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Don't Expect Lipstick Jungle, Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone or Dirty Sexy Money To Be On Mid-Season Schedules

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November 4th, 2008

The Renew or Cancel Index is updated on a weekly basis, if you're reading this after November 11, 2008 click here to see the latest list.

11/13 Update: Some of the 18-49 Network averages originally used in the calculations were incorrect, they have been fixed.

It's getting to be that time of the season when TV networks announce their mid-season January schedules. Don't look for Lipstick Jungle, Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone or Dirty Sexy Money to be on them. Add to those 4 shows *maybe* Life (completely dependent on its future Wednesday results) and You have the 4 or 5 additional shows waiting to get cancelled by mid-season. I think every other show survives past January.

11/6 Update: Life's first broadcast on Wednesday night at 9pm was inconclusive.

11/7 Update: NBC didn't think it was inconclusive and has ordered a full season of Life. I have changed its color code to "Cancel in May".

Recapping last weeks show news: 'Til Death was pulled from the Fox lineup. King of the Hill wasn't renewed by Fox, but there are shows enough to last until sometime in the 2009-10 season. Folks wondered how it could be in the "renewal" zone. It's likely that some non-economic event/terms trumped the advertising revenue implied by its ratings.

Lipstick Jungle moved to Friday, predictably crashed, and the smoking ruin will be swept away soon enough. It still remains to be seen how Life's move to Wednesday goes. It's definitely not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately, Nielsen doesn't seem to be breaking down the season to date numbers for the different day/timeslots. I'll do my best to calculate the Wednesday average for Life separately starting next week.

Kath & Kim was given an order filling its first season of shows. Some fans were surprised that could happen, but shouldn't be. It's an *average* scripted show for NBC, and nobody cancels their average shows.

The Indexes for Fox shows continue to be distorted downward by the World Series which has temporarily boosted Fox's 18-49 average, but that will sort itself out over the coming weeks. No need to panic *yet* for Fox shows with scary low numbers.

I seem to write this every week in the comments, so let me include it up top from now on. Except for the shows in the most danger (at the top of the list), 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. The renewal line last season was 0.92. Could it be 0.86 this season? Possibly. It might also be 0.95. Might it be 0.70? No chance.

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 (LIVE+SD) (000) Network Avg. STD 18-49 Renew/ Cancel index Status
EASY MONEY (1) CW 342 1,380 0.25 cancelled
VALENTINE (1) CW 405 1,380 0.29 cancelled
CRUSOE (2) NBC 1,758 3,620 0.49 13 ep. mini series
DO NOT DISTURB FOX 2,097 3,940 0.53 cancelled
LIFE (2) NBC 2,043 3,620 0.56 moved to Wed
‘TIL DEATH FOX 2,364 3,940 0.60 off schedule
THE EX LIST (2) CBS 2,443 4,050 0.60 cancelled
EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (2) CW 881 1,380 0.64  
LIPSTICK JUNGLE (2) NBC 2,365 3,620 0.65 moved to Fri
PUSHING DAISIES ABC 2,686 4,050 0.66  
ELI STONE ABC 2,701 4,050 0.67  
DIRTY SEXY MONEY ABC 2,761 4,050 0.68  
BOSTON LEGAL ABC 2,830 4,050 0.70 final 13 ep. season
NUMB3RS (2) CBS 2,878 4,050 0.71  
THE NEW ADVS OLD CHRISTINE (3) CBS 2,883 4,050 0.71  
THE GAME (2) CW 992 1,380 0.72  
TERMINATOR: SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES FOX 2,876 3,940 0.73  
GARY UNMARRIED CBS 3,101 4,050 0.77  
PRISON BREAK FOX 3,155 3,940 0.80  
THE UNIT CBS 3,296 4,050 0.81  
GHOST WHISPERER (2) CBS 3,326 4,050 0.82  
KNIGHT RIDER NBC 3,084 3,620 0.85  
PRIVILEGED CW 1,216 1,380 0.88  
WITHOUT A TRACE CBS 3,591 4,050 0.89  
COLD CASE CBS 3,592 4,050 0.89  
UGLY BETTY ABC 3,655 4,050 0.90  
LIFE ON MARS ABC 3,691 4,050 0.91  
LAST SEASON, SHOWS BELOW THIS LINE WERE RENEWED  
CHUCK NBC 3,338 3,620 0.92  
SAMANTHA WHO? ABC 3,752 4,050 0.93  
MY OWN WORST ENEMY NBC 3,411 3,620 0.94  
KATH & KIM NBC 3,411 3,620 0.94  
Private Practice ABC 3,913 4,050 0.97  
MY NAME IS EARL NBC 3,514 3,620 0.97  
ELEVENTH HOUR CBS 4,072 4,050 1.01  
WORST WEEK CBS 4,243 4,050 1.05  
BONES FOX 4,225 3,940 1.07  
The Big Bang Theory CBS 4,562 4,050 1.13  
American Dad FOX 4,499 3,940 1.14  
THE Mentalist CBS 4,717 4,050 1.16  
NCIS CBS 4,772 4,050 1.18  
BROTHERS & SISTERS ABC 4,868 4,050 1.20  
KING OF THE HILL FOX 4,747 3,940 1.20 not renewed
FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 3 NBC 4,451 3,620 1.23  
How I Met Your Mother CBS 5,004 4,050 1.24  
E.R. NBC 4,592 3,620 1.27 final season
Fringe FOX 5,002 3,940 1.27  
CSI: NY CBS 5,159 4,050 1.27  
CSI: MIAMI CBS 5,368 4,050 1.33  
Law And Order:SVU NBC 4,815 3,620 1.33  
Criminal Minds CBS 5,409 4,050 1.34  
Supernatural CW 1,844 1,380 1.34  
30 ROCK NBC 5,458 3,620 1.51  
Gossip Girl CW 2,083 1,380 1.51  
Simpsons FOX 5,998 3,940 1.52  
Family Guy FOX 6,092 3,940 1.55  
90210 CW 2,189 1,380 1.59  
Two and a Half Men CBS 6,461 4,050 1.60  
HEROES NBC 5,804 3,620 1.60  
Smallville CW 2,233 1,380 1.62  
One Tree Hill CW 2,281 1,380 1.65  
HOUSE FOX 6,612 3,940 1.68  
OFFICE NBC 6,129 3,620 1.69  
CSI CBS 7,491 4,050 1.85  
Desperate Housewives ABC 7,949 4,050 1.96  
GREY’S ANATOMY ABC 8,278 4,050 2.04  

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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.

(1) 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.

(2) 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.

(3) New Advs of Old Christine: 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.

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 American Idol 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.

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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 The Closer 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 361 1,380 0.26  
AMERICA’S TOUGHEST JOBS NBC 1,453 3,620 0.40  
WIFE SWAP ABC 1,807 4,050 0.45  
SMARTER THAN 5TH GRADER FOX 1,839 3,940 0.47  
DEAL OR NO DEAL-FRI NBC 1,812 3,620 0.50  
DON’T FORGET THE LYRICS FOX 1,976 3,940 0.50  
SAT NIGHT FTBL PRE-GAME ABC 2,049 4,050 0.51  
48 Hours Mystery CBS 2,100 4,050 0.52  
Supernanny ABC 2,106 4,050 0.52  
COPS FOX 2,055 3,940 0.52  
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS ABC 2,175 4,050 0.54 cancelled
HOLE IN WALL THU-8P FOX 2,184 3,940 0.55  
AMW: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK FOX 2,399 3,940 0.61  
20/20-FRI ABC 2,511 4,050 0.62  
COPS 2 FOX 2,457 3,940 0.62  
FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 2 NBC 2,426 3,620 0.67  
AMER FUNN HOME VIDEOS ABC 2,948 4,050 0.73  
Kitchen Nightmares FOX 2,941 3,940 0.75  
DEAL OR NO DEAL-WED NBC 2,811 3,620 0.78  
SAT NIGHT FOOTBALL ABC 3,588 4,050 0.89  
60 Minutes CBS 3,591 4,050 0.89  
STYLISTA CW 1,294 1,380 0.94  
Amazing Race 13 CBS 4,076 4,050 1.01  
Biggest Loser 6 NBC 4,069 3,620 1.12  
DANCING W/STARS RESULTS ABC 4,868 4,050 1.20  
Extreme Makeover:HM ED-8P ABC 5,022 4,050 1.24  
SURVIVOR: GABON CBS 5,763 4,050 1.42  
Dancing with the Stars ABC 5,868 4,050 1.45  
THE OT FOX 6,123 3,940 1.55  
SUNDAY NIGHT NFL PRE-KICK NBC 5,745 3,620 1.59  
AMERICA’S Top Model CW 2,507 1,380 1.82  
NBC Sunday Night Football NBC 8,479 3,620 2.34  

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All viewership numbers are Live+SD.

 
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