The (Very Near) Future of Television

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The happy news comes today that HBO has officially renewed their successful fantasy series Game of Thrones for a third season. Gods be good! Seems like lots of shows are getting renewed right now. Let's take a look at what we'll be watching next TV season.

Well, OK, first things first. Since cable doesn't really operate on a normal season basis, we'll have to leave it mostly off of here. But know what we've recently heard news about Thrones, Southland, Web Therapy, and The Real L Word. They'll all be back. So, good for them.

Network television is, obviously, a different story. The big five still follow (for the most part) the normal season schedule, and all have their big upfront presentations, in which they unveil the new season's slate of shows to press and advertisers, coming up in May. So there have been flurries of renewals and quiet cancellations in the past few weeks. Here's a little guide to what's been picked up and what shows have so far been given the axe.


Survivors: CBS renewed nearly all of its shows this season, from Blue Bloods to 2 Broke Girls to Undercover Boss. They had a bully season as usual in 2011-2012, so why mess too much with success?

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Big Busts: The only show on CBS's 2011-2012 slate that's officially canceled is the wretched How to Be a Gentleman. With good reason.

Sorta Forgettable: That said, a few shows are "on the bubble," as they say in the biz. (The biz being the TV blogging industry, America's most important industry.) The Patrick Wilson/Jennifer Ehle show A Gifted Man is not likely to return though nothing has been confirmed. It could be curtains for the East Coast C.S.I.s, meaning New York and Miami. Believe it or not, the wretched sitcom Rob might get a renewal. As might Rules of Engagement (that's the David Spade one), and Two and a Half Men. Yes, the status of Two and a Half Men is, technically, in question. It'll probably get picked up, otherwise Ashton's feelings will be hurt, but nothing's official. Oh, and the procedural about the professional rememberer, Unforgettable, has a good shot or is all but canceled, depending on who you ask.


The Yes Factor: Fox has kept most of its Sunday night animation bloc: The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, and American Dad. (Well, OK, technically Family Guy isn't renewed, but there's no way it won't be.) Meanwhile the net has signed back up with The X Factor, which will premiere this fall with two new judges (bye, Paula and Nicole) and a new host (see ya, awful British Ryan Seacrest). The comedies New Girl and Raising Hope just got the good news yesterday. We will have to deal with more Glee next year, so everyone atone now before it's too late. Gordon Ramsay's restaurants may be in trouble, but his reality show Kitchen Nightmares is perfectly safe. And of course there's The Bones. It wouldn't be Fox without The Bones.

Terra No-Go: The oddly enjoyable dino drama Terra Nova was canceled last month after much speculation. (So far no other network has picked up the show, and web-streamer Netflix recently passed on it.) Jonah Hill's animated series Allen Gregory met the same fate, as did Jamie Pressly's I Hate My Teenage Daughter, which will burn off its remaining episodes this summer. Also Dr. House is hobbling away from the network, but that's really more of a "what a long strange trip it's been" than out-and-out cancellation.

Americans Idling: Lots of shows in limbo at Fox. They include: The J.J. Abrams-produced serial thriller Alcatraz, cult comedy Bob's Burgers, multidimensional Pacey Witter fanfic series Fringe, Kiefer Sutherland's latest jam Touch, and the very necessary show that everyone was clamoring for in 2012, Napoleon Dynamite. Also, Megan Mullaly couldn't do much to save Christian Slater's Breaking In, which will likely get broken... out. (Or something.) And though it was borne mightily on the back of The Bones, Hart Hanson's spin-off The Finder just didn't get found. It's not likely to return next season. Technically American Idol isn't an official go for next year, but you know Fox will run that thing into the absolute ground before they give up on it, so expect to be heading back to the glitterdrome in 2013.

The CW

Ringers: The CW technically hasn't renewed anything yet, but there are a few shows that are basically no-brainers. Of course there's teen sex and death series The Vampire Diaries, as close to a flagship as the network has. And then there's teen sex and wealth series Gossip Girl and post-teen hex and death series Supernatural (which was originally looking like it would end, but now things have changed). Premature congratulations to them all. (So like teens to have premature congratulations.) Oh, and same to America's Next Top Model, because that immortal demon will never die.

9021 Uh Oh: The hater/celebrity confrontation show H8R is the only thing The CW has officially canceled this season so far, so it has that dubious honor. And of course One Tree Hill, aka The Great North Carolina Brother Swap, had ended its run after some twenty-nine seasons.

Not So Supernatural: While, again, everything on the network is technically in doubt right now, things especially in doubt are Sarah Michelle Gellar's sputtering comeback project Ringer, the increasingly dopey 90210, wobbly witch hour The Secret Circle, Maggie Q's actioner Nikita, and Rachel Bilson's mostly nonexistent Hart of Dixie. (That one's pretty much guaranteed dead.)


Happy Endings: The Alphabet, like The CW, hasn't officially renewed anything yet, but there are some things we know will go. They are: Modern Family, Dancing With the Stars, The Bachelor & The Bachelorette, Once Upon a Time, Grey's Anatomy, Castle, and Revenge. Those are all hits of different stripes and ABC likes 'em, so they're more than likely staying put.

Soon To Be Missing: ABC hasn't canceled much yet this season, but they have gotten rid of the execrable drag comedy Work It, plus the unintentional drag comedy Charlie's Angels. Both Desperate Housewives and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition were gently put down by the network, leaving big holes in Sunday night. Comedy Man Up was also given the boot, while Pan Am seems all but officially grounded.

The Middles: Lots of shows on the fence here. Dana Delaney's Body of Proof is probably in trouble, as are Cougar Town, Ashley Judd's Taken cover Missing, and the found footage chiller The River. Facing likely better prospects are the surprisingly charming Happy Endings and The Middle, while Suburgatory may have triumphed over its clunky title and earned a second season. Other likely pickups are the middle-of-the-road Last Man Standing and Private Practice. Who knows about the brand-new Shonda Rhimes series Scandal, we'll just have to wait and see on that one.


The Firm: Musical mournfest Smash has been renewed for a sing-songy season two, as has the fairy tale procedural Grimm. They're the only shows with official pickups, but we can also likely bet on The Voice, The Biggest Loser, The Office, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, and Celebrity Apprentice. They're not all huge hits, but they're all NBC's got.

The Biggest Losers: Not a good year for the network, of course. They canceled Free Agents, they canceled Prime Suspect (RIP!), and they canceled the big splashy The Playboy Club after barely any episodes. So, that wasn't good. Other shows like the comedies Bent, Best Friends Forever, and Are You There, Chelsea? aren't looking terribly healthy either. Expect most of all of them to get cut. Basically, there's likely to be a lot of new room on the slate came upfronts. Oh and of course, after many seasons of Chucking, NBC's The Chuck, a show about Chuck, finally Chucked its last in January.

Primetime Suspect: Lots of other stuff on the edge, but of course the biggest question mark in the world of TV nerddom is the beloved, obsessed-about Community. It seems likely that NBC will renew the show — it has critically adored cult status and its return last month earned solid ratings — but it's not a sure thing. Same goes for Up All Night, Law & Order: SVU (if you cancel that show you are dead to us, NBC), and Parenthood. TV's biggest mystery, Harry's Law — which earns about 8 million viewers a week, which is great, but performs dismally in the all-important 18-49 demographic — is also on the bubble. Would NBC throw away 8 million viewers like that, even if they are useless old people? We'll find out soon enough.

So that's what we know right now. Obviously we'll soon get the straight info once these crazy upfronts happen next month, but for now, happy worrying!

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.