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NBC's Friday Night Lights Returns, Better Hope For More DirectTV Money

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January 21st, 2009

This is a breakdown of NBC scripted shows and their renewal and cancellation prospects. For the main post click here.

Friday Night Lights returned after airing its season initially on DirectTV. The show's fans better hope that DirectTV takes out its checkbook again if they want to see it back next season, otherwise, game over!

Last week NBC execs said that many of their poorly performing shows that are either off the schedule (Lipstick Jungle) or limping to early spring exits (Knight Rider, Kath & Kim) might be back next year "depending on how the pilots go". Believe that and I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you!

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, Not Likely To Be Renewed, or Renewal Likely for 2009-10.


PROGRAM Net STD 18-49 (LIVE+SD) (000) Network Avg. STD 18-49 Renew/ Cancel index Status
CRUSOE NBC 1,236 3,520 0.35 finishing Sat
LIPSTICK JUNGLE NBC 1,968 3,520 0.56 cancelled
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS* NBC 2,074 3,520 0.59
LIFE - WED (1) NBC 2,553 3,520 0.73
KNIGHT RIDER NBC 2,593 3,520 0.74
MY OWN WORST ENEMY NBC 2,636 3,520 0.75 cancelled
KATH & KIM NBC 3,031 3,520 0.86
Law And Order NBC 3,041 3,520 0.86
CHUCK NBC 3,348 3,520 0.95
MY NAME IS EARL NBC 3,376 3,520 0.96
E.R. NBC 4,376 3,520 1.24 final season
30 ROCK NBC 4,410 3,520 1.25
Law And Order:SVU NBC 4,567 3,520 1.30
HEROES NBC 5,343 3,520 1.52
OFFICE NBC 5,513 3,520 1.57

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Indexes for the other networks:

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.

*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. I honestly have no idea what criteria the CW will use in keeping or not keeping Everybody Hates Chris and The Game. Because of that, and the recent renewals at other networks of poor rated comedies, I'm indicating renewal for them.

(1) 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.

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

 
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