See the latest week's Renew/Cancel Index here, including the latest predictions for which shows will be cancelled.
Last season I tried a variety of methods to predict which new shows were doing well and which were doing poorly. All of them suffered from a scaling problem. A massive hit for the pathetic CW could still be at the bottom of the list for another network. It was hard to analytically predict the likelihood of renewal or cancellation. But at the end of last season I decided to compare a show's 18-49 viewership to its own network's 18-49 average and the results were quite consistent in predicting renewal or cancellation (in this case after the fact).
For this upcoming season, I'll use this method to publish a Renew/Cancel Index that I'll be using to predict the future of shows across the broadcast networks.
To get these tables using last seasons results through early May I simply divided a show's season to date average adults 18-49 viewership by its network's STD adults 18-49 average viewership.* I've separated the scripted and unscripted shows into two lists. As it turns out, the predictive ability of the method for scripted shows is much better than it is for unscripted shows.
Scripted Shows 2007-8 Season
For scripted shows, the line was clear. Maintain an adults 18-49 viewership above of 92% of your network average and you're going to be renewed. Only 2 shows that did that (Bionic Woman, Big Shots) were cancelled.
Fail to exceed 92% of your network's average adults 18-49 average viewership and you're almost certainly cancelled. Only 6 shows below that line survived. Friday Night Lights only because it was saved by DirectTV. Two others (Ghost Whisper & Numb3rs) are also Friday night shows, a very weak 18-49 night. Eli Stone and Boston Legal were on the bubble till the last minute, and it's still a mystery to me why 'Til Death survived, rumor was it was so cheap that Fox decided to keep it around.
Even if that 92% threshold changes this season, we'll still be in a good position to see which shows will likely be renewed before others.
And since every post we do about renewal or cancellation ends up becoming a post about Moonlight, perhaps this method will allow those of you folks prone to extreme emotional upset over the cancellation of a television show enough advance warning to get out before it's too late and your hearts are broken
June, 2009 edits: Inspired by our relationship with Nielsen, we are removing older, archived, Nielsen data from the site. The tables below are the same as the one published in August, 2008, except the show and network season to date averages have been removed (and they have been resorted). However, the Renew/Cancel Index which was calculated using the removed numbers is the same as before. For reference, the season average 18-49 viewerships were ABC: 3.71 million, CBS: 3.67 million, NBC: 3.50 million, CW: 1.27 million, and Fox: 4.10 million.
|Programs||Net||Renew/ Cancel index||Fate|
|LIFE IS WILD||CW||0.36||cancelled|
|JUST FOR LAUGHS||ABC||0.47||cancelled|
|MEN IN TREES||ABC||0.53||cancelled|
|WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB||ABC||0.64||cancelled|
|NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY||ABC||0.66||cancelled|
|DEXTER||CBS||0.68||returned to cable|
|BACK TO YOU||FOX||0.70||cancelled|
|FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS||NBC||0.70||survived via DirectTV deal|
|LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT||NBC||0.72||returned to cable|
|ALIENS IN AMERICA||CW||0.73||cancelled|
|WELCOME TO THE CAPTAIN||CBS||0.77||cancelled|
|DIRTY SEXY MONEY||ABC||0.92|
|EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS||CW||0.94|
|KING OF THE HILL||FOX||1.00|
|MY NAME IS EARL||NBC||1.06|
|HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER||CBS||1.09|
|BIG BANG THEORY, THE||CBS||1.10|
|LAW AND ORDER||NBC||1.11|
|WITHOUT A TRACE||CBS||1.16|
|TERMINATOR: SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES||FOX||1.27|
|RULES OF ENGAGEMENT||CBS||1.35|
|BROTHERS & SISTERS||ABC||1.36|
|ONE TREE HILL||CW||1.39|
|LAW AND ORDER:SVU||NBC||1.42|
|FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN||CW||1.45|
|TWO AND A HALF MEN||CBS||1.60|
Unscripted Shows 2007-8 Season
The existing Renew/Cancel Index was much less clear in indicating the future of unscripted shows. It can give only a general indication, there was no bright line you could point to and say "if it only gets there, it'll be renewed". My guess is that it may be due to the fact that some of these shows are just so cheap to produce that almost any result is "good enough" and that they exist to just fill up programming time as cheaply as possible.
|Programs||Net||Renew/ Cancel index||Fate|
|NEXT GREAT AMERICAN BAND||FOX||0.37||cancelled|
|SAT NIGHT FTBL PRE-GAME||ABC||0.45|
|CBS MOVIE SATURDAY||CBS||0.47|
|ABC SAT MOVIE OF THE WEEK||ABC||0.52|
|48 HOURS MYSTERY||CBS||0.59|
|AMW: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK||FOX||0.67|
|FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 2||NBC||0.71|
|SAT NIGHT FOOTBALL||ABC||0.72|
|PRICE IS RIGHT PRIMETIME||CBS||0.74|
|MY DAD IS BETR THN YR DAD||NBC||0.75||cancelled|
|1 VS 100||NBC||0.76||cancelled|
|BIG BROTHER 9-WED||CBS||0.76|
|BEAUTY AND THE GEEK-3||CW||0.78||cancelled|
|DEAL OR NO DEAL-FRI||NBC||0.81|
|SMARTER THAN 5TH GRADER||FOX||0.81|
|BIG BROTHER 9-TUE||CBS||0.82|
|BIG BROTHER 9-SUN||CBS||0.83|
|AMER FUNN HOME VIDEOS||ABC||0.85|
|DON’T FORGET THE LYRICS||FOX||0.90|
|BACHELOR: LONDON CALLING||ABC||0.93|
|DEAL OR NO DEAL-WED||NBC||0.98|
|HERE COME THE NEWLYWEDS||ABC||1.14|
|BIGGEST LOSER 4||NBC||1.22|
|FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 3||NBC||1.24|
|AMAZING RACE 12||CBS||1.26|
|DEAL OR NO DEAL-MON||NBC||1.28|
|BIGGEST LOSER 5||NBC||1.29|
|OPRAH’S BIG GIVE||ABC||1.31||Oprah bailed|
|DANCING W/STARS RESULTS||ABC||1.41|
|BEAUTY AND THE GEEK-2||CW||1.47|
|EXTREME MAKEOVER:HOME ED.||ABC||1.59|
|SUNDAY NIGHT NFL PRE-KICK||NBC||1.59|
|DANCING W/STARS RESULT-TU||ABC||1.67|
|DANCING WITH THE STARS||ABC||1.68|
|DANCING W/THE STARS-MON||ABC||1.87|
|AMERICA’S TOP MODEL-4||CW||1.90|
|MOMENT OF TRUTH||FOX||1.90|
|NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL||NBC||2.37|
|AMERICA’S TOP MODEL-3||CW||2.39|
*Except for Fox. Because American Idol skews their season 18-49 averages so dramatically, yet has no effect on those averages for the fall I used their 18-49 STD average as of Jan 13, the week before Idol began. For the ongoing index for this season, I will use Fox's ongoing STD average until Idol begins in January.
Of course, all of these numbers suffer from the fact that there was a writer's strike last season, but I can only use the numbers that are available.
Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.