This ongoing column focuses on shows that currently have a question mark concerning their future. You can see the status of all the currently airing sci fi and fantasy shows at this link.
Neither The 100 nor iZombie have started up their current seasons (the former returns April 24th and the latter returns February 26th), but as CW shows we can already make a good guess on their renewal / cancellation prospects. Both of these shows are at four plus seasons and both are low-rated entries even for the fifth place network (a 0.3 rating average for both last season). Based on typical trends we have seen from The CW, that is enough information to estimate their chances of returning for another year.
Over the past four years or so, the fifth place network has renewed most of its shows even if the ratings are on the lower side. This has become even more apparent of late now that The CW has partnered up with Netflix and releases its shows for streaming about a week after they have completed their current seasons. Once a CW entry has made it past its first season, the network has kept it going to at least 70 episodes, even if the ratings are low, to give it a binge-worthy run. But once they achieve that threshold, the lower-rated shows tend to get weeded out, though usually they are given a final season to wrap up all their storylines.
The CW has gone heavy into development this year, with nine pilots currently in the works (you can see a rundown of the sci fi and fantasy entries at this link), and I thought that might lead to a change from past trends that could impact The 100 and iZombie. Since the network only programs ten hours a week, that doesn’t leave much room to get new shows on and I thought The CW might do a house cleaning with hopes that the new shows would attract a better audience. That might still be in the cards, but they announced that they are expanding to six nights a week (adding Sunday back in), so that leaves some room on the schedule to keep some of the veterans around.
The 100 is returning for its fifth year and will be at 71 episodes by the time the season has ended (assuming a thirteen episode order). That show’s numbers have been on the low side for a while and it is likely one of the network’s more costly entries. So it definitely looks like its fifth year could be its last. However, the network did not make that announcement when the show was renewed last season and it rarely outright cancels a show. My guess, though, is that they have told the writers to approach the current season as the show’s last but to keep some story ideas open in case they decide to extend this one into a sixth year and possibly shoot for the 88 episode threshold that the syndication market prefers. The CW has not made its typical early renewal announcement of its Fall shows yet, but when it does do that I consider it possible they will announce this as The 100‘s final season. If not, then I believe that sixth year could happen depending on how many new shows the network decides to pick up.
iZombie is heading into its fourth year and will be at 58 episodes by season end (it received a 13 ep order). That puts it short of the 70 threshold, and if past trends hold up then it should be lock to return for at least one more year. Considering this one is less expensive to produce and is well-liked by fans and critics, I’m thinking it is a reasonable assumption that it will be back. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if The CW paired this one up with one of its new shows on Sunday nights to bring over some longtime viewers to the expanded schedule. And they could keep it around for one more season beyond that to make it more attractive to the syndication market seeing as the potential for greater revenue would justify the costs. But that is looking a bit far into the future and I won’t make that call just yet.
So consider The 100 a toss up for now, and don’t be surprised if the network makes that final season announcement in the next month or so. But iZombie I expect to stick around through at least a fifth year unless The CW makes a major shift to the strategy it has followed the last few years. In any case, it is always a good idea for the fans to get behind these two with a showing of support on the social nets. That goes much further with the fifth place network than with the Big Four broadcast nets (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC) and could give either or both of these shows a better shot at sticking around longer. And be sure to follow this site and the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site to see how these and the other sci fi and fantasy entries are performing as the current season winds down.