Readers have heard plenty about the grim prospects for Pushing Daisies, but fans of Dirty Sexy Money and Eli Stone should start worrying in earnest. They've both dropped into the extreme danger zone of our Renew / Cancel Index.
The fifth week of our Renew/Cancel Index shows that the list order can still change quickly this early in the season. The boosted Fox's Season to Date adults 18-49 average by over 500,000 (although a lot less than it did last year!). Temporarily, it makes all Fox's other shows look worse in our Index. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles and Prison Break and others *look* like they just took a big tumble, but fans should not jump to conclusions based on this baseball induced distortion. Give Fox's 18-49 average some time to recover back to the mean and then you may begin your worrying again, or not.
Also in the past week, CBS pulled The Ex List from its schedule, tantamount to it being cancelled. Watchers of the Index were not surprised.
NBC announced a move of Life to Wednesday. That's a sign it's being given a chance. I originally thought the move made it immune from mid-season cancellation, but now I want to wait and see its Wednesday numbers before thinking it will stick around for a whole season. Lipstick Jungle will move to Friday. It's being given up for dead. Both have been in the Index's danger zone from their premiere.
CW's Privileged slipped into the danger zone, and is moving in the wrong direction, but the carnage on Friday and Sunday for the network could cut its other shows a lot of slack this season.
The New Adventures of Old Christine seems to be making a small move for the good, but it's got a long way to go to safety. Update: I am chided on a weekly basis for not disclaiming the situation for Christine in the Index. Perhaps CBS is willing to accept low numbers in its new timeslot indefinitely to build a new "comedy block". Perhaps CBS will return Christine to the warmth and safety of Monday night and cut Worst Week or Gary Unmarried loose. And perhaps not.
Update: In response to astute commenter Lulla: Plenty can change before the end of the season. The list is presented in a (and has to be, since I cannot predict future ratings) “what would happen if the season ended today” mode. Also, the renewal line last season was 0.92. Could it be 0.86 this season? Possibly. Might it be 0.70? No chance.
10/30 Update: Fox has pulled 'Til Death from its lineup for a minimum of two weeks. I have changed its status to Cancellation in January because of the news even though it reportedly has an order for a full season of shows.
While the Renew / Cancel index is most geared toward predicting potential renewal for *next* season, my color coding of the shows are guesses on what might happen this season: Cancellation by January, Cancellation by May, or Renewal Likely for 2009-10.
|PROGRAM||Net||STD 18-49 (000)||Network Avg. STD 18-49 (000)||Renew/ Cancel index||Status|
|DO NOT DISTURB||FOX||2,097||3,830||0.55||cancelled|
|CRUSOE**||NBC||1,996||3,610||0.55||13 ep. mini-series|
|LIFE**||NBC||2,037||3,610||0.56||moving to Wed|
|THE EX LIST**||CBS||2,443||4,120||0.59||pulled from schedule|
|TIL DEATH||FOX||2,364||3,830||0.62||pulled from schedule|
|EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS**||CW||923||1,380||0.67|
|DIRTY SEXY MONEY||ABC||2,797||4,040||0.69|
|NEW ADVS OF OLD CHRISTINE||CBS||2,861||4,120||0.69|
|BOSTON LEGAL||ABC||2,836||4,040||0.70||final 13 ep. season|
|LIPSTICK JUNGLE||NBC||2,639||3,610||0.73||moving to Fri|
|TERMINATOR: SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES||FOX||2,876||3,830||0.75|
|WITHOUT A TRACE||CBS||3,530||4,120||0.86|
|RENEWAL LIKELY BELOW THIS LINE|
|LIFE ON MARS||ABC||3,786||4,040||0.94|
|KATH & KIM||NBC||3,503||3,610||0.97|
|MY NAME IS EARL||NBC||3,554||3,610||0.98|
|MY OWN WORST ENEMY||NBC||3,578||3,610||0.99|
|KING OF THE HILL||FOX||4,471||3,830||1.17||not renewed, final show in 2009-10 season|
|BROTHERS & SISTERS||ABC||4,950||4,040||1.23|
The Renew/Cancel Index is a show's Season To Date adults 18-49 viewership divided by its networks Season to Date average 18-49 viewership. Note: Only shows that have premiered during the 2008-9 broadcast season are on this list.
*CW MRC Sunday - The CW has leased its entire Sunday night to Media Rights Capital (MRC). Easy Money and Valentine have been cancelled. It is reported that MRC has the right (obligation?) to program Sunday nights throughout 2008-9 on the CW. What will they do next? Stay tuned.
**Friday night - Friday is quickly becoming an 18-49 wasteland, so these shows may be allowed a lower threshold for success than shows on other nights. My grading technique on shows with histories on Friday (only Numb3rs and Ghost Whisperer) is that until they reach their Index values from last season they still are at risk of non-renewal.
How did we come up with our list? We found that last season, the future of a show was nearly directly related to its adults 18-49 average viewers divided by its networks 18-49 average viewers. Many other factors may matter, but they all seemed to boil down to that one number. Because so skewed Fox's 18-49 average, and would make nearly all Fox shows fall into the "cancel" range, for Fox, I used the last STD 18-49 average *before* Idol. Last season, if a show had better than 92% of its network's average 18-49 viewership (0.92 in our index) it was pretty safe, below that level it was in danger. We're not sure what the magic number will be this season, but I'm very confident that our index will still indicate the shows most likely to be cancelled compared to those less likely to be cancelled.
For unscripted shows, the results from last season were far less cut and dried. A similar relationship did seem to hold between 18-49 averages, but some unscripted shows survived with very low numbers. My conclusion was that some unscripted shows must be so cheap that they are expected to do little more than fill air time and produce little in the way of viewership. However a show is to the top of the list the more danger it's in of being cancelled or not returning when it's run is completed. Other shows can be judged by their relative position on our list ranked from most likely to be cancelled to least likely to be cancelled.
|PROGRAM||Net||STD 18-49 (LIVE+SD) (000)||Network Avg. STD 18-49||Renew/ Cancel index||Status|
|IN HARM'S WAY*||CW||371||1,380||0.27|
|AMERICA'S TOUGHEST JOBS||NBC||1,453||3,610||0.40|
|SAT NIGHT FTBL PRE-GAME||ABC||1,982||4,040||0.49|
|SMARTER THAN 5TH GRADER||FOX||1,912||3,830||0.50|
|DON'T FORGET THE LYRICS||FOX||2,024||3,830||0.53|
|DEAL OR NO DEAL-FRI**||NBC||2,004||3,610||0.56|
|HOLE IN WALL THU-8P||FOX||2,183||3,830||0.57|
|AMW: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK||FOX||2,388||3,830||0.62|
|FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 2||NBC||2,444||3,610||0.68|
|DEAL OR NO DEAL-WED||NBC||2,532||3,610||0.70|
|AMER FUNN HOME VIDEOS||ABC||2,974||4,040||0.74|
|SAT NIGHT FOOTBALL||ABC||3,229||4,040||0.80|
|DANCING W/STARS RESULTS||ABC||4,770||4,040||1.18|
|FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 3||NBC||4,511||3,610||1.25|
|SUNDAY NIGHT NFL PRE-KICK||NBC||5,772||3,610||1.60|
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All viewership numbers are Live+SD.