By the beginning of February last year, the broadcast networks had renewed nine scripted series: ABC’s Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Castle, The Middle and Cougar Town, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (three-year pickup) and NCIS and Fox’s Raising Hope. A month later, the number climbed to 10 with a two-year deal for CBS’ How I Met Your Mother. We’re at the end of February now, and the networks are yet to pick up a single existing scripted series for next season. That is a very unusual pattern as the broadcast networks normally like to reward their top performers with early renewals.

There is no doubt that shows like ABC’s Modern Family and Once Upon A Time, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and NCIS or Fox’s New Girl will be back next season. And yet, two-and-a-half months before the upfronts, there is not a single scripted series except for those under multi-year deals (Big Bang, How I Met Your Mother, The Simpsons) to have their places on the schedule for next season already secured. The dry spell may finally be broken soon as Fox is nearing a decision on freshman Terra Nova, whose chances for renewal have increased over the past few weeks. (more…)