In an uncharacteristically aggressive move for Fox, the basic cable network announced today that it would be ordering additional seasons of four programs. Included among the lucky few are critically acclaimed comedies New Girl, The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, along with the Kevin Bacon-starring thriller The Following.
Most decisions about renewals and cancellations come later in the spring, more towards the end of March and April, so Fox’s enthusiasm in handing renewals to the four shows speaks volumes about the confidence that the network brass has in them, both creatively and in terms of ratings. It’s worth noting that none of the renewed shows have drawn huge audiences, but all have benefitted tremendously from factoring in DVR viewings.
Fox’s strongest comedy is still New Girl, which stars Zooey Deschanel and has acted as a huge launching pad for the other members of its cast, including Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield. It would have been an absolute shock if the critically-adored and well-rated comedy, about an offbeat woman (Deschanel) who shares an apartment with three equally neurotic guys, didn’t return for a fourth season.
However, of all the pick-ups, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was perhaps the most obvious. The freshman comedy, which stars Andy Samberg as a childish but skilled detective and Andre Braugher as his no-nonsense captain, hasn’t pulled in stellar ratings but did take home two Golden Globes this year: Best Television Series (Musical or Comedy), and Best Actor in a Television Series (Musical or Comedy) for Samberg’s lead performance. The last time Fox won Best Television Series (Musical or Comedy) was in 2010 for Glee, and with that show on its way out, the network has likely marked Brooklyn Nine-Nine as its next golden goose. Adding to Fox’s excitement is the fact that an actor in a Fox comedy hasn’t won Best Actor since 2004 for Jason Bateman’s performance in Arrested Development. With news of the renewal, fans can rest assured that Brooklyn Nine-Nine will see at least two seasons.
Mindy Kaling-starrer The Mindy Project was actually on the cancellation bubble thanks to its low ratings, but Fox picking the well-reviewed comedy up for what will be its third season demonstrates that the network has a strong interest in keeping Kaling around (the in-demand writer/actress previously starred on NBC’s The Office).
Finally, dark thriller The Following was the toast of the town last season, when its freshman run drew huge ratings despite mixed reviews. However, the show returned down in the ratings, and it hasn’t been gaining much steam throughout its second season. Fox picking the show up for a third suggests that the network both likes the creative direction that The Following is taking and partially blames the Winter Olympics for its ratings misfortunes.
The four renewed shows join Fox staple Bones, returning for its tenth season; musical comedy Glee, entering its sixth and final season; animated faves Bob’s Burgers and The Simpsons; and genre-bending freshman Sleepy Hollow, which became a huge hit for Fox this past fall, in the pile of shows guaranteed to return next season.
Tell us, do you watch New Girl, The Following, Brooklyn Nine-Nine or The Mindy Project? Sound off below!