Every year, TV networks make the difficult decisions of which shows to cancel and which ones they want to bring back.
The networks need to weigh the numbers their current shows are pulling in, the strength of their upcoming pilots, how many shows have a similar premise, how each will fit into the schedule; the whole nine yards.
No matter which way the networks go on these big decisions, there will be people who aren't happy. Whether a veteran show gets pulled off the air or a potential series is cut short, hearts will be broken.
Most of the time, it's the fans who get the short end of the stick. A show could be canceled for "under-performing," even with five or six million people tuning in every week. That's a lot of people left without a series they were invested in.
To avoid disappointment, fans have started watching the ratings each week and trying to gauge what may be on the cancellation chopping block. However, no matter how much you study the numbers, there are always a few shockers waiting in the wings.
This truth is even more evident this season, as there were decisions made that event left other networks scratching their heads.
Let's take a minute and look at the biggest cancellation surprises of 2017.
'2 Broke Girls'
2 Broke Girls put CBS in a truly difficult scenario. On one hand, you had a veteran comedy that performed well on a Monday night, despite the lower ratings in the recent season. On the other hand, the network had a roster of great pilots to choose from and little room to fit them in.
Ultimately, CBS decided to pull the plug. The fanbase wasn't happy about it, but there was still a lot to celebrate with the series. After all, how many times does a comedy last for six years?
According to network executives, the series was pulled for purely creative reasons. They felt that the show had reached its natural limit, and they thought it would be best to say no to season seven.prevnext
'Timeless' (sort of)
Okay, so Timeless is possibly the weirdest case of the entire renewal/cancellation season. After decent, but slightly underwhelming numbers, NBC decided to pull the plug on the freshman drama series. It made sense, especially considering all of the other time travel shows that were cancelled on other networks.
When the announcement came through, fans immediately began taking to social media with their disappointment. The uproar was heard throughout the entire industry.
Apparently, Timeless had a much bigger following than anyone realized.
The call from the fans was so great that NBC decided to reverse the decision just three days later.prevnext
'Last Man Standing'
Speaking of fan uproar, ABC is facing an angry mob over the cancellation of Tim Allen's family sitcom, Last Man Standing.
Fans around the country have been crying out against the network, claiming that the show was pulled for political reasons. Last Man Standing leans more on the conservative side, as does its leading man, while ABC is just the opposite.
Looking at the numbers, it is a bit questionable why the show was given the axe. It was constantly one of Friday's highest performers, even in the most recent season. In fact, it was ABC's second-highest rated comedy, behind Modern Family.
According to execs at the network, the decision had nothing to do with ratings, or politics. ABC is shifting its focus on Friday nights, aiming to target a younger, more sci-fi oriented audience. With Last Man Standing and Dr. Ken out of the way, Once Upon A Time and Agents of SHIELD will occupy the night.
After the network axed Last Man Standing, CMT was in talks to revive the comedy until negotiations broke down.prevnext
'Prison Break'/'24: Legacy'
Bringing back fan-favorite shows has been a trend lately, and many of them have performed fairly well. Such is the case for Prison Break and 24: Legacy on Fox. However, neither one will be returning in the fall.
For 24: Legacy, this wasn't quite a surprise. The critics weren't exactly kind to the reboot, and the numbers had fallen dramatically since its first episode. Still, it was a solid performer on Monday nights. Instead of cancelling the show outright, Fox left things open for a possible return. Star Corey Hawkins has a busy theater schedule, so they've said that the network will look to revisit the show if that changes down the road.
Things were much different for Prison Break. The ratings were solid, the fans were loving it, and everything has been going incredibly well. The thing is, the revival was only meant to be one season. With that in mind, another entry was never exactly on the table.
However, the folks at Fox have said that they're totally open to more Prison Break, as long as the producers and stars have an idea that they're all on board with.prevnext
This cancellation was met by total shock from the cast and crew, and came much earlier than the rest of the announcements. No one thought WGN America could consider cancelling Outsiders.
The series didn't have blockbuster numbers, but WGNA never did to begin with. Outsiders became the network's most-watched original series, and helped carry the channel to a record-breaking month in April. It was also one of only two original shows on the network, which makes the decision to call it quits even more head-scratching.
An executive at WGN said that the decision was made because of a change in direction. After changing ownership, the new goal is to use reruns and cheaper original shows to make money. It was evident that Outsiders cost too much, and didn't fall in line with the new standards.prevnext
Nashville's cancellation surprised viewers primarily because it has only just been picked up by its new network: CMT.
The musical drama began on ABC before moving to CMT for its fifth season after it was canceled by ABC in 2016. Season 5 premiered on CMT in January 2017, which jetted the series to become the highest-rated and most-watched show in CMT's history.
But in November, the country music network announced that the show's sixth season, which premieres January 4, 2018, will be its last. It has not given an explanation as to why the series was axed so quickly after fans demanded a revival.
"We want to return the favor with a final season that celebrates all the joys and passions, twists and turns — and amazing music! — that made 'Nashville' such an exciting journey for the last six years," series executive producer Marshall Herskovitz said.prevnext
The ratings for Scream Queens could have predicted the horror comedy series' fate after two seasons, but many were still surprised by the show's cancellation this year.
Fox appreciated the spoof-life series' ability to draw a younger demographic to the network, something other major players haven't explored. The show, which starred Emma Roberts and Lea Michele, also gained a sort of virality on social media, boosting delayed viewership to solid levels.
"The ratings don't tell the whole story; because it's such a young audience, you can't really even see the full picture even in L+3," Fox executives said in January, giving fans hope that the show would be renewed.
But as the series' stars moved on to other projects, signs pointed to cancellation, leading showrunners to announce in May that Scream Queens' second season was its last.prevnext
'The Night Shift'
The Night Shift ran four seasons before getting the axe by NBC.
The army vet medical drama exceeded expectations during its low-profile debut in summer 2014 and as it continued to run in TV's off-season. Despite posting surprisingly solid ratings, the show flew under the radar for most of its run.
EW reports that the ratings had dropped in recent seasons, with the last season wrapping up in August averaging more than 5.6 million viewers and a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic.
The most surprising aspect of The Night Shift's cancellation is that showrunners seemed optimistic in the months leading up to the announcement.
"We have a lot of stories to tell," executive producer Gabe Sachs told Deadline in August, just two months before NBC cut the medical drama. The network already houses hit series Chicago Med and is developing another medical drama for a future season.prevnext
With a bank of hot "Chicago" shows, NBC predicted Chicago Justice would provide another hit for already-invested audiences. But after only one season, ratings revealed it to be easily the lowest performer of the entire Windy City brand.
While some will be sad to see Justice go, the other three shows in the series were renewed by the network. Both P.D. and Med are solid performers, pulling in a 1.9 rating in the 18-49 demo. Chicago Fire, the original series in the franchise, performs even better. In fact, Fire was actually NBC's second-highest rated series, behind only This Is Us.0comments
One thing worth noting is that while Justice was canceled, but a couple of shows with lower ratings were given a renewal by NBC. The courtroom spin-off drama posted better numbers than J-Lo's Shades of Blue and newcomer Taken, which will be returning in 2018.
To see the renewal/cancellation status of your favorite shows, check out PopCulture.com's full list here.prev