‘Agents of SHIELD’ will return, but it sure is taking its sweet time getting here. Despite its persistently so-so ratings, the long-running Marvel drama was renewed for an abbreviated sixth season of thirteen episodes amid speculation that the fifth season would be its last. Of course, that reduced episode count didn’t exactly put fans’ minds at ease. Nor did the fact that the sixth season was delayed, and is currently due to air in the summer of 2019 rather than during the regular television season.
But things are not as grim as they may seem. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, ABC president Channing Dungey made clear that she does not see the sixth season as the end of ‘SHIELD’. In fact, rather than dumping the show, the move to summer is part of an effort to ensure the show’s future.
As Dungey explains:
“I feel like last season was our strongest creative season ever and the fan base remains very loyal – and we do very well in delayed viewing. It’s my hope that by moving it to summer, where our live-same-day ratings are less important and it might be able to continue for longer.”
In other words, ‘Agents of SHIELD’ has a small but exceptionally loyal fanbase, and that seems to be the key. Given the show’s history of iffy ratings and narrow renewals, the idea behind moving it to summer is that during the off season ratings expectations are lower to begin with, particularly in terms of viewers who watch the show as it airs. As Dungey noted, the show is much stronger in terms of delayed viewing, meaning people are more likely to DVR it or watch it via services like Netflix and Hulu. And since the live-same-day ratings don’t account for those time-shifted viewers… Well, you can see where this is going.
For more updates on the future of ‘Agents of SHIELD’ and other Marvel film and television projects, be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com as they become available!