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Fans Await Decisions On Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, Dirty Sexy Money

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November 11th, 2008

The Renew or Cancel Index is updated on a weekly basis, if you're reading this after November 18, 2008 click here to see the latest list.

Three ABC shows, Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money, and NBC's Lipstick Jungle continue to await the final mid-season verdicts from their network masters. A version of ABC's winter schedule that was reportedly given to advertisers has been leaked online showing Eli Stone surviving, but Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money cancelled11/14 Update: Yet another ABC schedule has leaked online, different that the first one, although it's likely both are legitimate and ABC simply keeps shuffling shows. The latest schedule shows Eli Stone surviving, but Pushing DaisiesDirty Sexy Money *and* Life on Mars cancelled,  but there is still no confirmation from ABC as I write this. All other shows seem safe to survive until May.

11/12 Update: My Own Worst Enemy and Lipstick Jungle have both been cancelled by NBC. Lipstick Jungle being cancelled is a surprise to no one, but the My Own Worst Enemy cancellation at mid-season is a surprise to me. Particularly with all the professional reputation capital Ben Silverman at NBC seemed to have riding on the show. It hadn't done well, but it certainly hadn't done dreadfully.

Last week, perhaps liking what it saw in its first Wednesday outing, NBC ordered a full season of Life. Assuming that NBC has given it a clean slate on Wednesday, I am now including only its Wednesday 18-49 season to date average in the calculations for the Index. And because of the order and it's new Index value I have changed its color coding from Cancellation by January to Cancellation by May

The Indexes for Fox shows less distortion this week from the World Series which has temporarily boosted Fox's 18-49 average, that will continue to sort itself out over the coming weeks. No need to panic *yet* for Fox shows with low Index numbers.

Plenty can change before the end of the season, particularly for the shows closest to last season's renewal line of 0.92. 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. Could the renewal line 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  326  1,380 0.24 cancelled
VALENTINE (1) CW  373  1,380 0.27 cancelled
CRUSOE (2) NBC  1,669  3,710 0.45 13 ep mini series
DO NOT DISTURB FOX  2,097  3,820 0.55 cancelled
THE EX LIST (2) CBS  2,443  4,040 0.60 cancelled
LIPSTICK JUNGLE (2) NBC  2,249  3,710 0.61 cancelled
TIL DEATH FOX  2,364  3,820 0.62 off schedule
EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (2) CW  882  1,380 0.64  
PUSHING DAISIES ABC  2,687  4,090 0.66  
ELI STONE ABC  2,711  4,090 0.66  
DIRTY SEXY MONEY ABC  2,740  4,090 0.67  
BOSTON LEGAL ABC  2,763  4,090 0.68 final 13 ep season
OLD CHRISTINE (3) CBS  2,835  4,040 0.70  
THE GAME (2) CW  991  1,380 0.72  
LIFE-WED (4) NBC  2,673  3,710 0.72 now Wed
NUMB3RS (2) CBS  2,985  4,040 0.74  
TERMINATOR: SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES FOX  2,843  3,820 0.74  
GARY UNMARRIED CBS  3,054  4,040 0.76  
Kitchen Nightmares FOX  2,940  3,820 0.77  
Law And Order NBC  2,890  3,710 0.78  
KNIGHT RIDER NBC  2,927  3,710 0.79  
PRISON BREAK (5) FOX  3,116  3,820 0.82  
THE UNIT CBS  3,322  4,040 0.82  
GHOST WHISPERER (2) CBS  3,388  4,040 0.84  
PRIVILEGED CW  1,215  1,380 0.88  
SAMANTHA WHO? ABC  3,625  4,090 0.89  
WITHOUT A TRACE CBS  3,594  4,040 0.89  
UGLY BETTY ABC  3,644  4,090 0.89  
CHUCK NBC  3,347  3,710 0.90  
COLD CASE CBS  3,656  4,040 0.90  
LIFE ON MARS ABC  3,712  4,090 0.91  
KATH & KIM NBC  3,369  3,710 0.91  
LAST SEASON, SHOWS BELOW THIS LINE WERE USUALLY RENEWED        
MY OWN WORST ENEMY NBC  3,416  3,710 0.92  cancelled
MY NAME IS EARL NBC  3,505  3,710 0.94  
Private Practice ABC  3,964  4,090 0.97  
ELEVENTH HOUR CBS  4,070  4,040 1.01  
WORST WEEK CBS  4,106  4,040 1.02  
BONES FOX  4,234  3,820 1.11  
The Big Bang Theory CBS  4,618  4,040 1.14  
American Dad FOX  4,459  3,820 1.17  
THE Mentalist CBS  4,719  4,040 1.17  
NCIS CBS  4,775  4,040 1.18  
BROTHERS & SISTERS ABC  4,865  4,090 1.19  
KING OF THE HILL FOX  4,664  3,820 1.22 not renewed
E.R. NBC  4,543  3,710 1.22 final season
CSI: NY CBS  4,999  4,040 1.24  
How I Met Your Mother CBS  5,063  4,040 1.25  
Law And Order:SVU NBC  4,825  3,710 1.30  
CSI: MIAMI CBS  5,272  4,040 1.30  
Criminal Minds CBS  5,279  4,040 1.31  
Fringe FOX  5,009  3,820 1.31  
Supernatural CW  1,849  1,380 1.34  
30 ROCK NBC  5,330  3,710 1.44  
Gossip Girl CW  2,091  1,380 1.52  
Simpsons FOX  5,811  3,820 1.52  
90210 CW  2,160  1,380 1.57  
Family Guy FOX  5,982  3,820 1.57  
HEROES NBC  5,812  3,710 1.57  
Two and a Half Men CBS  6,410  4,040 1.59  
OFFICE NBC  6,073  3,710 1.64  
One Tree Hill CW  2,267  1,380 1.64  
Smallville CW  2,270  1,380 1.64  
HOUSE FOX  6,618  3,820 1.73  
CSI CBS  7,352  4,040 1.82  
Desperate Housewives ABC  7,930  4,090 1.94  
GREY'S ANATOMY ABC  8,240  4,090 2.01  

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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. BTW, Numb3rs Index was 0.76 last year, so it's almost there.

(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.

(4) Life moved to Wednesday beginning November 5. This is its Wednesday only STD 18-49 average as calculated by me. For past reference, the 4 Life episodes that aired on Fridays averaged 2.043 million adults 18-49.

(5) Prison Break. Evidence that this is the final season for the show is mounting.

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  355  1,380 0.26  
AMERICA'S TOUGHEST JOBS NBC  1,453  3,710 0.39  
WIFE SWAP ABC  1,880  4,090 0.46  
DEAL OR NO DEAL-FRI NBC  1,741  3,710 0.47  
SMARTER THAN 5TH GRADER FOX  1,865  3,820 0.49  
SAT NIGHT FTBL PRE-GAME ABC  2,073  4,090 0.51  
DON'T FORGET THE LYRICS FOX  1,994  3,820 0.52  
Supernanny ABC  2,171  4,090 0.53  
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS ABC  2,175  4,090 0.53 cancelled
48 Hours Mystery CBS  2,181  4,040 0.54  
COPS FOX  2,096  3,820 0.55  
HOLE IN WALL THU-8P FOX  2,184  3,820 0.57  
20/20-FRI ABC  2,559  4,090 0.63  
AMW: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK FOX  2,430  3,820 0.64  
COPS 2 FOX  2,508  3,820 0.66  
FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 2 NBC  2,504  3,710 0.67  
AMER FUNN HOME VIDEOS ABC  2,896  4,090 0.71  
DEAL OR NO DEAL-MON NBC  2,652  3,710 0.71  
DEAL OR NO DEAL-WED NBC  2,811  3,710 0.76  
SAT NIGHT FOOTBALL ABC  3,599  4,090 0.88  
STYLISTA CW  1,253  1,380 0.91  
60 Minutes CBS  3,862  4,040 0.96  
Amazing Race 13 CBS  4,141  4,040 1.03  
Biggest Loser 6 NBC 4,071 3,710 1.10
DANCING W/STARS RESULTS ABC  4,871  4,090 1.19  
FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 3 NBC  4,443  3,710 1.20  
Extreme Makeover:HM ED-8P ABC  4,957  4,090 1.21  
SURVIVOR: GABON CBS  5,670  4,040 1.40  
Dancing with the Stars ABC  5,775  4,090 1.41  
SUNDAY NIGHT NFL PRE-KICK NBC  5,744  3,710 1.55  
THE OT FOX  6,123  3,820 1.60  
AMERICA'S Top Model CW  2,515  1,380 1.82  
NBC Sunday Night Football NBC  8,533  3,710 2.30  

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

 
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