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CBS's Old Christine, Gary Unmarried, Worst Week Fight To Survive

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January 30th, 2009

This is a breakdown of CBS scripted shows and their renewal and cancellation prospects. For the main post containing unscripted shows click here.  For the Renew/Cancel Indexes for the other networks click these links:

Until CBS's new shows start this spring, the current questions hanging over its schedule are which of its three struggling comedies (The New Adventures of Old Christine, Gary Unmarried, and Worst Week) will be cancelled. Newcomer Worst Week got the best slot in CBS's lineup for a new comedy, but has barely performed above average for the net. Reports are that CBS expected much more in that prime timeslot and that Worst Week will not be coming back next season.

I've heard directly from a lot of fans of The Unit asking about their show's prospects. Sadly, I've had to tell them they don't look good. A unlikely recovery now that Sunday Night Football is over seems like its only hope.

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
THE EX LIST CBS  2,443  3,960 0.62 cancelled
NEW ADVS OF OLD CHRISTINE (1) CBS  2,808  3,960 0.71  
FLASHPOINT* CBS  2,994  3,960 0.76  
GARY UNMARRIED CBS  3,016  3,960 0.76  
NUMB3RS* CBS  3,045  3,960 0.77  
THE UNIT CBS  3,193  3,960 0.81  
GHOST WHISPERER* CBS  3,441  3,960 0.87  
WITHOUT A TRACE CBS  3,518  3,960 0.89  
COLD CASE CBS  3,544  3,960 0.89  
ELEVENTH HOUR CBS  3,888  3,960 0.98  
WORST WEEK CBS  3,903  3,960 0.99  
The Big Bang Theory CBS  4,588  3,960 1.16  
NCIS CBS  4,592  3,960 1.16  
CSI: NY CBS  4,671  3,960 1.18  
THE Mentalist CBS  4,830  3,960 1.22  
CSI: MIAMI CBS  4,866  3,960 1.23  
How I Met Your Mother CBS  5,019  3,960 1.27  
Criminal Minds CBS  5,072  3,960 1.28  
Two and a Half Men CBS  6,299  3,960 1.59  
CSI CBS  6,669  3,960 1.68  

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*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.

(1) CBS has tried to create a second "comedy block" this season on Wednesday by moving The New Adventures of Old Christine from Monday and slotting freshman Gary Unmarried. Both have been among CBS's worst scripted performers, but will Christine be given the benefit of the doubt?

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.

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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