Your Broadcast Cheat Sheet Heading Into Upfront Week

Your Guide to Where TV Networks Stand Heading Into Negotiations

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Credit: David Benhaim/NFL


CBS is heading into the annual upfront pitches and negotiations once again as the most-watched TV network. But while the channel continues to tout the biggest audience, its viewership has declined the most among the broadcasters, shedding about 10% to average 10.8 million. It's also trailing NBC among adults 18-to-49.

The Eye Network's biggest challenge this season has been its Monday comedy block, and with the end of "How I Met Your Mother," the night will need a major facelift.

That could come in the form of its Thursday-night comedies "Big Bang Theory," "The Millers" and "Two and a Half Men," which will be displaced by Thursday Night Football during the first half of the fall season.

Thursday Night Football is expected to be a major selling point for CBS and could give Jo Ann Ross, head of ad sales, even more leverage in the marketplace.

CBS has already renewed 20 of its series, including freshman comedy "Mom." That leaves only a few holes to fill and just a few programs on the fence, like the Robin Williams ad-agency sitcom "The Crazy Ones."

And in case you hadn't heard, CBS has a new funnyman coming to late night, with Stephen Colbert replacing David Letterman sometime next year.


The Peacock has finally returned to a position of power, with viewership up more than 34% from last season, thanks to the continued success of "Sunday Night Football," "The Voice" and new hit "The Blacklist."

It has already renewed "The Blacklist," as well as "Chicago P.D.," "Chicago Fire" and "Grimm." It also renewed "Law & Order: SVU" this week for its 16th season.

But it's the network's Thursday-night comedy block, long ago a dominant force in TV, that needs the most help, especially after NBC canceled freshman sitcom "Sean Saves the World" and "The Michael J. Fox Show," leaving just "Parks and Recreation." And that show could be wrapping up come next year.

NBC has announced the pickup of a batch of series, including DC Comics adaptation "Constantine"; "Mysteries of Laura"; "Odyssey"; the Russian spy thriller "Allegiance"; "State of Affairs," a drama starring Katherine Heigl; the David Caspe comedy "Marry Me"; "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"; and "Mr. Robinson."


ABC saw the most cancellations of freshman series this season, givining the axe to "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," "Back in the Game," "Mind Games," "The Assets," "Lucky 7," "Betrayal" and "Killer Women." It will also not renew "Trophy Wife" or "Mixology."

The network is now tied with Fox for No. 4 in total viewers and is pacing to end the season in last place among the Big Four in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Last year ABC cut "Dancing with the Stars" down to one night to make room for the much-hyped Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." But the series didn't live up to lofty expectations, shedding more than half its audience since debuting to 17 million viewers. Still it received a season-two pickup, as it did see a bump in audience when accounting for delayed viewing and has been successful in attracting a male audience -- not ABC's strongest suit.

"Resurrection" is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lackluster season, bowing in March to 13.9 million viewers. It pulled a respectable 7.9 million viewers for its season finale. The series was renewed for a second season.

Also returning are "Scandal," "Revenge," "Once Upon a Time," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Modern Family."

Negotiations with advertisers for the upcoming season also come amid a managerial shakeup at the top, with Ben Sherwood, president, ABC News, stepping in to succeed Anne Sweeney, who is exiting as co-chairman of Disney Media Networks in January. Paul Lee renewed his contract to remain president of ABC Entertainment Group for an unspecified number of years.


Fox is bringing back "American Idol" for season 14 despite hitting new ratings lows this season. This doesn't come as much of a surprise, as Fox had already said it wouldn't renew its other singing competition, "The X-Factor," and "Idol" still pulls respectable numbers for the network that would have been difficult to replace.

Credit: Fox

The renewal, which came in the form of an announcement for next season's auditions, comes after Fox canceled three of its comedies: "Dads," "Enlisted" and "Surviving Jack," as well as Greg Kinnear drama "Rake."

As previously announced, "Glee" will also be entering its sixth and final season, and Fox is pulling its Saturday night "Animation Domination" block.

Fox has renewed "New Girl," "The Mindy Project," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "The Following," "Sleepy Hollow" and "Bones."

It also picked up the Batman prequel "Gotham" as well as the hip-hop drama "Empire" and hospital drama "Red Band Society."

The CW

The CW has made meaningful strides in shaking its teeny-bopper image. Having shed most of its ultra-female, high-school dramas like "90210" and "Gossip Girl," the network is seeing success with darker genre shows like "Arrow" and "The 100."

The network saw its total viewership grow this season about 5%, averaging 1.9 million viewers, and it increased nearly 7% in the 18-to-49 demographic.

The network will air its first comedy series this summer, "Backpackers," which was originally created as a digital series for The CW's digital studio Seed.

The CW canceled "The Carrie Diaries," "The Tomorrow People" and "Star-Crossed," while renewing "The 100," "Hart of Dixie" and "Beauty and the Beast." In February, it announced early renewals for "The Vampire Diaries," "The Originals," "Reign," "Arrow" and "Supernatural."

It also picked up four new series for its fall lineup, including "The Flash," a superhero spin-off from "Arrow"; "iZombie"; "Jane the Virgin"; and "The Messengers."

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