ABC Renews 'Scandal,' 'Grey's,' 'Modern Family,' 'Suburgatory,' 'Revenge,' 'Once,' 'Castle,' 'Nashville,' 'Neighbors,' 'Middle'
REFRESH FOR LATEST: ABC has begun picking up series ahead of next week's upfront presentation to Madison Avenue.
ABC has begun its renewals, handing out additional season to its top dramas, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal as well as Once Upon a Time and Castle. Freshman Nashville has also been renewed.
The Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn political thriller broke out in its sophomore season, hitting a series high during Thursday's hour. The fast-paced series from Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes has become the water-cooler show of the season thanks to a dedicated cast live-tweeting new and "vintage" episodes that helped capture new viewers including Oprah Winfrey, who dedicated an hour of Oprah's Next Chapter to the series about a fixer and her doomed romance with the president. Airing on Thursdays following Grey's Anatomy, Scandal has made in-roads among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 set, topping its lead-in at least once during its second season. For its part, ABC expressed an early vote of confidence, granting the series once eyed as a short-run limited series a la State of Play with an unexpected back-nine pickup, prompting Rhimes to pen a second arc for the season, which is averaging 2.4 in the demo and 7.4 million total viewers.
The medical drama from Shonda Rhimes remains ABC's top scripted drama and after its core cast booked two-year deals last year, Grey's Anatomy will continue on for its 10th season. This season saw the cast lose three long-time members after Chyler Leigh and Kim Raver were written out during the eighth season finale and Eric Dane's character was killed off early this year. In their place, Grey's has enlisted a host of recurring intern characters, including Camilla Luddington and Gaius Charles. While Grey's has been a staple on Thursdays at 9 p.m, Rhimes' political thriller Scandal has made great strides in its second season, edging Grey's in the key 18-49 metric at least once this season as it becomes a bona-fide hit in the 10 p.m. slot. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month, Rhimes noted she doesn't see season 10 as being the final run for the Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey ensemble.
The Emmy darling will be back for a fifth season after all of its cast members received healthy salary raises just ahead of its current fourth frame. While the series has been eclipsed as broadcast TV's No. 1 scripted comedy by CBS' The Big Bang Theory, the 20th Television entry from co-creators/co-showrunners Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd continues to be the crowned jewel of comedy for the network. Its fourth season is averaging a 4.3 rating among adults 18-49 vs. Big Bang's 5.3, with the latter receiving a healthy boost in its sixth season thanks largely in part to syndicated repeats on TBS. Syndicated repeats of Modern Family will begin airingon USA Network come fall following a rich deal for the ensemble comedy in 2010.
The Emily VanCamp soap will continue on for a third season after producer ABC Studios inked Sunil Nayar to a new two-year overall deal to take over as showrunnerfor series creator Mike Kelley, who parted wayswith the series in April. Revenge had big shoes to fill in its sophomore season when the one-time critical darling was moved to Sundays. Following an uneven season that has featured double-digit ratings declines and harsh reviews from former fans, the series will continue on for a third season.
The family comedy will be back for a third season after producer Warner Bros. Television inked creator Emily Kapnek to a two-year overall dealto continue on as showrunner. The Jane Levy and Jeremy Sisto series has been a solid performer on Wednesdays, averaging 2.1 in the demo and 6 million viewers as ABC continues to court families on the night with The Middle, Modern Family and freshman comedy The Neighbors.
The Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic procedural from ABC Studios is a sturdy performer for the network on Monday nights opposite increased competition this season from NBC's breakout drama Revolution and CBS' reliable Hawaii Five-O, both of which were previously renewed for the 2013-14 schedule. This season, the series -- which earned an early order for one additional episode, expanding its fifth season to 23 episodes -- is averaging nearly 9 million total viewers and a 2.6 in the adults under 50 measure. Castle also marked its 100th episode this year, in addition to launching in syndication on TNT.
Once Upon a Time
An example of the Disney-owned network's corporate synergy, the fantasy drama from Lostscribes Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz has continued to deliver in its second season, anchoring Sundays with an average 2.7 rating among adults 18-49 and nearly 9 million viewers. The ABC Studios series starring Jennifer Morrisonand Ginnifer Goodwin in the dual-universe Snow White story may also spawn a spinoff, with Once Upon a Time in Wonderland -- also from Kitsis and Horowitz -- in the works after filming a short presentation after production on season two of the drama had been completed. The potential spinoffwould take place post-curse, with potential flashbacks incorporating characters from the flagship series with talk of a format similar to FXs anthology American Horror Story being used to bridge seasons of the Sunday series.
The Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere country music soap opened the season with high expectations thanks to an impressive cast and pedigree including Oscar winner Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise). Adding Boss' Dee Johnson as showrunner ahead of its October bow, the series launched big with 9 million viewers and a 2.8 ratings among adults 18-49 -- topping CBS' CSI and rookies Chicago Fire and Arrow, but down year-over-year compared with last year's Wednesday at 10 p.m. occupant, Revenge. The series from Lionsgate TV earned a full-season in November and has released two soundtracks so far, tapping into ancillary revenue from downloads of the T Bone Burnett-produced original music from the series. Despite a lagging political story line, the early critical darling has continued to earn rave reviews for its supporting players including Charles Esten (Deacon), Sam Palladio (Gunnar), Clare Bowen (Scarlett)and Jonathan Jackson (Avery), with a tour featuring the four breakoutsin the works. The series is averaging a 1.9 in the demo and 6 million total viewers.
Last Man Standing
ABC's "TGIF" comedy block, with the Tim Allen starrer Last Man Standing launching the night, continued to be a decent performer for ABC on Fridays and will continue for a third season. While the family comedy from 20th Television is down year-over-year, the series -- which received an early five-episode pickup this year -- continues to lure a broader audience to ABC. Its second-season finale in March was just shy of its first-year performance, finishing with a respectable 1.6 in the demo.
The Patricia Heaton-led comedy has continued to be a solid performer for the network on Wednesdays, averaging a 2.3 rating in the key adults 18-49 measure. What's more, while it lacks the critical acclaim and water-cooler chatter of its counterparts, the Warner Bros. Television-produced comedy has served as a steady lead-in for the Disney-owned network's Wednesday comedy block, boosting the fortunes for second-year effort Suburgatory, and locking up a fifth-season renewal.
The critically panned series starring Jami Gertz and Lenny Venito as a couple who move into a community populated by aliens has been a modest performer for ABC on Wednesdays and will continue on for a second season. In a show of early confidence, the network ordered its first additional scripts of the season for the first-year entry that THR's chief TV critic Tim Goodman called"one of the least funny things to air on television since the last Hitler documentary on History." With its 1.8 demo rating and average of 6 million total viewers, ABC used the critical jabs as part of its midseason marketing strategy encouraging viewers to give the series another look.