Fall TV: The Axeman Sharpens His Blade…

‘Tis the season for the network axeman to come a callin’…

While there haven’t seen any significant flame-outs this season, the crop of new Fall television has been exceedingly lackluster. This week, the three big networks – ABC, NBC, and CBS – made some moves toward series orders and cancellations that will potentially foretell what shows, if any, will be around this time next year.

But first, the good news.

CBS’s Limitless, based on the Bradley Cooper film, was picked up for a full-season order, making the network’s first major move of the Fall season. It was joined by Code Black‘s six additional script order to show a sign of longevity for the freshmen series. Limitless is the second highest-rated freshman show, averaging 11.4 million viewers.

Joining those positive notes is ABC’s additional episode orders for Quantico and, surprisingly, Dr. Ken. ABC did hand a certain death notice to its Sunday night drama Blood & Oil, which was seen as too sudsy for its own good by ADTV’s Megan McLachlan. The series’ order was reduced from 13 to 10 episodes after it underwent a showrunner change shortly before the publicity machine kicked off. Ratings for the series have never been strong. It premiered to 6.3 million viewers and dropped to 3.5 million in its latest outing.

I hear a scythe swinging in the distance.

Blood & Oil joins Fox’s Minority Report and NBC’s The Player as freshman series whose initial 13-episode seasons have been cut by their networks. Report will finish with 10 episodes, and The Player will quit playing with only 9 games. That’s hardly the stuff of television cancellation legend, but it still smarts for these high-profile series.

Wrapping up the series orders are Fox’s Rosewood and NBC’s Blindspot both of which received full-season pick ups.

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