Fresh off the Boat, Agent Carter, Forever and more ABC shows on the bubble

It’s that time of year again: Time to start sweating whether your favorite cult TV series will make it to another season. You can make your voice heard over the next couple of weeks with Zap2it‘s keep-or-kill polls. On the docket first: ABC.
After a pretty disastrous year in 2013-14, ABC has rebounded nicely in 2014-15, launching a couple of the season’s higher-rated new shows in “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Black-ish.” The “TGIT” scheduling gambit paid off nicely, and there are more signs of life on Tuesday nights than in the past few years. 
Yet for all that, the network still has a pretty sizable bubble, and since the network tends not to make early pickups, a number of shows will be sweating things out into May. Below, read the case for and against each bubble show — including one show that in just about any other season wouldn’t be there — and vote in the polls after each one.
The case for it: John Ridley’s drama about a racially charged murder case is a big swing, but it’s one that everyone keeps saying broadcast networks should be taking. Ratings have been solid too — a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating that rises to 2.3 with DVRs added in.
The case against it: Its numbers are well below those of “HTGAWM,” which held the same timeslot earlier in the season, and the extremely downbeat tone of the show makes it something of a tough watch.

The case for it: It’s done a decent job holding onto the audience from its “Last Man Standing” lead-in, helping ABC build a solid bridge to its big Friday show “Shark Tank.”
The case against it: Despite mostly positive reviews at the outset, it has kind of disappeared from the radar. Its ratings aren’t that different from those of “The Neighbors” last season, and “The Neighbors” is no more.

The case for it: It has shored up what was previously a black-hole time period for the network. Same-day ratings aren’t anything special, but it nearly doubles its 18-49 rating with DVR use. So an audience is there.
The case against it: Networks still aren’t making much money off Live +7 ratings, and even in the fracturing broadcast environment, it’s probably good to aim higher than an overnight rating in the low 1s.


The case for it: With no lead-in (or lead-out, for that matter) “FOTB” has been a self-starter. Critics have been very enthusiastic, and its ratings profile somewhat resembles that of “The Goldbergs” last season. 
The case against it: Ratings have been trending the wrong way in recent weeks. Eddie Huang, whose memoir inspired the show, has now distanced himself from it, which isn’t exactly a good sign.

The case for it: Fans got on board with the short-run show about Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and the origins of SHIELD. It’s a smart programming move to keep the time period in the Marvel-verse while “Agents of SHIELD” takes its midseason break.
The case against it: Does Marvel want to keep making a show that’s not explicitly moving the larger MCU plan forward? If so, it would be a bit of a departure for the company.

The case for it: On its face, it’s a no-brainer. The consistent ratings performer has been a great anchor for ABC’s Wednesday comedy block for several seasons running. It’s only here because …
The case against it: … Charlie McDermott (Axl) has taken the lead role in CBS’ pilot “Super Clyde,” meaning he would no longer be a regular on “The Middle” if the pilot goes to series. The cast’s contracts were up at the end of the season, but per Deadline new deals are now in place, making a renewal even more likely.

The case for it: ABC produces the show (along with Lionsgate) in addition to airing it, so it has an interest in getting “Nashville” to an episode count that makes it more attractive for syndication and streaming. One more season would do just that, and besides, ratings aren’t that different from last season.
The case against it: The numbers have fallen some, it’s not a cheap show to make, and it has lost some of the hype that accompanied earlier seasons.

The case for it: It’s also an ABC-owned show, and if the network and studio want to get it to the magic number of 100 episodes, one more 13-episode season would do just that.
The case against it: Ratings have dropped by 23 percent this season, and whatever buzz its go-for-broke plotting once generated seems to have evaporated. Some fans are already bracing for a series finale this year.

This post has been updated to reflect the news of new contracts for “The Middle” cast.
Posted by:Rick Porter