Update 04/19/08: TVGuide's Ausiello is now reporting that the show has been renewed!
TVGuide.com's Michael Ausiello reported over a week ago that inside sources were telling him the in-limbo Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles had begun hiring for the fall and that FOX had given the green light to start booking directors for next season's first few episodes.
I'd been calling "She'll be back" since the season finale aired, but FOX still doesn't seem to be in any hurry to put fans of the show at ease. I base my thinking on a couple of pieces of data. That additionally I'm infatuated with Summer Glau in the role of a reprogrammed "good" terminator and Lena Headey in the starring role, doesn't hurt. But I'm going to keep it based on numbers and things not related to beautiful women. Or at least try!
Prison Break, both in overall numbers and in the all-important 18-49 demographic, the notion that Prison Break probably costs significantly less than TSCC isn't lost on me. Also, FOX may well be thinking it would be better off with another unscripted show in the time slot or a drama that could potentially improve on TSCC's numbers (none of this season's other new dramas for FOX outperformed TSCC).
The primary reason that I doubt the show won't be renewed is because the fourth Terminator movie is scheduled for release next May, so I'd be surprised if nothing else if there were not at least another 9-12 episode run next winter/spring to serve as a promotional vehicle for the movie. The Halcyon Co., a privately financed film development company acquired the franchise rights to the movie last spring, and my understanding is that deal did give them certain rights with TSCC, but I have no idea what those terms are.
You can see season one's full ratings breakdown here.
From a numbers point of view the show did big numbers following an NFC playoff matchup in its debut on 1/13/2008, obviously the biggest numbers of its run. The next night FOX aired the second episode with Prison Break as its lead-in and TSCC improved over Prison Break by more than 20%. On that night it was the second most-watched program in the 9pm hour trailing only a repeat of CBS' Two and a Half Men, though TSCC crushed 2.5 Men in the 18-49 demo that night. This would be the show's second best performance, trailing only the pilot that aired the night before.
The show then settled into its "typical ratings" of 8 million or so LIVE+SD viewers, with its low on 2/25. The two episode finale on 3/3 improved, with the final episode being its best numbers over the last 4 episodes in both viewers and 18-49 viewers. I don't place as much weight on lead-in as most who cover TV ratings, but it should be noted the low on 2/25 had Moment of Truth as a lead-in rather than Prison Break.
I'd like to see this show come back. I enjoyed it and the writers did something pretty spectacular, which was generally hold my interest during the entire run. I consider it pretty spectacular because both figuratively and literally I have "seen how this movie ends". The primary reason I think we'll see at least another 8 episode run is because the movie is coming.
In fairness, it's hard to judge a show only on 9 episodes. I for example loved the pilot/miniseries for Battlestar Galactica (as a stand alone piece of work, it was outstanding), and I enjoyed most of the first two seasons of the show very much. Last year, Season 3 of BSG had trouble keeping my attention and I was really only interested in episodes related to the primary story arc, which sadly for me was almost none of them. Fortunately the season 3 finale was worth the wait for me.
My point with that is, I don't know that TSCC is a show that could have a three or four year run given that it occurs in the time between the second and third terminator movies. But I was surprised that the show could hold my attention for even nine episodes, so I am OK with being surprised again if it came to that.
If I had to wager, I doubt I'd wager anything substantial but I see the most likely scenario that it will have at least as many episodes as it had this year next Winter and Spring as a promotional tie-in to the movie. I'd rather see them have a shot at a full 22 or so episode run though, but one way or the other, I'm convinced that when it comes to Sarah Connor (and Cameron Phillips), she'll be back.