CBS firmed up the fate of three of its five bubble series Monday, handing out renewals for rookies Code Black and Criminal Mind: Beyond Borders as well as sophomore comedy The Odd Couple. Also returning is unscripted entry Undercover Boss.
The prognosis for first-year medical drama Code Black had long been in question. In addition to being one of the network’s rare co-productions with an outside studio (ABC Studios), the Marcia Gay Harden medical drama received only an order of five additional episodes, instead of the standard back-nine. Averaging a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49, the series also had a rival in Jason Katims‘ medical drama pilot, Pure Genius, which CBS ordered to series. A renewal for both hospital-set series comes as CBS doubles down on doctors, lawyers and cops for the 2016-17 season. Insiders note that the drama may undergo some cast additions and creative changes in a bid to broaden its audience for what sources say will be a 17-episode second season.
Criminal Minds spinoff Beyond Borders will also return for a second season. The drama, produced by ABC Studios and showrunner Erica Messer, opened midseason to poor reviews (THR‘s Daniel Fienberg called it “Xenophobic trash”) and lackluster ratings. The drama, however, is averaging a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49 and 10 million viewers with seven days of DVR, good enough for a future at the network.
CBS’ reboot of The Odd Couple, starring Friends grad Matthew Perry, has been something of a scheduling afterthought. Initially ordered to series in 2014, it saw a midseason debut last year and an even later return in 2016. Ratings have not been poor, pulling a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 8.4 million viewers with seven days of DVR, but the network clearly wants higher retention from Thursday’s Big Bang Theory lead-in. CBS has also been keen to fill scheduling holes with original episodes of the CBS Television Studios/Tannenbaum Co./Timberman-Beverly production, recently airing an episode on Monday to respectable same-day ratings. What’s more, a renewal for The Odd Couple and series pickup for Matt LeBlanc starrer I’m Not Your Friend could give CBS a shot at reuniting Joey and Chandler. Could there be an easier marketing opportunity?
Meanwhile, the fates of rookie dramas Limitless and Rush Hour have not officially been determined. Insiders say both film-to-TV reboots will be canceled, with Limitless likely being shopped elsewhere.
The renewals come as CBS has already picked up five new dramas — many of which are pure procedurals with a twist — including MacGyver, Training Day, Doubt, Bull and Pure Genius.