We were admittedly surprised to see Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. granted a full ABC renewal, especially as early Inhumans news suggested the network had interest in newer shows. That said, they may not have had a choice in renewing S.H.I.E.L.D. for Season 5, according to reports.

The Inhumans’ November announcement set off alarm bells that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might not live to Season 5, just as diminished ratings and a pivot to the 9:00 P.M. timeslot seemed like ABC threatening to swing the axe. Even early derision for The Inhumans visuals assuaged little, until ABC finally stepped up to announce S.H.I.E.L.D. was safe for another season, and at a full twenty-two episodes.

Still, Variety now notes that Inhumans’ abysmal reviews have proven a source of contention between ABC and Marvel, as well that Disney essentially demanded a fifth S.H.I.E.L.D. season:

‘Inhumans’ has not been the only source of friction between ABC and Marvel. Earlier this year, the mandate came down from Disney for ABC to renew its other Marvel drama, ‘Agents of SHIELD,’ despite the desire by some at the network to end the series after four seasons.

It’s difficult to say how much of a line was drawn, given that Marvel’s Agent Carter only lasted two ABC seasons before a decision to pull the plug, while it wouldn’t seem out of the question to compromise on S.H.I.E.L.D. with a shortened, if not final run. Either way, S.H.I.E.L.D. will get a bit less jostled airing near of its entire fifth season unbroken on Fridays, while ABC reportedly looks at new Marvel series.

In the meantime, Inhumans will premiere Friday at 8:00 P.M., with S.H.I.E.L.D. returning in the same slot after an eight-episode run.

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