New Girl on the Bubble: Keep or Cut?

By mid-May, the broadcast networks must make some tough calls as to which series will return for the 2017-18 TV season, and which… won’t.

As that deadline draws near, TVLine is singling out a few “bubble” shows and sizing up their prospects — based in large part on creative strides (and stumbles) and future potential, but also with a requisite nod to cold, hard numbers.

Next up is Fox’s current longest-running, live-action sitcom.

THE SHOW | Fox’s New Girl (Tuesdays at 8/7c)

THE CASE FOR KEEPING | While even New Girl‘s most diehard fans would admit that the show endured a bit of a creative slump midway through its run, those who stuck with it were rewarded with a reenergized Season 5 (which among other things navigated Zooey Deschanel’s first maternity leave and Damon Wayans Jr.’s second exit). That momentum has only built in the show’s current run, which has allowed its characters to grow and mature more than the previous years combined. Newlyweds Schmidt and Cece are now first-time homeowners. Winston is engaged to Aly and settling into his career as a cop. Jess was finally promoted to principal. Nick self-published his Julius Pepperwood novel and has proven via his ill-fated relationship with Reagan that he’s ready to be the kind of boyfriend Jess always wanted him to be. What’s most important is that the writers managed to make all of these big changes without ever losing touch of the show’s delightfully unsophisticated sense of humor.

THE CASE FOR CUTTING | Here’s the thing: As good as Season 6 has been, it has very much felt like a final season (or at the very least, like Liz Meriwether & Co. feared it would be the final season, and made sure to do just about everything with these characters that they hadn’t already). The only loose end that needs tying up is the Nick and Jess romance, and a recoupling seems inevitable before season’s end.

Averaging 2.1 million weekly viewers this season, New Girl stands as Fox’s least-watched comedy, while its 1.0 demo rating only bests struggling newcomer Making History. Perhaps in part due to stop-and-start scheduling, its numbers have gradually waned since its midseason premiere, matching its demo low of 0.8 in its most recent airing. It’s no wonder Jake Johnson has publicly expressed doubt about Season 7.

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