big 5 tv networksAfter only two episodes, ABC pulled the plug on the blue-collar, lottery-winning drama Lucky 7 during the fall 2013 television season. Lucky 7 wasn’t the only freshman series to receive such a harsh fate so quickly. The network also cancelled The Assets in January 2014, while CBS canceled the sitcom We Are Men last fall, and the CW canceled Backpackers over the summer—all after two episodes aired to low ratings.

Here we are, weeks deep into the fall 2014 season, with most of the over twenty new series on the five major broadcast networks having each aired three original episodes, and only Manhattan Love Story has been cancelled. But the cancellations have been slow going. That situation is only temporary as after all, NBC waited until Ironside and Welcome to the Family had aired three episodes to pull their plugs this time last year. Therefore, one shouldn’t mistake networks’ slower trigger fingers to mean that new shows aren’t struggling.

ABC

MILES BROWN, TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, ANTHONY ANDERSON, MARSAI MARTIN

Black-ish—FULL SEASON ORDERED
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
3.3
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 2.4
SSN Insight: ABC’s highest-rated new comedy of the season is off to a strong start, despite episodes that have proven divisive with critics. Support was there from launch with this one—it was even given the prime post-Modern Family timeslot. The network officially ordered the back nine for this Kenya Barris comedy, bringing the first season to a full 22 episodes.

Cristela
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
1.3
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 1.0
SSN Insight: Only the network’s second multi-cam show, this new comedy settled quickly into its tone and rhythm. Though ratings did decline (by eight percent) between premiere and second episode, ABC is behind its star and creator. Additionally, the network has a track record of giving Friday night family comedies a longer chance than most.

Forever
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
1.7
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 1.2
SSN Insight: ABC has had a hard time getting their audience to commit to a supernatural drama, and this one follows the trend, despite charming lead Ioan Gruffudd, and an easily digestible case-of-the-week format. Early online sampling didn’t hurt premiere ratings, but they have slipped in subsequent weeks. The network isn’t ready to commit to cancellation just yet, though; they did order an additional three scripts to help decide.

How To Get Away With Murder—FULL SEASON ORDERED
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
3.9
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 3.0
SSN Insight: Shondaland reigns supreme on Thursday evenings, and #TGIT is a success. ABC has already announced a full season (15 episodes) for the new legal suspense drama.

Manhattan Love Story—CANCELED
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
1.6
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 0.7
SSN Insight: Nielsen’s ratings system glitch actually proved beneficial for this new rom-com, which drew a not unexpected soft start, considering it had neither lead-in nor big name. Ratings slipped greatly for its next episodes, and though ABC ordered three additional scripts to buy themselves more time, the writing was on the wall. The plug was officially pulled after four episodes.

Selfie
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
1.5
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 1.1
SSN Insight: Though this modern-day, technology-heavy My Fair Lady got off to a soft start, what it has going for it right now is ratings retention and a long-term relationship with creator Emily Kapnek. Her previous comedy Suburgatory was no stranger to a niche audience, so when ABC ordered an additional script, they bought some time for those fans to find this new show before making a decision.

CBS

tea leoni madam secretary

Madam Secretary—FULL SEASON ORDERED
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
2.0
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 1.5
SSN Insight: While numbers are far from exciting, this female-driven drama is matching the network’s beloved, long-running The Good Wife. That show built compelling story over time, and Madam Secretary shows that promise as well.

The McCarthys
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
N/A
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: N/A
SSN Insight: This family sitcom has not yet premiered (look for it on October 30).

NCIS: New Orleans—FULL SEASON ORDERED
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
2.5
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 2.4
SSN Insight: Stick an NCIS in the front of a new show title, and good things will come. NCIS: NOLA has taken the title of “Most Watched New Broadcast of the Week,” which, taking into consideration the L7 numbers, is well on its way to being a big hit.

Scorpion—FULL SEASON ORDERED
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
3.2
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 2.4
SSN Insight: Scorpion’s go big or go home approach to stunts and budgets is paying off in the ratings. Already this drama about a group of geniuses is proving to be a breakout hit, delivering a 3.2 in the demo during its premiere, and only losing four percent of that audience for its second episode.

Stalker—FULL SEASON ORDERED
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
2.0
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 1.7
SSN Insight: Kevin Williamson’s criminal case-of-the-week premiered to a 2.0 in the demo, which helped CBS win that Wednesday night. However, from week one to two, the show lost 15 percent of that demo, perhaps in part due to negative reviews penned by some critics, and stony silence from others who took to social media to say the show wasn’t worth discussing at all. The numbers are holding steady, though, so this one still has a fighting shot at longevity.

The CW

the flash cw

The Flash—FULL SEASON ORDERED
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
1.9
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 1.5
SSN Insight: Despite its pilot having leaked online months prior to its premiere, the network boasted that it was their highest-rated telecast in five years; even encore programming has received decent ratings. This is one that’s going to be around for the long haul, as rhe CW has just ordered a full first season.

Jane The Virgin—FULL SEASON ORDERED
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
0.6
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 0.5
SSN Insight: Though this play on a telenovela got off to a late start, it was a strong one. The CW boasted that its premiere helped them receive their best Monday night performance since early 2012. It should be noted that a strong start for The CW is less than a soft start for the other four networks, but it was enough to garner a full season order.

FOX

gotham pilot

Gotham—FULL SEASON ORDERED
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
3.2
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 2.3
SSN Insight: FOX has already ordered a full (22 episodes) first season of this Batman prequel, keeping DC Comics very busy in the television business this year.

Gracepoint—LIMITED EVENT SERIES
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
1.2
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 0.8
SSN Insight: This almost identical retelling of the BBC’s Broadchurch was designed to be a limited series, so while its abysmal ratings scream for cancellation, given the staggered production slate due to the network’s commitment to year-round programming, this one most likely won’t get pulled but rather limp along until its story conclusion.

Mulaney
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
1.0
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 1.0
SSN Insight: FOX’s only multi-camera series, based on the stand-up comedy of creator and star John Mulaney, has had its order cut from 16 episodes to 13 episodes. These numbers, combined with the cut order, and critical disinterest, imply a quiet cancellation.

Red Band Society
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
1.3
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 1.0
SSN Insight: Red Band Society isn’t killing its illness-stricken characters off the show just yet, and despite  low (but steady) ratings, the network isn’t moving to kill the ensemble from its lineup either. FOX ordered an additional four scripts to decide the show’s fate, but that may say more about the status of series they have waiting in the mid-season wings.

Utopia
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
2.0
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 0.7
SSN Insight: It’s okay if you forgot about this show; it appears that everyone, even many at the network, have. Designed to be a social experiment that mimicked Big Brother, this reality show premiered with three episodes its first week and 24/7 live-feeds, then tapered off to two episodes a week, which both proved redundant to anyone who checked in on the live-feeds. Ratings were so dismal, the network scaled back to one episode a week—on Fridays to boot—not-so-gracefully phasing this project out of the pop culture landscape.

NBC

a-to-z

A To Z
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
1.2
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 0.9
SSN Insight: Executive producer Ben Queen has stated that the duration of this rom-com’s first season will mark the entire time period of the titular couple’s relationship, as noted in voice-over at the start of every episode. The ratings seem to lean toward cancellation, before we get to see their relationship.

Bad Judge
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
1.3
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 1.0
SSN Insight: This offbeat comedy changed showrunners several times prior to premiering—an indication that things were not working well behind-the-scenes. Such messiness translated to low ratings (1.3 in demo for premiere, losing about eight percent between episodes one and two). Strong series lead in Kate Walsh is what this show has going for it, but she may not be enough to save it.

Constantine
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
1.4
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: N/A
SSN Insight: Only the premiere has aired (on October 24), and it’s not indicative of the series to follow, since the key relationship in the first episode won’t be an on-going one. Being paired with the peacock’s other supernatural drama (Grimm) certainly sets it up for success; if it can live up to it remains to be seen. NBC ordered three additional scripts before the show even premiered.

Marry Me
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
2.3
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 1.8
SSN Insight: David Caspe’s rom-com debuted to a 2.3 in the demo for a pilot that focused heavily on a betrothed couple. However, episode two settled into an ensemble rhythm more indicative of the series overall. Therefore, it will be the third week that determines who—audience and network—is in for the long-term.

The Mysteries of Laura – FULL SEASON ORDERED
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
2.0
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: 1.3
SSN Insight: Strong lead Debra Messing and an on-brand topic made Mysteries a strong start and set the show up to fit in nicely with NBC’s line-up. However, week after week, its numbers have declined significantly, losing 25 percent in week two and a little more ever since. The numbers alone inch it toward cancellation, but NBC ordered three additional scripts, and they were clearly happy with the trajectory, as they gave the freshman drama the back nine.

State of Affairs
Premiere 18 – 49 Demo:
N/A
Most Recent Episode 18 – 49 Demo: N/A
SSN Insight: The new Katherine Heigl-helmed drama, which has already seen a number of EP changes, is not set to premiere until November 17.

Danielle Turchiano

Danielle Turchiano got her start in film and television production but now chooses to write about the most important happenings in film and television. You can follow her on Twitter @danielletbd.

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