ABC Renewal Status Report: ‘Station 19’, ‘The Good Doctor’, ‘The Rookie’, ‘The Conners’, ‘Big Sky’ & More

Fourth in a series on status of broadcast network series renewals. Amid Disney companywide cutbacks, which include the elimination of 7,000 jobs, ABC is taking a measured approach to its scripted series renewals. Only one show, award-winning sophomore comedy Abbott Elementary, received a very early Season 3 pickup in January. It was joined on Friday by drama stalwart Grey’s Anatomy, which was renewed for Season 20. That leaves the majority of the network’s scripted roster in a holding pattern — all except the two already renewed as well as The Goldbergs and A Million Little Things, which are ending their runs this spring.

With four drama pilots (including The Good Doctor planted spinoff) and two comedy pilots — the most for a broadcast network this season and all headlined by big-name stars — ABC is expected to take longer than usual on most renewals. It would use the time to evaluate a number of the current series against the pilots for the limited slots available as broadcast networks’ programming budgets are tightening up amid sliding linear ratings, and with spending across Disney currently under the microscope amid a corporate cost-cutting mandate. I hear the chance of a writers strike also is weighing in — something not isolated to ABC — so the bulk of renewal decisions may come after there is clarity on a potential work stoppage. I hear that would likely be after May 1 when the current WGA contract expires and when the broadcast networks also make most of their new series pickups after renewing the crop of pilots.

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There also could be a wild card that could impact bubble ABC shows’ chances. For instance, Deadline reported last week that Fox is headed into another difficult negotiation on flagship drama 9-1-1, now in its sixth season and produced at a high-seven-figure license fee. Should Fox, which does not own 9-1-1, not pick it up, the hit procedural, produced by ABC’s Disney sibling 20th Television, could potentially move to ABC, taking a slot from a current series.

RELATED: Fox Renewal Status Report: ‘9-1-1’, ‘Lone Star’, ‘The Resident’, ‘Animal Control’, ‘Call Me Kat,’ ‘Flatch’ & More

Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Station 19 has been getting renewals alongside the mothership series for the past couple of years. While the first responders drama is yet to join Grey’s Anatomy on ABC’s 2023-24 slate, it is expected to do so. Word is that the holdup is over the size of the order. Following its midseason debut, Station 19 has produced between 16-18 episodes a year starting in Season 2. Helping a renewal for the highly rated series is the fact that the main cast have contracts that cover next season and beyond.

Another top rated ABC series, comedy The Conners, is going through the annual pre-renewal ritual. Because of how The Conners came to be, rising from the ashes of the swiftly canceled Roseanne revival, the main cast members, Sara Gilbert (who also serves as an executive producer), John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Lecy Goranson, originally signed one-year deals and now have to negotiate new contracts each year.

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I hear the individual negotiations are in various stages, with some nearing completion. All are expected to close, paving the way to a Season 6 renewal, which is expected.

The Rookie, now in its fifth season, remains a Top 5 scripted series on ABC and a great utility player. The cop procedural, starring Nathan Fillion, is also expected to get renewed, likely in tandem with spinoff The Rookie: Feds. ABC has been high on creating blocks in the mold of Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 and tried that with the two Rookie shows on Wednesday this winter. While not the instant breakout the original Rookie was, The Rookie: Feds, a rare singular-lead hourlong broadcast series headlined by an actress of color, has done OK. It features one of the most sought-after TV stars right now, Niecy Nash, who has been successfully straddling comedy and drama, getting awards recognition for both.

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Speaking of franchises, ABC could launch another one with The Good Doctor and proposed spinoff The Good Lawyer, which would mark Desperate Housewives‘ Felicity Huffman’s return to TV — and ABC. While not the ratings juggernaut it once was, The Good Doctor remains a solid anchor of the network’s Monday lineup, and the signs point to another renewal, with talks already under way, I hear. If that happens, with Grey’s already picked up, ABC could be a rare network with three medical dramas on at the same time if the Ben McKenzie-starring pilot The Hurt Unit goes to series. As for The Good Lawyer, it’s still early but initial reaction to the backdoor pilot episode of The Good Doctor and star Kennedy McMann has been positive, and I hear the spinoff tested well.

RELATED: NBC Renewal Status Report: One Chicago, ‘Law & Order’ Franchise, ‘Magnum PI’ & Comedies

Big Sky, which was a breakout hit when it launched during the 2020-21 season, has slipped in the ratings, and given its cost three seasons in, it currently is not looking good for renewal. However, I hear that the pitch for a potential fourth season includes bigger day-to-day involvement by series creator David E. Kelley, which could give the thriller series an edge.

ABC launched several series in midseason. Will Trent, Ramón Rodríguez, has been leading the pack in the ratings and is likely to get a second season. Also looking promising is fellow midseason drama The Company You Keep. It only launched last month, so there is not enough of a track record and, while linear ratings have been relatively modest, the show is liked creatively by ABC brass and it has a big Disney star as the lead, Milo Ventimiglia, who previously anchored 20th Television’s hit This Is Us.

RELATED: 2023 ABC Pilots & Series Orders

The network’s executives also are high on Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez who is back on TV with the new ABC midseason comedy series Not Dead Yet. Aside from its pun-prone title, the show likely has done enough to warrant more time given that it only debuted last month and that comedies typically take longer to catch on.

ABC did give time to fellow comedy Home Economics. After three seasons, it has performed respectfully, even ticking up in the ratings this season with Abbott Elementary as a lead-in, but it has not found an extra gear, putting it in danger of cancellation, especially if both comedy pilots, Public Defenders, starring Anthony Anderson, and Drop-Off, headlined by Ellie Kemper, come in strong. The latter comes from the same independent studio as Home Economics, Lionsgate TV, which could factor in the company’s pickup conversations with ABC.

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The network’s only new fall series this season, drama Alaska Daily, starring Hilary Swank, has sizable internal support but has not been able to break through in a meaningful way, making a Season 2 renewal unlikely.

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