Updated May 17: With 53 broadcast shows not yet renewed, a LOT of programs could get the ax over the next month. Which shows will come back? Which will the networks bury? We spoke to industry insiders to get the scoop and have ranked all the limbo shows from safest to dead-est, starting with…
49. Chicago Fire, Justice, Med, P.D., and Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Every NBC show Dick Wolf makes. The producer’s four Chicago titles and Law & Order: SVU are certain to come back (even Chicago Justice — the straggler of the bunch). Also a total lock is…Update: Fire, Med, P.D., SVU renewed, Justice in limbo still…
48. Speechless (ABC)
Solid ratings, critical praise and an inexpensive first-year show? That’s everything a network loves. Technically ABC also hasn’t renewed other Wednesday comedies like Modern Family (the cast is in contract renewals), Black-ish, or The Goldbergs, but those will come back too. Update: Renewed!
47. Designated Survivor (ABC)
Should live up to its name. Ratings have dropped and the showrunner was changed as part of a creative tweaking, but with 12 million viewers and a 2.9 rating for the season, Kiefer Sutherland’s latest is the highest-rated show on this list. Update: Renewed!
46. American Housewife (ABC)
Sure, why not? A decent freshman performer that should skate to a renewal (just like ABC’s The Middle, which has the same ratings). Update: Renewed!
45. Once Upon a Time (ABC)
Don’t worry Onesies (or whatever Once Upon fans call themselves): Despite lower ratings than many on this list, we hear the veteran fantasy is a near-lock to return. There could be a BIG shake-up in Storybrooke, however, to keep costs down… Update: Renewed!
44. The Blacklist (NBC)
Raymond Reddington isn’t getting crossed off quite yet. Update: Renewed!
43. 2 Broke Girls (CBS)
On its sixth season and in danger for the first time. CBS and studio Warner Bros are in negotiations. CBS is downright savage when it comes to axing its weakest shows in May, but we expect they’ll work this one out. Update: But they didn’t. Canceled. We did mention the savage part, right?
42. Gotham (Fox)
Eventually, we’re going to hit several lower-rated Fox dramas near the bottom of this list. When Gotham is renewed for a fourth season it should send them all a gift basket. Update 5/10: Will rise again! Renewed.
41. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
With Inhumans coming to television this fall and S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s rating falling hard, it’s easy to suspect Agent Coulson’s division will be shuttered. We’re hearing the team will probably get one more assignment (despite that whole Ghost Rider thing). Update: Renewed!
NEXT: iZombie through Taken.
40. iZombie (The CW)
The first of four CW shows that haven’t been renewed. iZombie has proven itself to be a stable midseason replacement and The CW has a strong mind to bring it back. Update 5/10: Almost certainly returning. Update: Renewed.
39. The Great Indoors (CBS)
We’re now getting into the less-safe shows. Joel McHale is delivering decent numbers, but his freshman comedy needs to prove it can perform without help from The Big Bang Theory (CBS will put it to the test on Monday for a couple weeks). Update: You know that Monday test we mentioned? Indoors did not pass; canceled.
38. Blindspot (NBC)
What happened to this show? Blindspot was the highest-rated new fall series just last season! Still, we expect The Girl with the Vaguely Helpful Tattoos will return. Update: Renewed!
37. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
The Andy Samberg comedy is the first of four Fox comedies in jeopardy, though tilts to a renewal. Update: Renewed!
36. Last Man on Earth (Fox)
This is the second. Given the acclaim (five Emmy nods), you would think Fox will at least let Will Forte wrap up his post-apocalyptic story. (Not giving heavily serialized shows a proper ending doesn’t make much sense now that studios can make money on streaming service binging long after a series is off the air). Update 5/10: Renewed!
35. Fresh Off the Boat (ABC)
Not so fresh anymore, so there’s a chance the comedy won’t make it to a fourth season. Update: Renewed!
34. 24 Legacy (Fox)
A tough one to predict. Fox would rather not give a show the coveted post-Super Bowl slot and then kill it (that’s just embarrassing), and Legacy‘s ratings were higher than several other Fox dramas on this list. If only the action-packed series wasn’t so expensive and viewers didn’t seem to flee so decisively, a renewal would be easier. Update 5/1: We’re hearing it’s more likely Fox won’t bring back Legacy and will just reboot it again later down the road. Update 5/10: The decision on Legacy is so tough that Fox is likely going to make its decision after the upfronts. Update: 5/15: Fox confirmed decision is being pushed back.
33. Last Man Standing (ABC)
Six seasons and Last Man Standing been on this list every single year and survived, which is kind of amazing. You can never bet against this Tim Allen title (and we certainly won’t). Update: But we should have! Canceled.
32. Taken (NBC)
Getting big ratings are not, it seems, among Bryan Mills’ particular set of skills. We hear Taken is battling for one renewal slot with…Update 5/1: Odds have improved considerably in the last few weeks. Update 5/10: Renewed!
31. Timeless (NBC)
If only this show could travel back in time to fall when its viewership was actually impressive. By the end of the season, its finale only delivered 3.3 million. Update: Canceled (but perhaps there are alternate timelines in the universe where it wasn’t). Update 5/12: We’re hearing it’s still possible Timeless could get a home somewhere else. Update 5/13: Whoa! In a very rare instance of a network actually changing its mind about killing off a show, NBC reversed course and renewed Timeless, giving the show a 10-episode, second season order to air in spring or summer 2018.
30. New Girl (Fox)
Nobody is confident enough to make a prediction about the fate of this once-adorkable comedy. Reports that this month’s season finale was written to also serve as a potential series finale isn’t a positive sign. Update: And yet, Fox is renewing after all — kinda. The network wants 8 episodes (instead of the usual 22) for a seventh and final round.
29. Trial & Error (NBC)
Too soon to tell. We hear NBC really likes this crime satire, and the anthology would reset for its second season.
28. Code Black (CBS)
A better average rating than most titles at this point in the list, but CBS sets a high bar. Totally on life support. Update 5/1: Still has a pulse… Update: It’s alive! Renewed for another season.
27. Quantico (ABC)
Here’s an interesting case where a non-ratings factor might tip a show’s fate; Quantico is quite profitable internationally, but its second season outright tanked on the network. What to do? Update: You renew it for only 13 episodes and change showrunners, that’s what you do (at least if you’re ABC).
26. The Amazing Race (CBS)
If this was nearly any other show I would assume CBS would dump it. After lasting an incredible 29 cycles, ratings fell this season to only 4 million viewers and red-lining 0.9 rating. Maybe producers can cut costs by melting down all those golden Emmys? Update: Renewed!
25. Elementary (CBS)
Sherlock would have no problem deducing his series will very likely get canned. But Elementary has some international sales behind it, and something has to get sacrificed for CBS’ dreaded Sunday 10 p.m. slot (that’s the show that always gets pushed into late-night during football season). Update: Renewed!
24. The Originals (The CW)
With The Vampire Diaries ending, does that mean The CW is more likely to keep its spin-off for a ninth season? Not really. The Originals has struggled lately to stand on its own and has a very real chance of getting staked this time. Update: Will live again.
23. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (CBS)
Officially considered a “bubble show,” but we strongly suspect this spin-off is beyond hope. Update: Canceled.
22. The Catch (ABC)
Hey, who wants to tell Shonda Rhimes her show is canceled? Nobody at ABC, that’s for damn sure. But this thriller-turned-romcom was already totally creatively overhauled once and that didn’t help, so it’s tough to imagine ABC doubling down. Update: Canceled
21. American Crime (ABC)
Only 3 million viewers and an outright terrible 0.6 adult-demo rating for a Big 4 network. Nobody outside ABC seems to think the drama, which has never been a hit, has any shot at returning, claiming the numbers make no sense. BUT it’s really hard to ax an acclaimed drama that received 10 Emmy nominations in its first season alone. Plus, AC is an anthology, so it’s tempting for executives to think: “But-but-but maybe fourth time will be different!” Update: Canceled
20. Dr. Ken (ABC)
Prognosis has turned negative for a third season. Update: Canceled
Note: Uh-oh. We’re firmly shifting from shows being “on the bubble” to “likely canceled” unless a network ends up needing more returning programs than they currently expect (in other words: if their pilots are dreadful).
19. Son of Zorn (Fox)
Other sites give this show much better odds because the animated-meets-live-action experiment has the same average rating as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Last Man on Earth. They could be right, but we’re hearing Fox needs to open some space on Sundays and Zorn is likely to draw the short straw. Update: Canceled.
18. The Real O’Neals (ABC)
Real O’Neals is ABC’s lowest rated comedy and the network will probably want to try something new. Update: Canceled
17. Pitch (Fox)
A once-promising title that is unlikely to get the chance to throw another strike. Could still surprise. Update 5/1: Yeeeeer, outta there!
16. Ransom (CBS)
This is the Big 4 show that ties American Crime in the ratings. With these numbers, CBS would have normally nuked Ransom with extreme prejudice months ago. But it airs on Saturday as part of an experiment to boost a neglected time slot with a foreign-produced show with no promotion. So the whole situation is weird. It’s not automatically out, but nobody thinks it will be back either. Update: Canceled.
15. APB (Fox)
Very likely MIA from next year’s schedule. Update: Canceled.
14. The Odd Couple (CBS)
CBS chief Les Moonves doesn’t earn $70 million a year by renewing his network’s lowest-rated comedy. Update: Canceled.
13. The Exorcist (Fox)
If Fox executives get possessed by demons, then maybe it’s still got a shot? Update 5/10: Latest rumor is, this might get saved after all. Update 5/12: And it was! Renewed for a second season.
12. Powerless (NBC)
Performance wise, if this D.C. Comics show were a movie it would be Catwoman. Update: Pulled from schedule early — which is to “cancellation” what “separating for a few months” is to “divorce.” Update: Canceled.
11. The Blacklist: Redemption (NBC)
The spin-off must die so the flagship may live. Update: And it did; canceled.
FINALLY: Rosewood through…. .
10. Rosewood (Fox)
Remember when we said that some modest Fox shows might surprise by coming back because of the performance of other shows? This sophomore procedural is of those other shows. The numbers really plummeted in season 2 (Bones always made it look so easy). Update: Canceled.
9. Scream Queens (Fox)
Here’s another one. It’s always possible mega-talent Ryan Murphy will convince Fox to Legatake another swing, but there’s not been much of a market for American Horror Story Lite. Update: Canceled
8. Sleepy Hollow (Fox)
Another example of a series that a network tried to save with a creative overhaul or two, making it tough to justify trying yet again when every shakeup has shed viewers. If axed, we expect Tom Mison to land another show in about two seconds. Update: Canceled.
7. Making History (Fox)
Generally favorable reviews, but likely to be another time-travel casualty. Update: Canceled.
6. Secrets and Lies (ABC)
Its fate is hardly a secret and nobody is bothering to lie about it. Update: Canceled
5. Emerald City (NBC)
Those ratings and reviews and performances, oh my! Update: Canceled.
4. Training Day (CBS)
We miss Bill Paxton, but it’s doubtful CBS will miss the late actor’s show. Update: Canceled.
3. Frequency (The CW)
The CW launches so few shows that they hate to cancel any of them, but we’re hearing Frequency‘s signal is gone. Star Peyton List has also jumped ship to sister-network CBS’ drama pilot Mission Control. Update: Canceled.
2. Pure Genius (CBS)
One of those “everybody assumes it was canceled in the fall but it wasn’t official so we’re still keeping it on the list” shows. Update: Canceled.
1. No Tomorrow (The CW)
Well put. Update: Canceled.