It was announced in May that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 was pushed back to the summer of 2019, and now Channing Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, has given an explanation for the change. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to be the Marvel Cinematic Universe's flagship TV show, and it somehow always narrowly escapes cancellation season after season, despite having uneven ratings.
A lot went down in the finale of the show's fifth season, and it's lead to endless amounts of speculation as to what season 6 may have in store. Season 5 ended with the death of Fitz, the defeat of Talbot at the hands of Daisy, and a farewell to both Coulson and May as they chose to spend the rest of Coulson's life soaking up the sun in Tahiti. Simmons and the rest of the team have resolved themselves to search for the present version of Fitz, who is in cryogenic stasis aboard Enoch's ship somewhere deep in space. The season finale mostly ignored the events of Avengers: Infinity War, and with season 6 not coming out until after the release of Avengers 4, it's probably safe to assume that the events of the larger MCU will have little effect on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., if at all.
In an interview with THR, Channing Dungey explained the move to the new summer air date. "It's my hope that by moving it to summer, where our live-same-day ratings are less important, it might be able to continue for longer." Despite its weak live ratings, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been able to maintain an incredibly loyal and dedicated fan base. The show also does exceptionally well in delayed viewing, with most of its viewership coming from DVR recordings, Hulu, and Netflix.
Dungey says that she considers the last season the be their strongest yet, creative-wise, and it's hard to argue with that. Season 5 took the team to both space and the future, diving head-first into the cosmic and multiple-reality realms of the Marvel Universe. Season 6 will be reduced to just 13 episodes, but the more concise storytelling may help up the quality of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. even further. While details are sparse at the moment, it's been revealed that Phil Coulson himself, Clark Gregg, will be directing the season 6 premiere, and that Jeff Ward, who plays Fitz and Simmons' grandson, Deke Shaw, has been promoted to a series regular.
There is speculation that this will be the final season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but Dungey urges that remains to be seen. Despite the upcoming launch of Disney's streaming service, which looks to become the main platform for Marvel Television going forward, Dungey says that ABC is still working on a couple of Marvel-related projects for broadcast. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has remained afloat so far, and has introduced a large amount of fan-favorite Marvel characters into the MCU, such as Ghost Rider, Madame Hydra, and more. The switch to the summer just may be the right move for the show to not only stay alive, but completely revive itself going forward.