First in a series on status of broadcast network series renewals. Fox just announced Season 2 renewals for two freshman drama series, anthology Accused and missing person drama Alert: Missing Persons Unit, both from Sony Pictures TV and Fox Entertainment. They join previously renewed sophomore drama The Cleaning Lady as well as animated stalwarts The Simpsons, Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers.
That leaves dramas 9-1-1, 9-1-1: Lone Star, The Resident and Fantasy Island and comedies Animal Control, Call Me Kat and Welcome Flatch on the live-action side.
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Last year, the renewals for 9-1-1, 9-1-1: Lone Star and The Resident — all from Disney’s 20th Television — went down to the wire, only closing an hour or so before the network’s upfront presentation. I hear that conversations have started on the 9-1-1 franchise. The flagship is Fox’s top-rated scripted series and most watched series overall. It is also the most expensive six seasons in, with big-name stars — Oscar nominee Angela Bassett and Peter Krause — and storylines featuring major disasters that involve elaborate visual effects and stunts.
Because of that and the fact that Fox has no ownership in the series, which was developed when the network and 20th TV were part of the same company, negotiations between Fox and the studio might not be straightforward, I hear. Likely helping the show’s chances for a seventh season is the fact that the actors have at least one more year on their contracts, I hear, eliminating the need for separate talent negotiations. Still, a renewal for 9-1-1 is very much uncertain. The Rob Lowe-starring 9-1-1: Lone Star, now in its fourth season, is fully expected to continue, sources said.
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Like 9-1-1, The Resident also is in its sixth season, a respectable run for a broadcast series in the current economic environment. Another season of the veteran medical drama, whose sets recently were taken down, appears unlikely, but there has been no official decision.
As for Fantasy Island, the reboot of the 1977-84 series, also from Sony TV, is done under a different, lower-cost production model, which also lowers its threshold for success. I hear the show starring Rosalyn Sanchez, which is now airing its second season, could continue, possibly returning to summer.
Fox this midseason launched its first fully owned live-action comedy, Animal Control. It has been a breakout and is considered a lock for a Season 2 renewal. Finding a companion for the comedy starring Joel McHale likely is a priority for Fox’s new head of comedy Cheryl Dolins. If that can’t be done in the next couple of months, Fox likely would pick up one of its current live-action series Call Me Kat or Welcome to Flatch for the job in the fall.
Animal Control currently is paired with the Warner Bros. TV-produced Call Me Kat, and I hear the two are not considered very compatible. Sophomore Welcome to Flatch, which does well in delayed viewing and which Lionsgate TV delivers at an attractive price point, is a real possibility despite flying mostly under the radar, sources said.
Call Me Kat, now in its third season, suffered a loss this season when series regular — and standout — Leslie Jordan died suddenly. The series still has a bona fide comedy star in its lead, Mayim Bialik, which is certain to factor into Fox’s ultimate decision.
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