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Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, Dirty Sexy Money, Lipstick Jungle Are Final Mid-Season Casualties

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November 25th, 2008

The Renew or Cancel Index is updated on a weekly basis, if you're reading this after December 2, 2008 click here to see the latest list.

The dust has now settled on the mid-season changes for the broadcast networks after the announcements last week that Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, Dirty Sexy Money and Lipstick Jungle are all cancelled after their episodes run out in mid-season.

With the mid-season changes behind us, this seemed like a good week to recap the results of the Renew / Cancel Index.

Except for My Own Worst Enemy, the Index called every mid-season show cancellation this fall well in advance:

The mid-season cancellation warnings by the Index had five false positives, shows that were identified as being in danger at some point that survived past mid-season:

  • Life
  • Knight Rider
  • The New Adventures of Old Christine
  • Everybody Hates Chris
  • Gary Unmarried

Starting this week, I'm going to begin taking into account the 18-49 ratings trends for the shows near last season's Renew / Cancel line of 0.92 in projecting their fate at the end of this season. For example, while Cold Case and Without a Trace have Indexes below 0.92, their trends are positive and I think, on that basis, renewal is likely for both. If you see shows now indicating green that have Indexes below 0.92, it's because their 18-49 trend has been positive.

I'm going to stop mentioning the past distortion for Fox show Indexes from the World Series which temporarily boosted Fox's network 18-49 average. The Fox 18-49 average is now something close to it's non-World Series number and the Fox show Indexes can be evaluated reasonably now.

The meaning of the color coding has changed slightly. The dark red color now means simply Cancelled/Not Returning, instead of predicted Cancellation in January.

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: Cancelled/Not Returning, Cancellation by May, or Renewal Likely for 2009-10.

Unfortunately, the initial chart contained the weekly 18-49 averages for the networks and not their season to date averages. The chart has been corrected, but I will not be redoing the color coding for it.


PROGRAM Net STD 18-49 (LIVE+SD) (000) Network Avg. STD 18-49 Renew/ Cancel index Status
EASY MONEY CW  288  1,370 0.21 cancelled
VALENTINE CW  345  1,370 0.25 cancelled
CRUSOE NBC  1,543  3,700 0.42 now Sat
DO NOT DISTURB FOX  2,097  3,810 0.55 cancelled
LIPSTICK JUNGLE NBC  2,121  3,700 0.57 cancelled
THE EX-LIST CBS  2,443  4,080 0.60 cancelled
TIL DEATH FOX  2,364  3,810 0.62 off sched
ELI STONE ABC  2,545  4,100 0.62 cancelled
PUSHING DAISIES ABC  2,624  4,100 0.64 cancelled
DIRTY SEXY MONEY ABC  2,658  4,100 0.65 cancelled
EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS CW  890  1,370 0.65  
LIFE - WED ONLY NBC  2,461  3,700 0.67 now Wed
BOSTON LEGAL ABC  2,790  4,100 0.68 final seaon
NEW ADVS OF OLD CHRISTINE CBS  2,855  4,080 0.70  
THE GAME CW  987  1,370 0.72  
KNIGHT RIDER NBC  2,692  3,700 0.73  
TERMINATOR: SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES FOX  2,795  3,810 0.73  
NUMB3RS CBS  2,994  4,080 0.73  
GARY UNMARRIED CBS  3,080  4,080 0.75  
Law And Order NBC  2,893  3,700 0.78  
PRISON BREAK FOX  3,079  3,810 0.81  
MY OWN WORST ENEMY NBC  3,014  3,700 0.81 cancelled
THE UNIT CBS  3,344  4,080 0.82  
GHOST WHISPERER CBS  3,468  4,080 0.85  
UGLY BETTY ABC  3,575  4,100 0.87  
KATH & KIM NBC  3,239  3,700 0.88  
PRIVILEGED CW  1,201  1,370 0.88  
WITHOUT A TRACE CBS  3,580  4,080 0.88  
LIFE ON MARS ABC  3,616  4,100 0.88  
COLD CASE CBS  3,633  4,080 0.89  
SAMANTHA WHO? ABC  3,682  4,100 0.90  
CHUCK NBC  3,343  3,700 0.90  
Last Season Shows Below This Line Were Typically Renewed    
Private Practice ABC  3,843  4,100 0.94  
MY NAME IS EARL NBC  3,523  3,700 0.95  
ELEVENTH HOUR CBS  4,011  4,080 0.98  
WORST WEEK CBS  4,069  4,080 1.00  
BONES FOX  4,266  3,810 1.12  
The Big Bang Theory CBS  4,713  4,080 1.16  
American Dad FOX  4,420  3,810 1.16  
THE Mentalist CBS  4,778  4,080 1.17  
NCIS CBS  4,814  4,080 1.18  
BROTHERS & SISTERS ABC  4,858  4,100 1.18  
CSI: NY CBS  4,879  4,080 1.20  
KING OF THE HILL FOX  4,601  3,810 1.21 not renewed
E.R. NBC  4,588  3,700 1.24 final season?
How I Met Your Mother CBS  5,192  4,080 1.27  
CSI: MIAMI CBS  5,269  4,080 1.29  
Criminal Minds CBS  5,288  4,080 1.30  
Law And Order:SVU NBC  4,836  3,700 1.31  
Fringe FOX  5,046  3,810 1.32  
Supernatural CW  1,825  1,370 1.33  
30 ROCK NBC  4,992  3,700 1.35  
Simpsons FOX  5,691  3,810 1.49  
HEROES NBC  5,577  3,700 1.51  
Gossip Girl CW  2,065  1,370 1.51  
Family Guy FOX  5,906  3,810 1.55  
90210 CW  2,132  1,370 1.56  
Two and a Half Men CBS  6,480  4,080 1.59  
One Tree Hill CW  2,204  1,370 1.61  
OFFICE NBC  5,955  3,700 1.61  
Smallville CW  2,230  1,370 1.63  
CSI CBS  7,159  4,080 1.75  
HOUSE FOX  6,784  3,810 1.78  
Desperate Housewives ABC  7,969  4,100 1.94  
GREY'S ANATOMY ABC  8,174  4,100 1.99  

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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.

(1) CW MRC Sunday - The CW leased its entire Sunday night to Media Rights Capital (MRC). 11/20 Update: That experiment is now at an end, the MRC shows will air for the final time on 11/23/08 and the CW will begin airing repeats and movies starting on 11/30/08.

(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.

(3) New Adventures 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.

How did we come up with our Index? 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.

Remember that plenty can change before the end of the season, particularly for the shows with indexes between 0.80 and 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.

And for folks thinking "No way would the networks cancel all of those shows", there were 25 scripted shows cancelled in the 2007-8 season. That is, shows that ran during 2007-8 that did not come back for 2008-9. These same networks cancelled at least 30 scripted shows that aired during 2006-7, although that's just from a quick look at that season to date list that could suffer from a number of possible errors on my part, but the magnitude of shows cancelled was similar.

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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.
Unfortunately, the initial chart contained the weekly 18-49 averages for the networks and not their season to date averages. The chart has been corrected, but I will not be redoing the color coding for it.


PROGRAM Net STD 18-49 (LIVE+SD) (000) Network Avg. STD 18-49 Renew/ Cancel index Status
IN HARM'S WAY CW  355  1,370 0.26 cancelled
AMERICA'S TOUGHEST JOBS NBC  1,453  3,700 0.39  
DEAL OR NO DEAL-FRI NBC  1,699  3,700 0.46  
WIFE SWAP ABC  1,929  4,100 0.47  
SMARTER THAN 5TH GRADER FOX  1,830  3,810 0.48  
SAT NIGHT FTBL PRE-GAME ABC  2,050  4,100 0.50  
Supernanny ABC  2,162  4,100 0.53  
DON'T FORGET THE LYRICS FOX  2,017  3,810 0.53  
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS ABC  2,175  4,100 0.53 cancelled
48 Hours Mystery CBS  2,199  4,080 0.54  
COPS FOX  2,156  3,810 0.57  
HOLE IN WALL THU-8P FOX  2,184  3,810 0.57  
20/20-FRI ABC  2,649  4,100 0.65  
AMW: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK FOX  2,465  3,810 0.65  
COPS 2 FOX  2,549  3,810 0.67  
FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 2 NBC  2,499  3,700 0.68  
AMER FUNN HOME VIDEOS ABC  2,896  4,100 0.71  
Kitchen Nightmares FOX  2,902  3,810 0.76  
SAT NIGHT FOOTBALL ABC  3,526  4,100 0.86  
STYLISTA CW  1,244  1,370 0.91  
Amazing Race 13 CBS  4,130  4,080 1.01  
60 Minutes CBS  4,329  4,080 1.06  
Biggest Loser 6 NBC  4,152  3,700 1.12  
FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 3 NBC  4,370  3,700 1.18  
Extreme Makeover:HM ED-8P ABC  4,914  4,100 1.20  
DANCING W/STARS RESULTS ABC  4,920  4,100 1.20  
SURVIVOR: GABON CBS  5,599  4,080 1.37  
Dancing with the Stars ABC  5,749  4,100 1.40  
SUNDAY NIGHT NFL PRE-KICK NBC  5,676  3,700 1.53  
THE OT FOX  6,110  3,810 1.60  
AMERICA'S Top Model CW  2,562  1,370 1.87  
NBC Sunday Night Football NBC  8,532  3,700 2.31  

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

 
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