can always speculate.
“Emergence,” “For Life,” “The Rookie,” “Schooled,” “Single Parents,” “Stumptown,” “American Housewife” and “A Million Little Things” (all airing on CTV, except for “Schooled” and “Single Parents” on Global, and “A Million Little Things” on Citytv) were all awaiting word of their fate as of this writing. Of course, some will survive, but none of them should be breathing easy.
Already gone are “Modern Family,” (Global) “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Fresh Off the Boat.” Also, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (CTV) will bow out after airing one more season this summer.
Uncertainty abounds at NBC which, like ABC, has yet to publicize its fall lineup. We know that “Will & Grace” (Global) is done (again) after a second go-around, and “The Good Place” (Global) has gone to the great beyond. But what else?
Let’s just say that fans of “Council of Dads,” “Indebted,” “Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector,” “Perfect Harmony” and “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” (all Citytv pickups, except “Zoey” on CTV) should be a little nervous.