The (Busy) Week in TV: Strikes, Renewals, Cancellations and U-Turns…

The WGA strike an shifting viewing patterns are causing some major ripple effects on the outgoing/incoming tv schedules...

This is already the time of year when there’s a great deal of news about the future of television shows – cancellations, renewals and new shows set to debut in the Autumn/Fall. There’s more news than usual given the continuing strike by the WGA and the way it is affecting schedules in both the short and long terms. Many of the networks are planning accordingly…

The most recent major strike by the WGA was back in 2007 and the fallout was considerable.  It is generally considered that shows such as The 4400 and the New Orleans-set procedural K-Ville lost out on lengthier runs because of it and the poster-child for narrative derailment is Heroes  – which launched the year before with a massively-popular first run and with big plans for its second. However, the strike led to its three-part-arcs over 24 episodes being cut to just 11, shelving some of its set-pieces and scuppering momentum. Series such as LOST had their episodes affected (its fourth season was split into two mini-runs of eight episodes and a long hiatus in between. Its fifth season was reduced to fourteen episodes. The quirky, off-best Pushing Daisies, beloved by critics and just starting to find a cult audience was never able to recover.

The list of 2023 shows having their productions impacted, halted or suspended – either because they don’t have completed scripts or because productions are stopping filming due to solidarity or picket-lines – now includes (but is not limited to, as things evolve):

Daredevil: Born Again, Billions, FBI: Most Wanted, P-ValleyPower Book II: Ghost, The Chi, Pretty Little Liars: Summer School, Evil (which may now curtail its episodes, though it’s also claimed that this is more to do with one of the actors being unavailable due a family emergency), Stranger Things, Cobra Kai, Yellowjackets, Good Trouble, Severance, a shuttering of the writers’ room for A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight (the announced Game of Thrones spin-off), Loot, Hacks, Night Court and Abbott Elementary. Showrunner Tony Gilroy also announced that writing on the Andor series was being put on hold. CBS will not air the Tony Awards as previously planned. The musical event will either go ahead on 11th June without live cameras there or the event itself may be postponed. Seth MacFarlane and the showrunners for American Dad and Family Guy have also said they will cease work on the shows until new deals are made.

Elsewhere it’s equally mixed news for the current crop of shows on the air…

NBC‘s Law & Order is renewed for a twenty-fourth season. Its sister-show Organized Crime and sf show La Brea are pushed to mid-season. This is likely to be La Brea‘s final season and the Law & Order spin-off, popular though it is, will likely get a reduced number of episodes. Organized Crime is undergoing a showrunner change and will likely benefit from starting later. NBC, as is the case with most networks will move things around and one of the notable changes will be moving Quantum Leap (entering its second season of the reboot) from Monday to Tuesday and an hour later from 9:00pm to 10:00pm. (The series completed a handful of episodes prior to the strike). The likes of the three Chicago… shows will remain in their Wednesdays block. Magnum PI will be back sometime in the 23/24 season. New drama Found will also be on the schedules. Perhaps factoring back-ups in case the WGA strike continues for many months, NBC will also show further seasons of imported Canadian medical drama Transplant.

On the CW, the Walker reboot has been renewed for a fourth season, but the spin-off prequel series Walker: Independence has been cancelled (though it is looking for a new home).  The Winchesters, the (sort of) prequel series to Supernatural has also been cancelled, but has a powerful enough fanbase that people are trying to stoke up hopes of a last-minute reversal. Kung-Fu, the re-imagining of the classic tv series, now with a female-lead will not be back for a third run. At time of writing, the fates of  Superman & Lois, All American: Homecoming and Gotham Knights remain unclear, though it seems increasingly unlikely that all three shows will survive into the 23/24 schedule. Nancy Drew and Riverdale are both bowing out with their current runs, as is The Flash. Canadian drama The Spencer Sisters will debut in the US this fall and stars Lea Thompson (Caroline in the City) and Stacey Farber (Schitt’s Creek) as a mother and daughter duo who start their own private detective agency. The CW has saved the previously-cancelled AMC show 61st Street which stars Doctor Who‘s Tosin Cole as Moses Johnson, a promising Black high school athlete who is swept up into the infamously corrupt Chicago criminal justice system.

Fantasy Island, suffering from declining ratings, is cancelled after two seasons on FOX. 9-1-1 is moving from FOX to ABC…. 9-1-1: Lone Star is formally renewed and will stay on FOX. Accused has been renewed for a second season as has Alert: Missing Persons Unit. Monarch and The Resident are both gone.

ABC has formally said it has cancelled three of its main dramas Big Sky (which just finished its third year), Alaska Daily (which finished its first and only run in March) and the recently-launched spy/romance series The Company You Keep – its season/series finale aired last week.

CBS made the surprising decision to cancel SWAT after its current sixth season (the show’s star Shemar Moore was not pleased) and then, even more surprisingly un-cancelled it (Shemar Moore was definitely pleased) for a final run of thirteen episodes. However, it seems to have come at the expense of two other new drama True Lies (which has been fairly abysmally reviewed for its one-and-out run) and East New York (though, again, efforts are ongoing to find the latter a new home).

On the streaming front, there is mixed news. Netflix will not be renewing supernatural series Lockwood and Co. for a second run. Despite disruptions to the shows currently in production, Disney+ will still launch Marvel‘s Secret Invasion on 21st March, with Loki‘s second run (with Tom Hiddleston, Sophia Di Martino, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ke Huy Quan and the troubled Jonathan Majors) being delayed a little from late summer to early in the Autumn/Fall (possibly October). As per previous news, Disney+ won’t be bringing back movie spin-off National Treasure: Edge of History.