ABC Renewal Status Report: ‘The Conners’ & ‘Not Dead Yet’

Second in a series on broadcast network series renewals. This is a rarity — it’s still mid-April and ABC has already made decisions on all of its existing drama series.

The popular Nathan Fillion cop series The Rookie was the last to get word yesterday with a Season 7 renewal after some intense negotiations with the show’s new lead studio, Lionsgate, which acquired The Rookie producer eOne in December. It joins recently renewed Grey’s Anatomy, 9-1-1 and Will Trent, with The Good Doctor and Station 19 ending their runs.

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ABC, which did not introduce new scripted series this strike-impacted season (except for Fox transplant 9-1-1), has two drama series on deck for next season, Drew Goddard’s High Potential and Ryan Murphy’s Dr. Odyssey. The sizes of the orders at the network for 2024-25 are rumored to be 18 episodes or less.

Abbott Elementary was the first ABC scripted series renewed for next season back in February. Two months later, it remains the only comedy on the network whose status for next season has been determined, with veteran The Conners and sophomore Not Dead Yet on the bubble.

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Roseanne followup The Conners, which just marked its 100th episode and remains a sturdy ratings performer, has found itself in serious limbo. According to sources, talks are underway between ABC and sitcom’s independent producer, Tom Werner’s Werner Entertainment, but I hear the main cast has not been approached yet. In years past, the actors, who have been on one-year deals from the start, would have been just about done negotiating new contracts by now, paving the way to a renewal, which inevitably followed.

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This time, the focus has been on renewal negotiations. If they are successful, I hear The Conners will likely be picked up for a seventh and final season.

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Both executive producer/showrunner Bruce Helford and star John Goodman indicated last spring that Season 6 could be The Conners‘ last, with Helford stressing that star/executive producer Sara Gilbert –who was instrumental in getting The Conners off the ground following the shock cancellation of Roseanne — had requested enough lead time so the series can build to a proper ending.

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That would happen if The Conners is renewed for one more final season. But in an indication how real the possibility is for the show to end this season, I hear a tag scene was shot that would be added to the Season 6 finale should it become a series finale.

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“We’ve got a final episode that may be one or the other. We love it,” Helford recently told Deadline when asked whether they had approached the Season 6 closer as a season or series finale amid uncertainty over The Conners‘ future. He called the episode “unexpected” and “emotional.”

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The Conners‘ fate is likely intertwined with the pickup decisions on ABC’s two comedy pilots, Shifting Gears starring Tim Allen and Kat Dennings, and Forgive & Forget headlined by Ty Burrell. Both are multi-camera — part of ABC’s shift to the more affordable half-hour format — and both feature proven comedy stars, so how many of them go to series could factor into the call whether to bring back ABC’s sole current multi-camera sitcom, The Conners. (Even if The Conners is to end this season, it may remain on broadcast primetime via the CW’s acquisition of the series’ library.)

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The single-camera Not Dead Yet is heavily on the bubble. Its ratings have been soft, making for some bleak prospects, though the series starring Gina Rodriguez is said to have its supporters internally and could potentially find a spot next season based on ABC’s scheduling needs.

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