UPDATE: ABC has canceled "Wicked City."
Nobody expected it, but for network TV, this has become the Season Without a Cancellation.
Ordinarily, a show or two or half a dozen would already have been pulled off the air at this point, eight weeks into the new season. Instead, every show that made its debut on the five broadcast networks in September is still airing, at least for the time being.
That doesn’t mean this is the Season of Hits. Anything but. Even the most popular new series are merely doing, to put it kindly, “fine.”
And that’s OK with the networks, which appear to have decided en masse to give their new shows time to catch on, or at least to air all the already produced episodes.
Instead of dumping a show after one or two airings and eating those expensive production costs, broadcasters are quietly cutting the number of episodes ordered for the season. Yes, that amounts to cancellation, but it’s both better for the budget and leaves fewer holes to fill during November sweeps and before the holiday lull.
People are also reading…
Meanwhile, under the “bird in the hand” rule, this has also become the Season of Early Renewals. Every network except the CW, which had only one new fall series, has already picked up a freshman series for the full season. NBC has gone farther than that, picking up thriller “Blindspot” for next fall as well.
Here, then, is a show-by-show, alphabetical-order look at fall’s winners and losers, plus those for which the networks still seem to be on the fence.
At this point, though, it pays to remember that “winners” and “losers” are relative. Last season, for example, ABC’s “Cristela” and “Forever” both earned full-season pickups, but neither survived for Season 2.
“Blindspot” 9 p.m. Mondays on NBCMy best-reviewed new show of fall turned out to be the only new show of fall that got much buzz, whether from love or just confusion. NBC responded to the attention, plus the solid ratings with viewers 18-49, those prized by advertisers, by first picking the series up for the full season, then adding a Season 2 renewal. Can “Blindspot” hold up? With its clever mix of mystery and procedural, plus charismatic stars Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton, chances are it can.
7:30 p.m. Fridays on ABC
Critics hated the pilot for Ken Jeong’s “Dr. Ken,” but Friday night viewers embraced it, and the sitcom turned out to be a good fit with Tim Allen’s equally broad “Last Man Standing.” ABC responded with a full-season pickup.
“Grandfathered” and “The Grinder”
7 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Fox
John Stamos and a toddler are slightly out-rating Rob Lowe and Fred Savage in Fox’s paired comedies, which are moving to Tuesdays (along with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and the returning “New Girl”) on Jan. 5. Neither is breaking ratings records, but both have been renewed for the full season.
“Life in Pieces”
7:30 p.m. Thursdays on CBS
The CBS comedy has proved polarizing, driving some viewers away with its adult content or choppy structure and appealing to others for the same reasons. Ratings are strong enough to think it won’t just survive the current season (CBS has ordered all 22 episodes) but survive into next as well.
9 p.m. Tuesdays on CBS
The action drama with Jake McDorman as a young man expanding his mind and Jennifer Carpenter as his FBI confederate is holding up as well as veteran CBS dramas (and better than some). CBS quickly ordered a full season.
9 p.m. Sundays on ABC
The mystery surrounding FBI recruits and a terrorist act has to be a happy surprise for ABC, which might have thought it was too ambitious for Sunday nights. Not so. With the luminous Priyanka Chopra in the lead, “Quantico” has drawn an audience almost equal to that of “Once Upon a Time” and a third higher than the failed soap “Blood and Oil.” If a second season is ordered, though, the question is where “Quantico” can go from here.
7 p.m. Wednesdays on Fox
It’s no “Empire,” but “Rosewood,” starring Morris Chestnut, has built a solid audience with its slight plots and charismatic stars, and Fox has picked it up for the full season. Critics clearly underestimated viewers’ appetite for a modern mix of “Miami Vice” and “Quincy.”
“Angel From Hell” CBS
Technically, a show can rarely be considered a loser before its premiere. But it’s not a good sign that CBS has bumped the Jane Lynch “guardian angel” comedy to midseason. Perhaps someone noticed that the show is unbearable.
“Blood and Oil”
8 p.m. Sundays on ABC
The ABC soap, starring Don Johnson, flopped as badly as the North Dakota coin laundry its heroes set out to start. Low viewership led ABC to cut the number of episodes ordered to 10, from 13. Whether storylines will wrap up remains unclear.
8 p.m. Mondays on Fox
Likewise, Fox cut the order for this crime-solving sci-fi drama to 10, from 13. A plot this complicated seems likely to merely trail off, leaving fans of Dash (Stark Sands) in the lurch.
9 p.m. Thursdays on NBC
Wesley Snipes and Phillip Winchester deserved more than this muddled Las Vegas crime thriller, rejected so definitively by viewers that NBC cut its ordered episodes to just nine, from 13.
“Truth Be Told”
7:30 p.m. Fridays on NBC
NBC can’t have had high expectations for this Friday night buddy comedy with Mark-Paul Gosselaar and and Tone Bell, but viewers said “no” so loudly that the network not only cut the episode order to just 10 but also tore down the sets.
JURY STILL OUT
“Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris” Ended its season on NBC
Ratings were better than expected, so the oddball variety hour could return at some point, maybe in summer or for holiday specials.
8 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC beginning this week
The third entry in Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” franchise hasn’t premiered yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s on solid ground. (After all, NBC canceled its “Coach” revival after seeing the pilot.) Still, behind-the-scenes turmoil at “Chicago Med” seems to have been smoothed out, and with St. Louisan Colin Donnell (“Arrow”) in the cast, it’s a show to root for.
9 p.m. Wednesdays on CBS
The medical drama with Marcia Gay Harden and Luis Guzman is off to a middling start in the ratings, and CBS is overloaded with one-hour shows, which isn’t a hopeful fact.
8 p.m. Mondays on the CW
The CW must have known that its only new series of fall, a wacky romantic comedy/musical fantasy hybrid, would be a tough sell with mass audiences. That’s true as “Crazy,” which probably would be a better fit on cable, struggles for a 1 percent audience share with viewers 18-49.
7 p.m. Thursdays on NBC
The question of who (other than creator Tim Kring and NBC executives) wanted more “Heroes” remains unclear. Ratings so far have been weak enough to lead the network to consider “Reborn” a one-time miniseries.
7 p.m. Tuesdays on ABC
High hopes were dashed by “The Muppets,” which didn’t live up to the promise of the 10-minute teaser first released. Problems may have stemmed from ABC’s wish to rush it onto the air rather than going through a full development process. There was also trouble behind the scenes, leading to the departure of show runner Bob Kushell. ABC has ordered three more episodes, for a total of 16, but will pull “The Muppets” off the air at midseason for some more work.
8 p.m. Tuesdays on Fox
The Ryan Murphy horror anthology isn’t setting first-run ratings on fire, but the audience grows when DVR viewing is factored in, and fans of its snarky camp are true fans. Given that the plan is to start fresh every season, Fox is apparently in no rush to commit further.
7 p.m. Mondays on CBS
After just three weeks, judgment is difficult, but the DC Comics superhero drama starring Melissa Benoist of “Glee” in the title role started strong, then declined. (The third episode was down by 50 percent.)
9 p.m. Tuesdays on ABC
Ratings for this planned anthology-style crime series set in Los Angeles in the 1980s went from bad to worse in the early going. If any show this season is canceled outright, it could be this one.