ABC Bubble Show Watch: ‘The Rookie’, ‘AMLT’, ‘Rebel’, ‘For Life’, ‘Home Economics’, ‘American Housewife’, ‘Mixed-ish’ & ‘Call Your Mother’

(Clockwise, from top left) ABC's "The Rookie," "Rebel," "Home Economics," "For Life," "Mixed-ish," "Call Your Mother," "A Million Little Things," and "American Housewife" ABC

ABC is the broadcast network with the most outstanding current scripted series whose fate remains undecided.

A number of them are not bubble series and are assured a renewal, including flagship comedies The Conners, which recently re-signed its cast for next season, and The Goldbergs, which are ABC’s highest-rated scripted series behind the just renewed Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19. There has been chatter that two long-running ABC half-hour series, The Goldbergs and black-ish, might be renewed for their final seasons, but I hear that would not necessarily be the case, at least not for both series.

Also considered a sure bet for renewal is The Rookie, starring Nathan Fillion, one of ABC’s most-watched series and a fan favorite with a devoted following, which finished neck-and-neck with NBC’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist at the top of USA Today‘s recent Save Our Shows poll.

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Of the four strongest renewal prospects, only black-ish is fully owned by Disney; the other three series are co-productions/outside productions.

Three other fully owned series, drama A Million Little Things, now in its third season, and comedies American Housewife (Season 5) and mixed-ish (Season 2) are all on the bubble.

American Housewife, which went through some behind-the-scenes drama last summer, has been a strong utility player, delivering reliable ratings in multiple time slots. It also has proved to be resilient and is the only ABC scripted series to be off by just single-digits vs. last season in both Live+ Same Day adults 18-49 and total viewers vs. double-digit declines for the rest of the network’s portfolio.

For a serialized drama, AMLT has been a respectable linear performer and does well in delayed viewing and on digital. It also has a strong following, finishing fifth in the Save Our Shows poll.

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Black-ish spinoff mixed-ish, a promising newcomer last season, has found itself on the bubble this spring with soft ratings, ranking among the least-watched ABC series. The comedy now is on shaky ground.

The remaining ABC bubble series are all co-productions: freshmen Rebel, Home Economics and Call Your Mother and sophomore For Life.

Of the four, recent additions Home Economics looks promising to come back. The comedy, tarring Topher Grace, probably has attracted enough buzz, strong reviews and solid Live+3 lead-in retention behind The Goldbergs to get another shot despite modest L+SD numbers.

Drama Rebel, starring Katey Sagal, has underperformed in the ratings despite having ABC’s highest-rated series, Grey’s Anatomy, as a lead-in. But it comes from ABC’s most valuable drama showrunner, Krista Vernoff, who is shepherding the network’s Top 2 scripted series, Grey’s and spinoff Station 19. That could earn the show more time to find wider audience.

Things are even less positive for new comedy Call Your Mother, which does not look good to continue.

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A big question mark also hangs over sophomore drama For Life, which has been well received and is very timely with its exploration of racial inequality in the justice system. I hear efforts to find a way for a Season 3 continue, with a move of the series to Hulu — where For Life has done well — among the potential suitable options.

For Deadline’s Bubble Show Watch reports on CBS, NBC and Fox, follow the timeline at the top of the story. The CW has no shows on the bubble as it has made all of its renewal decisions already, renewing the majority of its current slate.

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