The broadcast networks have their Upfront presentations with the advertisers this week, then they will unveil their schedules for the 2017–18 season. Things have been busy this week with plenty of renewal and cancellation announcements. We know the fate of almost all of this season’s #scifi and #fantasy shows from the broadcast nets at this point and will see the full schedules for the coming season next week. Here are the times and days that each of the networks will have their presentations:
- NBC — Monday May 15th (Morning)
- Fox — Monday May 15th (Afternoon)
- ABC — Tuesday May 16th (Afternoon)
- CBS — Wednesday May 18th (Afternoon)
- The CW — Thursday May 19th (Morning)
You can see Part 1 of my rundown of the new show pickups (mostly for the cable channels and streaming services so far) here. I will be putting up Part 2, which will cover the remaining broadcast net pickups and any other announcements, next week. Below is my rundown of the renewals and cancellations by network as well as other sci-fi TV news from this busy week. Note that the one CBS genre entry, MacGyver, was already renewed in March. You can find more detailed coverage of the renewals and cancellations over at CancelledSciFi.com.
1. ABC Renews Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. And Once Upon A Time
The ratings are down and ABC has cancelled quite a number of shows this week, but apparently the network wants two familiar names to carry over to its 2017-18 schedule as it will keep its two veteran genre entries around for at least one more season each. Both shows have struggled mightily in the ratings this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if ABC announced the upcoming fifth season of AoS as its last at some point. As for Once Upon A Time, it will go through a reboot of sorts next year with Jennifer Morrison along with several others no longer onboard as series regulars. But that one could continue to stick around as long as Disney wants to keep cycling its fairy-tale characters through the show’s story arcs.
As for that network’s only other sci fi entry from the current season, Time After Time, that one was pulled from the schedule last month and will not be returning for a second season.
2. Fox Renews Gotham And Cancels Sleepy Hollow
Fox had the most sci-fi and fantasy shows among the Big Four broadcast networks this season and also had the most cancellations. Among the renewals, Gotham and The Last Man on Earth both got the nod for another season even though that latter show has struggled somewhat in the ratings this season. Lucifer already received its third season renewal earlier in the year.
Among the cancellations, Sleepy Hollow received the ax as expected as its numbers dropped to all-time low levels this season. Fox’s two freshman genre comedies, Making History and Son of Zorn, will both be one-season-and-done, which is not a surprise because neither attracted much of an audience. There has been no official word yet on either The Exorcist or Scream Queens, but both of those are likely goners based the low ratings they pulled in Fall.
3. NBC Cancels Timeless And Pretty Much All Of Its Genre Shows
[Updated 5/13/17] NBC cancelled its time travel series Timeless last week, but then history changed and the show was uncancelled. Originally, the network chose to let that one go and to keep the two lower-rated non-genre entries — Taken and Blindspot. However, on Saturday, the network announced that Timeless will be coming back for a second season of 10 episodes, which will air in Spring or Summer of 2018. Sony, who co-owns the show with the network, may have negotiated a new deal with NBC to make the renewal more attractive. I have to believe that the huge outpouring of support from fans played at least a small part in the decision.
As for NBC’s other genre show, its superhero comedy Powerless was yanked from the schedule a few weeks ago and it was officially cancelled this week. Also, that network’s dark fantasy, Emerald City,was officially cancelled last week. With Grimm wrapping up after its six-year run, that leaves the comedy series The Good Place as the only genre survivor for the peacock network.
4. The CW Cancels Frequency, Renews iZombie And The Originals
Since The CW likes to be the Happy Net, it typically does not have too many cancellations at this time of the season. But then it usually has at least one sacrificial show each year, which turned out to be the time-travel themed Frequency (along with the non-genre entry No Tomorrow). That show appeared to be on the outs when it failed to find much of an audience in Fall. However, it has been streaming on Netflix since February, so there was a chance it could have received a boost there. Apparently not much of one though, because the show was officially cancelled this week.
As for renewals, both iZombie and The Originals both received the nod for another season, as expected. The latter show is almost certainly headed into its final season, whereas iZombie could potentially stick around for another year or two.
5. Starz Renews American Gods For A Second Season
Apparently, the premium cable network Starz did not want the broadcast networks to get all the headlines for the week, as it announced that its new series American Gods will be returning for a second season. That comes as no surprise seeing as the show has debuted with decent ratings for its network and as also received warm reviews and good buzz among the sci-fi community.
It has only aired two episodes so far, but I predicted the early renewal because that is the way the premium cable channels typically roll when their original shows start out well. AG only has eight episodes scheduled for its first season and the second should be about the same number and possibly more.
6. Syfy Gets Happy! And Krypton
Syfy also wanted to get in on the flurry of news as it announced two series pickups this week plus a development project (and a new logo). Happy! is based on the Grant Morrison comic about an ex-cop plagued by a perpetually happy blue-winged horse that only he sees. Krypton has been in the works for a while and is a Superman prequel series set on the titular planet (more to follow on these two in the upcoming Part 2 of the new show rundown). The network is also working on adapting George R.R. Martin’s supernatural story Nightflyers, though Martin himself will not be involved.
Another project that Syfy has had in the works, the AI-themed The Machine (with Katee Sackhoff and Lance Henriksen attached), is still getting kicked around. But the network has passed on the supernatural drama The Haunted. The cable channel also unveiled its new logo (see above) as it re-brands to an extent and tries once again to make a strong grab for the genre audience.
7. Amazon Headed To Carnival Row
Amazon also announced a new series pickup, but I did not include it in Part 1 of my new show rundown because we will have to wait a while to see it. Carnival Row is a fantasy drama that comes from Rene Echevarria (Star Trek) and Travis Beacham (Pacific Rim). Deadline Hollywood describes the show as:
A fantasy-noir set in a neo-Victorian city. Mythical creatures fleeing their war-torn homeland have gathered in the city, and tensions are simmering between citizens and the growing immigrant population. The series follows the investigation of a string of unsolved murders that are eating away at whatever uneasy peace still exists.
Amazon has ordered eight episodes for the show’s first season, tackling the topical themes of immigration, but it will not start filming until late 2018, with a 2019 debut planned.
8. 12 Monkeys Returns for Its Third Season, Which Will Air Over Three Days
This Friday, Syfy’s time-travel series 12 Monkeys returns for its third season, airing in a quasi-binge-run over three days. Four episodes will air Friday followed by three each on Saturday and Sunday to run the show through its full 10-episode season (and it has already bee renewed for a fourth). On Sunday, Showtime’s revival of Twin Peakswill have its debut.
9. The Shannara Chronicles Journeys Over To Spike TV
The Shannara Chronicles, based on the Terry Brooks fantasy book series, debuted on MTV last year, but it will be venturing to a new location for its second season. MTV is re-branding and shifting away from genre scripted programming like this and Teen Wolf (which wraps up its six-season run in summer). That means that The Shannara Chronicles will be moving to another Viacom network, Spike TV, which will be re-branding to Paramount TV this year or next. To give the fantasy series a boost, the first season will get an encore run with new series The Mist as its lead-in this summer. Then, The Shannara Chronicles will have its second season debut in fall. You can get a preliminary look at the upcoming sci-fi and fantasy shows for summer and beyond here.