This is gutsy. Fox has handed early renewals for next season to comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and The Mindy Project and drama The Following. Golden Globe-winning freshman Brooklyn Nine-Nine is picked up for a second season, Mindy and The Following for a third and New Girl for a fourth. They join three other Fox scripted series that already have been picked up for next season: freshman drama Sleepy Hollow; veteran Bones, renewed for a 10th season; and Glee, which has a final sixth season as part of a two-year pickup. That is a lot of programming already locked in for next season though Fox has extra holes to fill following the cancellation of The X Factor. Networks are not required to make any renewal decisions until May, and most wait to see their pilots before making decisions. Fox, of course, declared in January that it was breaking away from the pilot cycle, so the network also may be going on its own timetable with renewals. But most of all, today’s pickups are about Fox brass giving a vote of confidence to series they feel strongly about creatively.
Early renewals are usually reserved for seasoned or breakout performers, which was the case with NBC’s nod to The Blacklist and Fox’s pickups for Bones and Sleepy Hollow. But besides New Girl — which remains Fox’s strongest comedy and is in the process of securing an off-network sale for sister studio 20th TV, so it would benefit from an early pickup — the other newly renewed series were on the bubble. Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Mindy Project both have been well received but have struggled to attract larger audiences. New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine didn’t get a boost from their airing after the Super Bowl, most recently posting a 1.4 and a 1.3 in 18-49 this week. (Brooklyn has been one of the most heralded freshman series, winning Golden Globe Awards for Best Comedy Series and Comedy Actor for Andy Samberg.) Meanwhile The Following, after a very strong first season, returned down, with its second cycle posting a string of series lows, not helped by having to face the Winter Olympics. However, all four series that received pickups today are big DVR gainers, significantly increasing their soft Live+Same Day ratings.