The 2016-17 TV season is all of a day old, but there are several shows that the Bear can safely say will be back next season. Yes, already.
As we do every season at this time, it’s time to review the Third Season Rule. It states:
– Shows that have aired two full seasons and are entering their third full season are very likely to be renewed for a fourth.
– Corollary: If such a show is also produced by a network’s corporate-sibling studio (e.g., an ABC Studios show on ABC, or a 20th Century Fox TV show on FOX), it’s a near lock for renewal.
By the end of a third full season, shows will typically have 60-plus episodes under their belts. A solid, profitable syndication and streaming deal often needs 80 or more episodes, which comes with a fourth season. When studios start to sniff those future profits, they’ll do what they need to get their shows over the finish line.
Some changes in the broadcast TV landscape — with a number of shows running shorter seasons than the standard 22 episodes — will test the boundaries of Third Season Rule this season. In fact, there are a few third-season shows that will start their runs in 2016-17 as unknown quantities.
Here’s how the third-season shows stack up.
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All of these shows are produced by their network’s sister studio and, with one exception, have aired at least 44 episodes to date.
– “Black-ish” (ABC)
– “Empire” (FOX) – 30 episodes to date, but it will be at 48-50 by season’s end. And, oh yeah, it’s the highest-rated scripted show on broadcast TV.
– “The Flash” (The CW)
– “Jane the Virgin” (The CW)
– “Madam Secretary” (CBS)
– “NCIS: New Orleans” (CBS)
– “Scorpion” (CBS)
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– “Fresh Off the Boat” (ABC) – 37 episodes to date, produced by an outside studio (Fox), but likely will be at 58-60 episodes by season’s end.
– “Gotham” (FOX) – produced by outside studio (Warner Bros.), 44 episodes to date.
– “How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC) – produced in-house, 30 episodes to date. Still a solid bet as it was one of ABC’s Top 5 shows last season.
– “iZombie” (The CW) – produced in-house, 32 episodes to date, 45 by season’s end. The CW’s recent history of taking most shows to four seasons or more suggests it’s in safe territory for now.
Waiting for some numbers
– “American Crime” (ABC) – 20 episodes to date, produced in-house, marginal ratings.
– “The Carmichael Show” (NBC) – 19 episodes to date, co-produced by in-house studio and outside partner, marginal ratings.
– “The Last Man on Earth” (FOX) – 31 episodes to date, produced in-house, ratings slightly below network average.
– “The Odd Couple” (CBS) _ 25 episodes to date, produced in-house, network-average ratings.
Network by network predictions will begin on Sept. 27.