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Once Upon a Time: Castle 2.0 or Scrubs 2.0?

Throughout the last few months, comparisons have been made between Once Upon a Time's situation this season and Castle's situation last season. With the recent news that cast member Jennifer Morrison will not return to Once Upon a Time as a series regular if the series returns for a seventh season, more comparisons have been made, with this being compared to the firing of Castle co-lead Stana Katic. However, Castle is not the only show that we can compare Once Upon a Time to. We can also look back at 2009, when ABC comedy Scrubs got renewed for a ninth season.

In 2009, Scrubs wrapped up its eighth season--its first on ABC, as it changed networks after NBC canceled the comedy after seven seasons--and the season finale, which followed the pattern set by most of the seasons 1-8 episodes by beginning with the word "My" and was titled "My Finale", served as an ending for the series, with goodbyes, a large number of appearances from past guest stars (who literally lined both sides of a hallway), and a look at what was ahead in main character J.D's life. However, ABC's comedy situation at the time was desperate. Only one of the network's other comedies, freshman Better Off Ted, got renewed. So, ABC ended up bringing back Scrubs for a ninth season.

There are some similarities to this and Once Upon a Time. The second half of this sixth season has been advertised as "the final chapter". Sunday's season finale is titled "The Final Battle". The creators have said that the ending to this season is the ending they had envisioned for the series. However, there are plans for a potential seventh season, and ABC's drama situation in 2017, though not as bad as their comedy situation in 2009, is desperate, more so than it was in 2016 when Castle was canceled, because while ABC was canceling Castle, they were bringing back Once Upon a Time, Agents of SHIELD, Quantico, The Catch, American Crime, and Secrets & Lies, in addition to the three big TGIT series. This season, they have those three TGITs already renewed, Designated Survivor certain to return, and probably one or two of Agents of SHIELD, Quantico, or The Catch.

There are more ways in which we can compare Once Upon a Time and Scrubs. The lead in Scrubs, Zach Braff, returned in the ninth season, but only in a recurring capacity. The main cast of the ninth season consisted of two of the seven main cast members from the previous season, one recurring cast member from season eight, and three new cast members. Jennifer Morrison has agreed to appear in one episode of a potential seventh season of Once Upon a Time, and three other cast members on Once Upon a Time "are expected to come back" according to Deadline (read the full Deadline article here). On Friday, Deadline also mentioned in their bubble watch article that Once Upon a Time "has been signing on high-level writer-producers for next season" (full article here). If Once Upon a Time is bringing on new writer-producers, that would be another similarity to Scrubs, which replaced all of its writers and producers in season nine except series creator Bill Lawrence and executive story editor Andy Schwartz.

While the situations are not exactly the same, Once Upon a Time's potential seventh season shares a lot of similarities with the ninth season of Scrubs, and I believe that these similarities are stronger than the similarities between Once Upon a Time this year and Castle last year. For this reason, I am sticking to my prediction in the final edition of ABC Renew/Cancel for the season that Once Upon a Time is likely to be renewed. Even if we just compare Once Upon a Time to Castle, I still predict renewal. While we don't know what exactly happened, or how close Castle was to getting renewed, based on the fact that costs were cut down, and the penultimate episode of Castle did not advertise the following week's finale as a series finale, I believe that it was a close one. So, with Once Upon a Time having even small advantages that Castle did not have, I would be inclined to say that Once Upon a Time falls on the other side of the 50% mark.

Once Upon a Time is a tricky one, and I'm not confident on it at all. However, I think it has about a 50.1% chance of getting renewed. We will probably see later this week what happens.


What do you think about Once Upon a Time's fate? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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