Which Returning Dramas Will Return Next Season?

There are 37 returning dramas this season, up five from last season.  CBS leads the pack with ten, ABC and CW follow up with eight each, NBC is close with seven, and FOX is far behind with four returning dramas.  Two dramas, Glee and Parenthood, have already been announced as heading into their final season.  That means a whopping 35 returning dramas have their fates left up in the air.  This is the first year I’ve decided to tackle all the returning dramas.

agents of shieldWhile far from a breakout hit, Agents of Shield put up respectable numbers throughout last season.  This year, its on the move to the tentpole 9 o’clock hour.  In addition to the original series, ABC has a spinoff in the works for mid-season (Agents of Carter).  Barring any major collapse, there is no reason to believe Agents of Shield is done just yet.
Chances of Returning: 100%

castleWhen it debuted in 2009, I didn’t think Castle would be around in 2014 for its seventh season.  ABC has had quite a tough time finding new pieces to its lineup, so the average (and steady) Castle has remained on the schedule.  I don’t see Castle coming to an end just yet, but it’ll likely wrap-up within the next two or three seasons.
Chances of Returning: 90%

GreysS8MainCastCan you believe Grey’s Anatomy is heading into its eleventh season?  It seems almost impossible that the serial medical drama has been able to last that long.  The series recently lost one of its original cast members (Sandra Oh), but that really hasn’t hurt Grey’s Anatomy in the past.  If anything, the move the 8 o’clock timeslot will dent Grey’s Anatomy a few tenths.  With rising costs, Grey’s Anatomy is going to have to end soon.  I’m thinking that means at least one more season after this one.
Chances of Returning: 90%

nashvillABC Studios owns Nashville, along with Lionsgate TV, which may be one of the main reasons the drama has been able to squeak by with low ratings (the music sales help too).  Nashville was one of the final renewals of the past season, and a lot of it had to do with costs.  Negotiations came down to the wire, with ABC scoring an incentive package with the state of Tennessee to keep the series in Nashville.  That helped bring the cost down by about $8 million dollars.  If ratings continue to slip, and ABC can’t find another tax break, the odds become stacked against Nashville.  It seems like too much to ask from a low-rated series.
Chances of Returning: 35%

once-upon-a-timeABC is tapping into the new mega-Disney franchise, Frozen, for the upcoming season of Once Upon a Time.  Whether or not it brings in a new audience remains to be seen.  Once Upon a Time will once again; however, air a split season, which really helped the ratings stop dropping last season.  Once Upon a Time is basically the only saving grace for ABC on Sunday nights.  Since other shows have been able to last just as long with lower ratings (ahem, Revenge), no way Once Upon a Time is ending this season.
Chances of Returning: 100%

LOGO_-ONAIR_Resurrection_57778_302__140307200731Resurrection debuted big, fell in subsequent weeks, and then finished with a 2.1 demo.  That is a similar trajectory of last seasons The Following, and we all know how that worked out in season two.  Still, ABC has had trouble on Sunday nights and Resurrection has done well in the post-Once Upon a Time timeslot.  Two additional factors are working in favor of Resurrection: season two will consist of only 13 episodes, and will air in the higher-HUT fall season.  While a drop in ratings is likely, I don’t see a drop in the range of 30-40% happening, and that’ll be a success for ABC.
Chances of Returning: 75%

revengeRevenge is one of those shows that was meant to be a limited series.  The initial premise was intriguing, then became too “out there” and “confusing” in season two.  Season three was supposedly a bit better, but that didn’t stop the ratings from bleeding further.  After three low rated seasons, and another one likely on the way, ABC has to cut the dead weight soon.  Sorry Revenge, you’re time is up.
Chances of Returning: 5%

scandal-abcLet’s be honest, Scandal is not going anywhere.  ABC’s entire Thursday night lineup is now built upon Scandal, and for good reason.  The number one drama on broadcast television ended its last season with a huge 3.4 A18-49 demo.  Even if Scandal slips in its new 9 o’clock home, it’ll continue to be the number one drama on tv (or at least in the top 3).
Chances of Returning: 100%

Blue_Bloods_2010_IntertitleWhile never a big demographic player, Blue Bloods has been solid like a rock on Friday nights in terms of viewership.  In fact, Blue Bloods has only fallen below 10 million viewers once, back in 2011 when it aired behind dud-Made in Jersey for two weeks.  In addition, CBS recently sold the drama into syndication for a large sum of money.  The Hawaii Five-0 / Blue Bloods duo is working on Friday nights, and nothing leads be to believe the duo will collapse this season.  The Tom Selleck drama will be around for a few more years.
Chances of Returning: 95%

criminal mindsHeading into its tenth season this fall, Criminal Minds is the tent-pole in the Wednesday 9 o’clock timeslot.  It has aired in that same timeslot for all ten seasons, excluding an episode that aired behind the Super Bowl.  While it has never been a huge hit (not even close to NCIS), it has done well for all these years.  The only major item that may hold back a renewal for season eleven is contract negotiations.  A majority of the cast signed two year deals before last season, meaning new contracts will have to be signed after this season.  If they go on as long as last time, it could spell a bit of trouble for Criminal Minds.  Still, it seems safe to bet that it’ll be back.
Chances of Returning: 95%

csiFifteen years.  That is how long CSI has been on the air.  Long past its super-hit status, CSI has settled into the “average/below average” performer these past few years.  After spending the last three seasons airing behind Criminal Minds, CSI is on the move again, this time to Sundays at 10.  If you recall, this is the same timeslot CSI: Miami went to for its final two seasons.  CBS has already penned in CSI: Cyber for midseason in the timeslot, so it makes me wonder if CSI has a reduced order or if it will switch timeslots again.  Either way, its not very positive news.  I don’t think CBS will can CSI just yet, but if not this year, definitely next.
Chances of Returning: 51%

elementaryCBS is in love with Elementary despite its ever-low ratings.  It snagged the post-Super Bowl timeslot two seasons ago, and will return to its Thursday 10 o’clock home once again this October (it is delayed due to NFL Thursday Night Football).  Had Elementary been owned by another studio, rather than CBS Studios, it would have been cancelled at the end of last season.  But because it is owned by CBS, and scored a huge $3 million dollar per episode syndication deal, it’s not going anywhere (except maybe a new timeslot).
Chances of Returning: 95%

good wifeOkay, this has to be the year The Good Wife finally comes to an end, right?  I’ve incorrectly guessed the fate of The Good Wife before, and I’ll probably do it again.  Saying CBS loves this show would probably be an understatement.  Juliana Margulies  picked up an Emmy this year for her work, despite the show failing to even pick up a nomination.  If the ratings remain somewhat stable this season, I cannot see CBS dumping it.  My head says season seven (next year) will be a reduced 13 episode final season.
Chances of Returning: 55%

Hawaii_five-oHawaii Five-0 looked like it was heading toward a slow death with its move to Friday.  Then it surprised nearly everyone when it became a solid performer.  As mentioned above, the duo of Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods is solid and is working right now.  CBS has problems elsewhere on the schedule that Fridays aren’t much of a worry.  In addition, the show also has a huge syndication deal with TNT, and CBS does own it.  No point in CBS getting rid of Hawaii Five-0 anytime soon.
Chances of Returning: 85%

The_Mentalist_LogoThe once popular The Mentalist looked like it was a dead man walking in the Sunday 10 o’clock timeslot.  Then, CBS renewed the series, easily becoming one of the most shocking renewals of the 2013-14 television season.  I have read a few reports that this has already been announced as the final season of The Mentalist, but I haven’t found anything official (at least yet).  Either way, no way The Mentalist scores another surprise renewal.
Chances of Returning: 0%

NCIS_titleNCIS is easily one of the most popular dramas on television.  It never has been a demographic magnet, but it does draw in a very large audience.  CBS not only has NCIS, but also two of its spinoffs, Los Angeles and New Orleans.  There is little reason to believe CBS is thinking about ending NCIS.
Chances of Returning: 100%

NCIS_Los_Angeles_1.svgFor the first time in its six year history, NCIS: Los Angeles will have to air without the support of NCIS.  It now has to deal with Scorpion, airing against The Blacklist and Castle.  Despite that, I have to believe NCIS: Los Angeles has somewhat of its own audience by this point.  If not, CBS may be in trouble with NCIS: Los Angeles.  In the end, the drama will likely be down compared to last season, but should hold up okay on Mondays.
Chances of Returning: 75%

PersonOfInterstLogoFor its first two seasons, Person of Interest was putting up some very solid numbers, typically hanging around a 3.0 A18-49 demographic.  CBS shifted the drama to Tuesday nights last season, where it suddenly started delivering 1.8 A18-49 demos on a weekly basis.  As has been the theme, syndication plays a large role.  In the case of Person of Interest; however, CBS does not own the series, Warner Brothers Television does.  Person of Interest is going to have to hold fairly even year-to-year to not begin rumors of a possible cancellation.  I do not believe it will happen this season, but long term, I do not think it looks good for Person of Interest.
Chances of Returning: 65%

the 100Easily one of The CW’s better performers last season, The 100 returns for its sophomore season.  The CW is bringing The 100 back to the same timeslot, with the same lead in.  The only thing that changes is airing during the fall season, which is typically higher rated than the spring.  The 100 has already been confirmed to have a 16 episode season, so The CW appears to be keeping serialized shows episode number down (or at least here).  Since The 100 worked so well last season, I cannot imagine it suddenly collapsing.
Chances of Returning: 100%

arrowArrow has done very well for the past two seasons, helping The CW break its image of the teenage girls network.  Airing in the same timeslot for the third season, with much of the same competition, shouldn’t harm Arrow much.  It has become a bit older over time, but it continues to performs well.
Chances of Returning: 100%

Beauty_and_the_Beast_intertitleI mentioned above that The Mentalist was one of the most surprising renewals of the 2013-14 television season.  Joining it on the list is Beauty and the Beast.  Pulled from the schedule by The CW halfway through its second season, the network eventually rescheduled it for the summer.  It looked dead.  Then, out of nowhere, Beauty and the Beast was renewed.  How?  Possibly international ratings, or internet viewing.  In either event, it certainly was not the Live + SD ratings it was putting forward.  Simply because The CW renewed it with low ratings last year makes me hesitant to make a call here.  It might be an easier call if a timeslot was known, but one hasn’t been announced yet.  In the end, I’m going with…
Chances of Returning: 40%

Hart_of_Dixie_titlecardNever a huge hit, Hart of Dixie has been able to sneak through to its fourth season with just ‘meh’ ratings: nothing horrific, nothing great.  It was moved to Friday nights last season, where it began to appear to be very lifeless.  The CW renewed it, without much surprise, though.  The official episode order for its fourth season is only ten episodes, so I’m thinking this is the beginning of the end of Hart of Dixie.  I wouldn’t be surprised if The CW renewed Hart of Dixie, but the end appears near.
Chances of Returning: 5%

the originalsThe Originals, a spinoff of The CW’s most popular series, successfully launched itself on Tuesday nights in the lead off timeslot.  After one season on Tuesdays, The Originals is shifting to the much more difficult Monday night.  The Originals was a very strong performer for much of its first season, but once spring hit, ratings sunk low (along with most of the shows on The CW).  I’m thinking on a tougher night, those lower ratings will become the norm.  Despite what may appear like lower ratings, Monday nights have been tough for The CW.  The Originals is likely to be an improvement, and that is all The CW is asking for right now.
Chances of Returning: 90%

reignThe ratings for Reign became quite ugly as the spring season set in.  It finished its season with an 0.4 A18-49 demographic – not good.  However, most of the season Reign did 0.5’s, when The Vampire Diaries was continually putting up series lows.  This is the first time The CW is leaving a series in the post-Vampire Diaries timeslot for more than a season.  To me, that sounds like The CW is behind the series.  It may move to a new night at some point in the season, but a cancellation is unlikely.
Chances of Returning: 85%

supernaturalThe series that just won’t die is Supernatural.  Each time it looks like it is the end of the line, Supernatural begins to pick up steam.  Heading into its tenth (!) season this fall, Supernatural is staying put in its Tuesday 9 o’clock timeslot.  The series had a quite a strong season last year, so impressive that The CW ordered a spinoff (it was eventually passed on).  If Supernatural does end anytime soon, my guess is the decision comes from the cast, not the network.  I’m going to remain positive about this year, but next season may be the last for Supernatural.
Chances of Returning: 95%

The_Vampire_Diaries_(title_card)Last season, The Vampire Diaries ended on a sour note with an 0.8 A18-49 demographic.  I’d say it is not a trend, but most of the numbers for The Vampire Diaries in the spring were series lows.  It will be interesting to see if interest picks back up in the fall again, or slips once more.  In either case, I do not see The CW letting the vampires die just yet.
Chances of Returning: 100%

bonesKicking off its tenth season this fall, Bones has been reliable for FOX since the very beginning.  Never a huge hit, it has been able to plug holes in the FOX lineup no matter where it is placed (Bones has pretty much aired on every night, in every timeslot).  Because the show is heading into its tenth season now, I almost feel as if it has to end soon – like after this season.  However, the FOX lineup is a huge mess.  Nothing is doing well in the ratings, so would FOX really give up on Bones?  Simply because of how poorly FOX is performing, I think Bones returns for one last season in 2015.
Chances of Returning: 65%

The_Following_intertitleAs above with BonesThe Following is another show that would probably be off the air if FOX was in better shape.  FOX is not in good shape though, so The Following is back.  After a solid first season, The Following collapsed in season two, even with the help of the NFC Championship game airing before episode one.  The second season finished with a very “meh” 1.5 A18-49 demo.  Throw in new leadership at FOX, and the fate of The Following is pretty murky.  This is one of the few shows that could very well go either way.  It’ll be close, but I think FOX sticks around for at least one more go-around.
Chances of Returning: 50.1%

sleepy hollowThe breakout hit of last season, Sleepy Hollow has been off the air since January.  In the broadcast world, nine months is a long (long) time.  Since the show has been off the air for so long, some of the audience may have forgotten about it, leading to a Following-type situation (solid first season, horrible second season).  Despite the long break, Sleepy Hollow did finish its first season with a solid 2.4 A18-49 demo, and had positive word-of-mouth from fans.  Airing along buzzy-Gotham should help keep Sleepy Hollow from falling apart, even with tough competition.  With so many low points, Sleepy Hollow is one of the brighter spots on the FOX lineup.  Even if it falls 20-30%, it will be back.
Chances of Returning: 100%

the blacklistThe number one new drama last season, The Blacklist is back for its second season.  NBC will air the first half of its season on Monday nights at 10, right where it aired last season, and then shift it to Thursdays at 9 beginning in February.  Before The Blacklist shifts to Thursday nights; however, NBC will use it following the Super Bowl.  NBC knows how big The Blacklist is for them, and they are willing to take risks to bring it to new heights.  Whether that risk works will be interesting to watch.  We all know NBC isn’t canning The Blacklist though.
Chances of Returning: 100%

chicago fireAn average performer in season one, Chicago Fire grew a bit in season two to be a solid hit for NBC.  I’m not expecting any major loses this season, even if the new comedy lead ins suffer.  Supposedly NBC is looking at a medical spinoff of Chicago Fire for next season.  NBC isn’t going to reduce its newest franchise anytime soon.
Chances of Returning: 100%

chicago pdThe first season of Chicago PD was basically like the first season of Chicago Fire: stable performer, but nothing spectacular.  The first season finished with a 1.6 A18-49 demo, holding onto its SVU lead in.  The only thing I believe holding Chicago PD back is its timeslot.  If NBC wants to push Chicago PD any further, a short time behind The Voice may help.  But as I said above, NBC isn’t reducing its newest franchise yet.
Chances of Returning: 100%

grimmFor three seasons, Grimm has performed well enough on Friday nights.  Last season, NBC tried a similar series pairing, with Dracula, but that didn’t work out too well.  NBC is giving it a second go this season with Constantine.  All of this trying leaves me to believe NBC is very happy with Grimm, but wants another series to pair with it.  If Constantine doesn’t hit, could that effect Grimm?  Possibly, but I doubt it.  Grimm will be back next season.
Chances of Returning: 85%

hannibalNBC loves Hannibal.  For two seasons, the show has performed poorly in the ratings.  What it lacks in ratings, it picks up critical acclaim.  Sure, Hannibal hasn’t won any awards, but its that sophisticated series that ups the ante.  NBC is going into a third season with Hannibal, so I see no reason for it to end.
Chances of Returning: 95%

SVUopeningFifteen seasons.  343 episodes.  Law and Order: SVU continues to chug along after all these years.  After two years of dwindling ratings, SVU looked to be heading toward cancellation.  Then, the ‘Benson Saga’ began and ratings upticked, giving the shows fifteenth season a two year high.  With no ‘saga’ on the horizon, interest will likely begin to wane once again.  It will be interesting to see how low SVU will sink before NBC calls it quits.  SVU is huge in syndication (USA), so cancelling it would cut off a cash cow for NBC Universal.  The cost of is rising, and remember, NBC never gave the mothership a proper final season.
Chances of Returning: 35%

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