'TV's Top 5' Podcast: CW Goes Renewal Crazy and the (Questionable) Future of 'Empire'

Hosts Daniel Fienberg and Lesley Goldberg also discuss HBO's busy week and how broadcast networks are looking for the next big live production.
The CW
The CW went renewal crazy this week. Is that a good thing?

Welcome back to TV's Top 5, The Hollywood Reporter's TV podcast.

In every episode, the weekly podcast — hosted by The Hollywood Reporter's West Coast TV editor Lesley Goldberg (that's me!) and chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg — will feature five topics that are top of mind in the TV industry and go inside the latest headlines, as well as provide a critical guide of what to watch (or skip, as the case may be).

This week's five topics are:

1. The CW just made history. With renewals for All American and Roswell, the younger-skewing broadcaster is bringing back all five of its freshman shows for the first time ever. In fact, the only shows that aren't returning to The CW for its 2019-20 broadcast season are Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and iZombie, which are all in their previously announced final seasons. So what's with the lack of cancellations? Is that a good thing or a bad one? The analysis starts at the 2:10 mark.

2. The future of Fox's Empire. This week, stars of the hip-hop drama — including Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, sent a joint letter to Fox and Disney brass in which they outlined why embattled co-star Jussie Smollett should return for a potential sixth season. So what are the chances of Fox (which has reduced needs for scripted next year) and new show owner Disney (which is always incredibly protective of its brand) actually bringing the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong series back for another cycle? The discussion begins at the 12:14 mark.

3. HBO's very busy (and very impressive) week of news. Buffy the Vampire Slayer grad Joss Whedon has found his new leading lady. The premium cable network is teaming with Succession's Adam McKay on the scripted drama Showtime — no, not about its rival cable network — but about the 1980s-era Los Angeles Lakers. Plus Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman revealed the script for successor show has been passed over. Plus a look at the current seasons of Barry, Veep and that other HBO juggernaut that's dominating the pop culture watercooler. The segment begins at the 19:56 mark.

4. Broadcast's next live bet. Jimmy Kimmel and Norman Lear are teaming for a live rendition of All in the Family and The Jeffersons for ABC in what the network hopes becomes a big franchise for them. Fox, meanwhile, is also mulling multiple live events — think a scripted sitcom series and more — as broadcasters look for the next event that will become a cultural phenomenon and bring live viewers (and advertisers) to the networks. The segment starts at the 26:48 mark.

5. Critic's Corner. As always, every episode ends with Fienberg offering his critical thoughts about what to watch (or skip). This week, he weighs in on Netflix's Chambers, CBS' The Red Line and some other HBO pop culture favorite. Tune in starting at the 33:54 mark.

Hear it all now on TV's Top 5. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an episode. (Reviews welcome!) You can also email Goldberg and Fienberg with any topics or questions you'd like to be addressed in future episodes at TVsTop5@THR.com.

TV's Top 5 is part of THR's roster of podcasts, including Awards ChatterScott Feinberg's weekly in-depth (and award-winning) interview show focusing on the most interesting talents of the Oscar and Emmy seasons; genre reporter Josh Wigler's newly launched Series Regular (which continues its focus on Game of Thrones); crafts expert Carolyn Giardina's weekly series, Behind the Screen, which explores the top artists and technologies creating film and TV magic; and Seth Abramovitch's monthly series, It Happened in Hollywood, which revisits indelible moments from 90 years of THR's entertainment history. Other podcasts are in the works.