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Life On Mars Crashed Last Week, Beginning of the End?

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February 3rd, 2009

This is a breakdown of ABC 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:

ABC's 'Life on Mars'

Life on Mars returned to ABC's schedule last week and crashed. It fell to a 2.1 rating for adults 18-49 . Last fall it averaged a 2.7 rating. A 2.3 rating puts it on the bubble for getting cancelled (along with Ugly Betty), anything less and it's done for sure.

Our Renew / Cancel index predicts potential renewal for *next* 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
ACCORDING TO JIM-TU 9:30P ABC 2,183 3,520 0.62 final season
ELI STONE ABC 2,264 3,520 0.64 cancelled
PUSHING DAISIES ABC 2,365 3,520 0.67 cancelled
ACCORDING TO JIM-TU 9PM ABC 2,460 3,520 0.70 final season
DIRTY SEXY MONEY ABC 2,549 3,520 0.72 cancelled
BOSTON LEGAL ABC 2,856 3,520 0.81 finished
UGLY BETTY ABC 3,122 3,520 0.89
SCRUBS-TU 9PM ABC 3,271 3,520 0.93 final season
SCRUBS-TU 9:30PM ABC 3,345 3,520 0.95 final season
LIFE ON MARS ABC 3,524 3,520 1.00
SAMANTHA WHO? ABC 3,589 3,520 1.02
Private Practice ABC 3,741 3,520 1.06
BROTHERS & SISTERS ABC 4,677 3,520 1.33
LOST ABC 6,559 3,520 1.86
GREY'S ANATOMY ABC 6,862 3,520 1.95
Desperate Housewives ABC 7,620 3,520 2.16

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(1) After 8 seasons, and recent horrible ratings, but presumably great sydication profits, ABC's According to Jim looks like its prime-time run is coming to an end this season as one of the stars says the stage has been bulldozed. That seems pretty final to me.

(2) Eight seasons is the end for Scrubs as well.

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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