Why Seth MacFarlane's The Orville May Get An Early Season 3 Renewal

the orville season 2 cast fox
(Image credit: Image courtesy of Fox)

Seth MacFarlane made the jump into live-action television back in 2017 with The Orville, which was enough of a hit to score a second season from Fox. Well, Season 2 hasn't premiered yet, but there are already big reasons to be optimistic about The Orville scoring a renewal for Season 3 sooner rather than later. Here's why.

The Orville has been approved to receive a whopping $15.8 million tax credit for a third season, which definitely gives Fox an incentive to invest in the show for another season after the next. You have to spend money to make money, and a big California tax credit could certainly be what Fox wants in order to continue back the space dramedy. Given the bloodbath of the spring when Fox axed a bunch of popular (and admittedly, some not-so-popular) series, this should come as very good news for fans of The Orville.

Is a third season guaranteed at this point? Certainly not. Nevertheless, the tax credit is a very good sign that Fox might not want to cut The Orville short after just two seasons. The show already got a sizable tax credit for Season 2, according to Deadline, with the number hitting $14.5 million. Fox has been supportive of The Orville, which isn't all that surprising. The network has good reason to believe in Seth MacFarlane's comedic talents, and it's no coincidence that both the first and second season premieres scored prime slots behind big NFL games.

Of course, The Orville has more going for it than just Seth MacFarlane's success with primetime TV shows. The first season scored modest ratings in Live+Same day calculations, but it was a huge hit when it came to delayed viewership.

When delayed and on-demand viewers could be calculated, The Orville averaged 10.7 million viewers across multiple platforms. That represents a bump of 149% from the Live+Same day calculations and is a very big deal, especially now that TV is in an era when many people choose to consume their entertainment in non-traditional ways. If Season 2 follows the same pattern as Season 1 on top of the increased tax credit, I can't imagine that Fox would give it the Lucifer or Brooklyn Nine-Nine treatment.

The Orville isn't the only show to get some great news on the tax credit front. Freeform's Good Trouble received a hefty incentive to return for another season, and that show hasn't even premiered yet! Good Trouble will be a spinoff of The Fosters, which aired its final episode in the summer. It received a $4.2 million tax credit for the first season and has qualified for a $6.6 million tax credit for a second season. If Good Trouble performs even adequately at Freeform, I can see it scoring a second season early on.

We'll have to wait and see. Season 2 of The Orville kicks off after the December 30 NFL doubleheader on Fox, then moves to its regular time slot on Thursday, January 3 at 9 p.m. ET following Gotham. As for Good Trouble, you can find that in the midseason lineup on Freeform starting Tuesday, January 8 at 8 p.m. ET.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).