'Agents of SHIELD' Renewed for Abbreviated Sixth Season at ABC

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. S05E21 Still - Publicity - H 2018
Mitch Haaseth/ABC

ABC's Agents will reassemble.

The network has handed out an abbreviated 13-episode sixth-season renewal to Marvel's Clark Gregg comic book drama to Agents of SHIELD. The series, which marked Marvel Television's first live-action scripted drama before the comic book powerhouse spread its wings to cable and streaming, had run 22 episodes a season for its first five runs and is nearing its endgame. A decision about a potential final season has not yet been determined for the perpetual bubble drama. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey confirmed Tuesday that the series will return in summer 2019. She hoped the move to summer would extend the show's life beyond what it would have had were it to return in-season. 

Last year at this time, the series from showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen negotiated a reduced licensing fee that helped secure a fifth-season pickup as ABC used the drama to establish a night of genre programming Friday. Taking over the time slot previously occupied by Marvel's since-canceled big-swing Imax play The Inhumans, SHIELD has averaged a 1.2 in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic and nearly 4 million total viewers with seven days of delayed viewing as the drama, co-starring Ming Na and Chloe Bennet, remains a strong DVR performer (up 100 percent and 167 percent, respectively).

Still, SHIELD remains an international draw for ABC, producers ABC Studios and Marvel Television. This season, the drama featured a tie-in with Avengers: Infinity War as the show remains a distant cousin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Giving the series a short order helps to maintain the relationship between Disney and corporate sibling Marvel.

Marvel Television, meanwhile, has made a concerted push on cable and streaming platforms after seeing Agent Carter canceled at ABC after two seasons (and Inhumans wrapping after one). Its current roster includes Netflix's Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher and The Defenders; Hulu's The Runaways; Freeform's Cloak and Dagger; FX's Legion; and Fox's The Gifted.  

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