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ABC’s primetime schedule is currently going through a gigantic overhaul, as the network is trying to shift its dramas over to more procedural content. But that doesn’t mean ABC is completely through with more serialized fare, as the anthology series American Crime has managed to keep its lifeforce going for Season 3, which has been officially ordered for the upcoming fall season.
Not a bombastic success by any stretch of the imagination, American Crime was not much of a shoo-in for another renewal, and it was unclear what would happen, especially since it’s taken ABC so long to come to a firm decision. By the time Season 1 finished, the finale ‘s 4.2 million-strong audience was just half of that which tuned in for the premiere, and the first installment of Season 2 was only watched by 4.7 million people, which wasn’t a good sign. However, though March’s season finale only brought in 3.7 million viewers, that was a far less drastic ratings drop-off than the previous year’s. Must have given ABC some big faith that the audience decline might be even smaller for a third season.
Looking past the ratings, American Crime has been one of ABC’s most critically lauded shows in years, with almost universally positive acclaim for the two-year drama. Much of that has to do with the killer cast the show has put together, with both seasons centering on characters played by Timothy Hutton and Felicity Huffman, and Season 2 brought in talents like Regina King, Hope Davis, Conner Jessup and more, while also giving Lili Taylor a promotion to series regular. It’s unclear at this point just who from the cast will be back for Season 3, but we’re hoping that the drama retains as many as possible.
American Crime was created by the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley. As TVLine reports, he’d recently shared that after the racially tense murder of Season 1 and the sexual assault case in Season 2, Season 3 would probably explore the differences in the way Americans live, by way of economic class, where people struggling to work for their food are seeing billionaires running the country’s politics. Thanks to a focus on keeping things fairly non-sensationalized, American Crime hasn’t been quite the headline maker as the similarly-named American Crime Story over on FX, but that’s part of what keeps it so narratively solid.
When American Crime Story returns to ABC in the fall, it won’t be sharing the schedule with the likes of the now-gone Castle, the Marvel series Agent Carter, or even The Muppets, among other vacating series. Some of those cancellations are American crimes in and of themselves. Maybe for Season 4…