UPFRONTS: ‘Clarice’ and ‘SEAL Team’ on the move?

Reflecting the changing face of television, some networks are considering not cancelling shows but moving them to their other platforms...

This week sees many of the major US television networks and platforms presenting their ‘upfront’ information: starting to roll-out details of their planned line up for next season…

Industry site Deadline is reporting that two popular current CBS seriesmay well be permanently absent from the schedules when the 2021-2022 season begins – but that it’s not possibly the end for the shows. Though any kind of renewal isn’t confirmed as yet,  CBS‘ premium subscription channel (previously known as CBS All Access but recently rebranded as Paramount+) might be the new home of both Clarice and SEAL Team.

Clarice, following the post Silence of the Lambs story of agent Clarice Starling (Rebecca Breeds) as she struggles to overcome past traumas and new investigations, is nearing the end of its first run with largely mixed-to-positive reviews. Its ratings haven’t been what CBS would have liked for primary broadcast, but its later availability on Paramount+ have been much better – thus making it a strong candidate for the wholesale switch.  SEAL Team stars David Boreanaz (Angel, Bones) as the leader of a military combat unit and is finishing its fourth season on CBS. Deadline reports that the unconfirmed plan is for SEAL Team to air several episodes of a new season on CBS and then ‘migrate’ across to Paramount+. Clarice‘s second season would be exclusive to Paramount+.

Many shows with decent ratings are not renewed each year, less because of ratings and more because the network wants to try new approaches, has limited scheduling time to support all options or the cost of the show is a factor to profits. With so many networks embracing subscription services as part of a wider outreach to their potential viewers, the new trend is also opening up possibilities for shows that are popular and have committed followings but which don’t quite bring in the ratings a network requires for primetime or don’t sit comfortably into a needed demographic alongside other titles.  Indeed, it could guarantee a show a longer run and shelf-life than on a network itself. The likes of NBC‘s Peacock platform is also rumoured to be the host of some shows that are on the NBC ‘bubble’ regarding renewal.

Reaction to the news has been mixed. If it’s the only way to continue shows, some fans are eager to embrace the potential, but equally, some are objecting to having to pay an extra fee to watch shows that are currently free.