Agents of SHIELD & Once Upon a Time – Renewal conundrum at ABC

Last year, ABC switched programming heads from Paul Lee over to Channing Dungey, and based on some of the earliest of returns, we cannot say that too much has changed in terms of turning around the fate of a struggling network.

Earlier today, the network more or less canceled Time After Time, a show that was virtually dead on arrival. This past fall, Conviction failed almost from the jump. Beyond these two shows, it’s fair to say that Notorious is a goner (it didn’t get a pickup for additional episodes), The Real O’Neals seems to be over based on castings elsewhere, American Crime is posting woeful ratings, and Secrets and Lies did not perform like a contributor would. We don’t blame Dungey for much of this, given that several of these shows were ones fully developed by Paul Lee … most of them had his input. Still, the only new series that have some momentum for the future are Speechless, American Housewife, and Designated Survivor.

With some of the ratings woes elsewhere and the Time After Time cancellation, there are some caveats that could make some TV fans out there excited. For example, we’re now suddenly feeling cautiously optimistic about the future of Once Upon a Time, a show that hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire through most of season 6 to date. Meanwhile, Agents of SHIELD may have a small chance of coming back just because the majority of the other network shows are struggling. At least it attracts a male audience (a rarity for ABC) and it has a built-in Marvel following. While The Catch isn’t a huge hit on Thursday nights, and the Shonda Rhimes connection makes it a likely renewal.

Following this bloodbath, as of right now we’re willing to say that QuanticoOnce Upon a TimeDesignated SurvivorAgents of SHIELD, and The Catch are the bubble shows getting renewed alongside the already-renewed fall #TGIT lineup. That leaves ABC a good many holes that need to be filled, and they’ve got a lot of work to do in order to fill those spots. (For the record, of these shows we’re the most worried about SHIELD just because its ratings, based on pure numbers alone, are not worthy of coming back.)

Here’s the unfortunate news — unless your show is executive-produced by Rhimes, you’re not down that well if you’re an ABC drama. Dungey and her team better hope that they have a few hits in pilot season to start to turn things around.

  • Mike Myers

    where do they get their information? agents of shield has a big following..the execs messed up when they switch it to 10 pm then they started putting in different shows in it`s time slot abc needs to leave it alone and flash was the only shows worth watching on tuesday

    • The current president of ABC doesn’t like AOS..Even though Disney owns the network. That’s why they moved it to 10pm. The excuse was Ghost Riders involvement but that’s not true. I’m pretty sure this is it’s last season. I will be surprised if it gets renewed.

      • Ian Fleming

        “The current president of ABC doesn’t like AOS” Sorry, but there isn’t a shred of truth in that assertion.

        • Megan .Studdenfadden

          Yeah, he must love the show. Why else would he give it a time slot that is the lowest vied prime time hour?

          If he does this to a show he is %100 behind I don’t even want to know what he is going to shows he dislikes.

          • Ian Fleming

            1) He is a she.
            2) Discovery requires experimentation. This is less about moving AoS out of the 9pm slot and more about trying out a two hour comedy block on Tuesday nights.
            The facts are there… you are just looking at them the wrong way.

          • Megan .Studdenfadden

            1) Irrelevant, but thanks for letting me know.

            2) I see what are saying. But getting bumped from the 9pm slot means they want to give that slot to something they feel will get more viewers. That is not a ringing endorsement for the show, no matter what way you want to look at it.

          • Ian Fleming

            Not irrelevant because you don’t know what you are talking about. You think you do but you don’t. Try doing some research first.

    • CoosCoos

      Where do you get the idea they have a “big following”? Because the ratings don’t show that. Shield is getting 0.6 and 0.7 in the overnight ratings. Anything below 1.0 is really low.

      • Mike Myers

        where do they get their ratings? just a small percentage of people

      • Ian Fleming

        It has a big following that has become used to DVRing the show and watching at a more sociable hour. Live viewers are undoubtedly important but this isn’t the 20th Century. People can watch their favourite shows on their phones at 3AM while sitting on the toilet.

        • CoosCoos

          Three problems with that:

          1) The Live+Same Day Nielsen ratings are still the number one metric for determining how ‘successful’ a show is. That is because TV is paid for by advertising and most DVRs allow users to skip commercials. So even if a show has a ‘big following’ in delayed viewing, the show’s budget will still suffer. People may see this as ‘antiquated’, but until the TV industry changes it’s still the reality.

          2) While Shield does have better DVR numbers than almost all other shows, it’s not by that much. All shows get a bump in DVR viewing, and Shield is near the top of the list, but the numbers are not “incredible” as many try to make it seem, they are “better than average”.

          3) In fact, even when you include the C7 ratings (which is the number of commercials viewed during delayed viewing for 7 days after broadcast) the Shield ratings do not increase any more than any other show. So even if many more people watch Shield in delayed viewing, they do not watch any more commercials than other users watching other shows. In this instance, Shield’s ratings may go from 0.7 to a 0.9, which is still below the threshold for having even ‘average’ ratings.

          The only thing that will save Shield is it’s connection to Marvel. If Disney/Marvel/ABC see that connection as more important than ad revenue, then they’ll renew it. But they would renew it knowing they’ll be losing money. Most companies don’t purposely choose to lose money.

          • Ian Fleming

            I have to ask the question – Why would you want to see AoS cancelled? If, judging by your excessively detailed response, you are not a fan then why would its continued existence bother you? Nobody is forcing you to watch.

          • CoosCoos

            Why do people always mistake “stating the facts” for “hating the show”?

            I love Shield. I watch it every week. I wish the ratings were higher, it’s a good show that I hoped would last the entirety of the MCU.

            But I’m also a realist. People are always shocked when their favorite shows are cancelled because everyone they know is talking about it … that’s because they exist in an echo chamber where they think “everyone” loves the same show, when in fact they’re just surrounding themselves with people with the same interests, and reading only positive information online. Ratings are publicly available.

            I prefer to know the facts and be prepared. If it gets cancelled (which is not a 100% certainty, just a definite possibility) then I’ll know why. If it gets renewed I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

          • Ian Fleming

            Love the show? Really? Come on now. Didn’t you say, ” Season 3 was a big yawn. The Inhumans were a let-down, which I’m sure is part of the reason the Inhumans move is on hold. Based on ratings, this will be the final season of SHIELD, and I’ll still watch, but I’m no longer entertained.” Those are not the words of a fan who wants to see the show continue.

          • CoosCoos

            Wow. Cyberstalking me to dig up a comment from 9 months ago. I’m impressed and flattered.

            I’m sure you’ve loved every single episode, every single story arc, and never once wavered in your love for Shield. (That’s called denial, by the way.) I, on the other hand, am willing to admit when the show I love has weak writing (and poorly choreographed fight scenes). This season (since I wrote that comment) has been much better – except for the LMD arc, which I didn’t care for. I stand by my comment that Season 3 was a snore fest.

            But thanks for following me so closely. I’m actually blushing.

          • Ian Fleming

            No, don’t flatter yourself. I merely like to know more about the people that I am conversing with. And as I have discovered, you are not a fan, you are a ghoul. Hovering, patiently waiting for a show you’ve written off to die and trying to convince others to think in the same warped manner as you do. I pity you.

          • CoosCoos

            You went from “cute” to “creepy” super quick.

            I haven’t checked your history (cause I’m not creepy like that) but let me take a quick look ….

            Oh. I didn’t realize you were a troll. Otherwise I wouldn’t have responded to your first message. I don’t feed trolls.


  • Fritz Leipold

    I am also cautiously optimistic about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s chances for another season – I really love the show, it’s pretty much the only series left on ABC that I watch, and I watch it live every single week. I watched Agent Carter live too, before ABC killed it.

  • Tony Volious

    Marvel’s InHumans is coming down the pipeline and deals with the themes AOS set up, so it’s likely there will be tie ins. But yeah one more season would be the max as that show is hanging by its limbs!

  • Colin Houston

    ABC has done a poor job marketing AoS. It didn’t help taking the show off the air at different times for the election and other events. The show is excellent and it would be a shame since ABC has a really weak lineup when it comes to dramas.

    • Alonzo Golden