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Upfronts 2014: which series will survive?

Every year in May, the American television networks host a special press conference to announce the programming of the next television season. This is called the Upfronts. During the week of May 11, a great number of reports announce which shows have been renewed or cancelled. Why does this happen? How are the decisions made? Which shows are in danger of being axed? Here you can find an explanation of and an overview of the most important week in TV land.

When will I find out what happens to my favourite series?
Here are the dates of the Upfronts:
12 May 2014: NBC
12 May 2014: FOX
13 May 2014: ABC
14 May 2014: CBS
15 May 2014: The CW

On these dates, the managers of these networks will stand on a big stage, together with the casts of their successful series, and they will tell why these shows are so successful. The same goes for new series. The Upfronts have grown into a full-blown event, with press releases, internet reports and lots of trailers. This is when the marketing for the next TV season really begins.

What are the Upfronts?
The core of the Upfronts, and television in general, are advertisements. It’s in the name. Advertisers pay upfront for air time between programmes. For them, it’s an important decision during which series they want air time. The Upfronts are the moment for TV networks to try to convince the advertisers of how great their shows are, which is done in big theatres in New York with extravagant presentations. It’s comparable to the famous presentations of Apple and her new products. During this one week, TV networks have to convince advertisers that their programming is the best and therefore the most lucrative to air commercials during. Between the end of May and the beginning of July, almost eighty percent of advertisement time is sold. That’s billions of dollars companies pay to TV networks in exchange for viewers.

How important are ratings?
Last year, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ was one of the most hyped series during the Upfronts. The craze around the series helped the sales of ABC last year. Whilst the ratings of the network went down in the 2012-2013 season, they still managed to gain 2.35 billion dollars for this season. Which was more than FOX and NBC (1.8 billion). The Upfronts remains a marketing and digits game. ABC ended this season in fourth place, but that doesn’t mean it won’t do well in negotiations with advertisers. ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ didn’t turn out to be the ratings hit it seemed to be last year. The series never makes the weekly round-up of top twenty best-watched series. However, advertisers aren’t interested in all the ratings. What’s more important is the market share in the very desirable 18- to 49-year-olds part of the audience. This group spends the most during shopping and is therefore the most interesting for advertisers. According to those numbers, ‘Agents’ is just as good as the third best-watched series, ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’. This improves the chances of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ being renewed. During the presentation, ABC is sure to highlight this group of 18- to 49-year-olds, instead of the total ratings. Viewers in America are important, but only if they fit in the right age category.

On what is the decision based what gets renewed or cancelled?
This is partly based on ratings, but there are a lot more other factors as well.
- Behind the screens:The Mindy Project’ has already been renewed, even the ratings aren’t that great. Leading lady and creator Mindy Kalling is a talent FOX wants to continue working with. After years of writing on and acting in hit series ‘The Office’, publishing her own book and now also her own series, makes Kalling valuable enough to renew the series. Even when it’s not in its peak.
- The schedule: it’s a simple fact that there aren’t more than seven days in a week and two of those days, Friday and Saturday, aren’t very popular in the US. Given that there are three prime-time hours, networks only have a limited number of places available. This results in the cancellations of series which are doing well. The grass always seems greener where new series are concerned.
- Reviews: the influence of criticism is hard to measure. However, it remains a fact that everyone in Hollywood, from big chiefs to camera assistants, read the occasional review. This creates an untouchable “buzz” around a series. Take ‘The Good Wife’. The series has had similar ratings to ‘The Mentalist’ for the last few seasons. Both series haven’t done well as far as ratings are concerned for network CBS. Nevertheless, especially this season, ‘The Good Wife’ has received so many raving reviews, the series has already been renewed. CBS is known for its ratings cannons. It can easily afford to continue a smaller, but highly praised, series.

Enough talking, give me those results
Unlike other years, many series have already been renewed. Especially concerning new series, 11 May will bring lots of footage and information. Every year, TVByTheNumbers makes an accurate estimation of the chances of renewal for series. Here you can find a list of existing series and their chances of renewal during the Upfronts.

Already renewed:
2 Broke Girls (CBS)
Arrow (The CW)
Blue Bloods (CBS)
Bob's Burgers (FOX)
Bones (FOX)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
Chicago Fire (NBC)
Chicago PD (NBC)
Criminal Minds (CBS)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS)
Elementary (CBS)
Glee (FOX)
Grimm (FOX)
Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)
Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Mike & Molly (CBS)
Mom (CBS)
NCIS (CBS)
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)
New Girl (FOX)
Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Person of Interest (CBS)
Reign (2013) (The CW)
Supernatural (The CW)
The Blacklist (NBC)
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
The Following (FOX)
The Good Wife (CBS)
The Millers (CBS)
The Mindy Project (FOX)
The Originals (The CW)
The Simpsons (FOX)
The Vampire Diaries (The CW)
Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Certain it’s going to be renewed:
About a Boy (NBC)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
Castle (ABC)
Family Guy (FOX)
Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Hart of Dixie (The CW)
Last Man Standing (ABC)
Modern Family (ABC)
Once Upon a Time (ABC)
Resurrection (ABC)
Revenge (ABC)
Scandal (ABC)
The Middle (ABC)

Good odds:
Community (NBC)
Growing Up Fisher (NBC)
Hannibal (NBC)
Nashville (ABC)
Parenthood (NBC)
Suburgatory (ABC)
The Goldbergs (2013) (ABC)

Bad odds:
Believe (NBC)
Crisis (NBC)
Dracula (2013) (NBC)
Friends with Better Lives (CBS)
Mixology (ABC)
Revolution (NBC)
The Crazy Ones (CBS)
The Tomorrow People (The CW)

Certain it’s going to be cancelled:
Beauty and the Beast (The CW)
Betrayal (ABC
Hostages (CBS)
Intelligence (CBS
Star-Crossed (The CW)
Super Fun Night (ABC)
The Carrie Diaries (The CW)
The Mentalist (CBS)
The Neighbors (ABC)
Trophy Wife (ABC)

Already cancelled:
Almost Human (FOX)
American Dad! (FOX, laatste seizoen)
Back in the Game (ABC)
Dads (FOX)
Enlisted (FOX)
How I Met Your Mother (CBS, laatste seizoen)
Ironside (NBC)
Killer Women (ABC)
Lucky 7 (ABC)
Mind Games (2013) (ABC)
Nikita (The CW, laatste seizoen)
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC)
Raising Hope (FOX)
Rake (FOX)
Sean Saves the World (NBC)
Surviving Jack (FOX)
The Assets (ABC)
The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)
Welcome to the Family (NBC)

Keep an eye on MySeries.com for the latest news on renewals and cancellations and a preview of the new TV season.
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