Right in line with last season, there are 15 comedies returning to the broadcast networks this season. CBS has six of the returning comedies, ABC is close with four, FOX brings back three, and NBC rounds out the list with only two. As of September 2014, two of those comedies, Parks and Recreation, and Two and a Half Men, have already been announced for final seasons, and one, The Big Bang Theory was renewed for three seasons back in January. That means 12 comedies have their fates yet to be determined.
The list is sorted alphabetically, by network (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC), and then by series on the network.
The only comedy to return from ABC’s 13-14 slate is The Goldbergs. The show did well enough for itself on Tuesdays to be upgraded to the Wednesday night comedy block, airing behind The Middle. While never a great indicator of success, repeats in its new timeslot have been very positive for The Goldbergs, with the show going above a 1.0 A18-49 on a number of occasions. It seems unlikely that The Goldbergs will suffer this season, especially since its airing between The Middle and Modern Family.
Chances of Returning: 95%
Now heading into its fourth season, Last Man Standing find itself in a tough spot. The show isn’t owned by ABC and ratings are slowly falling. In fact, Last Man Standing was the final comedy to be renewed last season. If ratings don’t perk up, or at least stay the same, ABC may be ready to call it quits. Depending on how many episodes were ordered for this season, Last Man Standing will be around 80 episodes after its fourth season ends, enough for syndication. Ultimately; however, ABC has a Friday night lineup that works, and I don’t see anything changing (at least yet). The renewal decision will come down to the wire, but in the end, it should all work out.
Chances of Returning: 55%
If any show has been under-rated these past few years, it would be The Middle. The comedy has quietly put up solid results since the beginning, yet never receives the same acclaim as Modern Family. With five seasons under its belt, and a sixth season underway, there seems to be nothing in the way of The Middle extending its run in the Wednesday 8 o’clock lead off spot. Look for The Middle to be on the air for at least another two seasons.
Chances of Returning: 100%
Sometimes I wonder if doing a post for every returning broadcast series makes sense. After all, does anyone really think Modern Family is going to end after this coming season? Absolutely not. The show is still a ratings hit (although down) and recently won its fifth consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Comedy. Instead of taking bets on if Modern Family will, how about we bet if it will win its sixth straight Emmy next year?!
Chances of Returning: 99.9%
Next up: what I (and many others) consider to be one of the worst comedies on television, 2 Broke Girls! Heading into its fourth season, 2 Broke Girls will wait on the bench to start, which will occur upon completion of NFL Thursday Night Football on CBS. While not a hit, 2 Broke Girls has performed okay on Monday nights. It hit a 2.0 A18-49 for its season finale in May, which is its low point. However, many expected it to fall even further, so a 2.0 isn’t horrible. CBS will likely wait for 2 Broke Girls to hit syndication (including TBS) and see if the show experiences any ratings lift. Until then, 2 Broke Girls will remain an option for CBS.
Chances of Returning: 90%
Up to this point, most of the shows on the list seem like sure-fire renewals. The biggest question mark I see (and again, only to this point) is Mike & Molly. For the second consecutive season, Mike & Molly will start its season on the bench. Unlike last season, its hard to imagine the comedy returning to the airwaves by early November. Mike & Molly began its run on syndication this month, in both local markets, as well as FX. It will be interesting to see if the show receives a bump when it returns to CBS later this season. I’ve heard rumors the casts contracts are up at the end of this season, so that throws another question mark into the equation. Mike & Molly will either (A) be cancelled at the end of the season, or (B) fill the role of Rules of Engagement (air wherever CBS needs it). This is a tough call.
Chances of Returning: 51%
For the second year in a row, The Millers will air in the post-Big Bang timeslot. Given its from CBS Studios, CBS is unlikely to let The Millers go anytime soon – even if ratings fall. CBS will continue to push The Millers until it is sold into syndication. Its still at least two seasons away from syndication, but nothing points to CBS ending it anytime soon.
Chances of Returning: 99%
The other freshman comedy set to return on CBS this season is Mom. CBS has a great working relationship with its creator, Chuck Lorre. In addition, CBS is pushing Mom big time this season. First, Mom is airing behind encores of The Big Bang Theory on TBS, leading up to its premiere on CBS. Second, Mom will follow new episodes of The Big Bang Theory on CBS for the first few weeks of the season. Airing behind the number one comedy on television will mean extra exposure (until 2 Broke Girls returns to the timeslot). Mom didn’t have great numbers in its first season, but it held well throughout the season. If those numbers were acceptable last season, I don’t see any argument as to why they wouldn’t be this season. Oh, and it helps that Allison Janney won an Emmy for her work on Mom.
Chances of Returning: 100%
Okay, my hatred for Andy Samberg and Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been known since the series was announced over a year ago. I was bummed when it was renewed (one of the few times I root against a series), but I’ve gotten over it. FOX loves Brooklyn Nine-Nine and nothing is likely to stop that outpouring of love. Sure, viewership isn’t great, but the acclaim is pretty solid. The series earned two unexpected Golden Globes, including for Best Comedy, and was nominated for an Emmy (Andre Braugher). For its second season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is on the move to Sundays at 830, following The Simpsons. Despite running for 20+ years, The Simpsons is still very strong and will given Brooklyn Nine-Nine ample support in the timeslot. Unless Nine-Nine loses a large portion of its lead in, chances are good for it to return (good for fans, bummer for me).
Chances of Returning: 85%
The Mindy Project has been low-rated since the beginning. Why FOX continues to renew it baffles me (although apparently its due to the very young skew of the series). Heading into its third season, the episode order for The Mindy Project has been reduced (to 15) . Of course, it could always be increased, but why not do that out of the gate, especially for a veteran series? FOX doesn’t own The Mindy Project, so they don’t have much incentive to keep it around. If the ratings remain even year-to-year, I could see FOX renewing the comedy. If there are any ratings drops; however, the low-rated Mindy Project will come to an end.
Chances of Returning: 49%
When it debuted in September 2011, New Girl was the surprise hit of the season. The comedy pulled in a massive 4.8 A18-49 demo, enough to be the highest rated show on the night. When season three finished airing in May, New Girl had dropped a whopping 75% of its A18-49 audience – yikes! Despite the ownership by 20th Century FOX, nothing says “keep New Girl on the air” – even its huge syndication deal on Netflix, TBS, and MTV. I’ll probably be wrong with this prediction, but my gut continues to tell me New Girl is dunzo.
Chances of Returning: 10%