ABC has renewed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a seventh season. The news comes several months in advance of the series’ sixth season premiering next summer. The surprise renewal also comes on the day we learned ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey is leaving the Disney-owned company.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spent much of last season in limbo, with no one knowing if the show could continue. The season five finale played like a series finale just in case there would be no follow-up. Then ABC ordered a reduced sixth season to air in summer 2019 instead of the usual fall/spring schedule.
Season six has already been in production for a few months and ABC must be happy with the creative given the very early renewal for season seven. The network must also be confident that the series will maintain its audience during the summer months and following an extended absence.
The change in leadership at ABC could be a factor in the renewal. Since Dungey became the network chief in 2016, ABC has canceled one Marvel series–Agent Carter–while failing to launch any new ones. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was starting to look like the network’s last Marvel show.
Taking over for Dungey is Karey Burke, who’s been serving as the head of originals at Freeform. That Disney-owned cable network successfully launched the Marvel series Cloak & Dagger earlier this year. The second season of that series is currently in production.
Perhaps Burke is a bigger believer in Marvel, though Dungey has also been supportive of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. during her tenure. It will be interesting to see if any other Marvel series are developed for ABC in time for Burke’s first pilot season next year.
The change in leadership goes much further than Dungey and Burke. The Disney-Fox deal is bringing in a handful of new executives including Fox’s Dana Walden, to whom Burke will report. Upon completion of Disney’s Fox acquisition, Walden will serve as Disney TV Studios chairman.
SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter