This week, while Bill is away there is no formal index, but I have been doing summary recaps of what is going on with scripted shows at the various networks. Chuck is still in doubt on NBC, but while many have some doubts about what will happen with ABC's Cupid and Castle, I don't.
Today, let's look at the scripted show situation at FOX. First, here's a list of FOX shows that have already been renewed or cancelled:
|Network||Already Canceled||Already Renewed|
|FOX||Do Not Disturb||Til Death|
|FOX||Prison Break (ending)||The Simpsons|
|FOX||King of the Hill (ending)*||24|
*While FOX has announced its plans to end King of the Hill's run, if memory serves the final episodes will actually air in the fall of 2009. A couple of other notes on this table:
While I don't recall seeing a formal announcement about Family Guy's renewal, FOX did do a nine figure deal with Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane through 2012. Family Guy is a demo beast, especially with adults 18-34 and I'm counting it as already being renewed.
Similarly, I haven't seen a formal announcement for House, but it's FOX's highest rated scripted show, there's no way it's not coming back. It's an NBC Universal produced show and NBC would pick it up in 2 seconds if FOX didn't. And I think you can look at Hugh Laurie signing a deal that makes him about $9 million a year (or $400,000) an episode through the 2011-2012 season to mean House has already been renewed for the next two upcoming seasons.
OK, now onto the shows with less formal statuses:
|Network||Won't be renewed||Will be renewed||Not Sure Yet|
|FOX||Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles||American Dad||Sit Down, Shut Up|
|FOX||Lie to Me|
Please note, these are only predictions, and not based on any formal announcements. But, they aren't predictions based on show quality or my mood, or pulled completely out of the air. They are based on numbers and other available data. But as you can see there is much less uncertainty (at least for me) with FOX's shows when compared to NBC's and ABC's.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
You think it's about web traffic to say for more than six months that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles wouldn't be back next year? No. It's not about traffic. It's about its ratings numbers. Crap like this is about getting traffic. Oh yeah, huge, huge scoop there. Anyway...
You can think whatever you want when it comes to shows quality numbers, but when it comes to ratings numbers you should know that no matter what else you may think, if it's a one hour scripted drama and the ratings numbers are really, really low relative to the network's averages - the show isn't coming back.
I'm not talking about shows with merely mediocre numbers when compared to networks averages. I'm talking about shows that are really, really low compared to network averages. The upcoming Terminator movie won't matter. That it was on Friday night won't matter. That it was pulling anemic 1.3 adult 18-49 ratings matters. It won't be back.
I really enjoyed Friday night's episode, but Dollhouse won't be coming back either. While I'm not quite as certain about that as I am with TSCC, it's merely a matter of degree. Yes, a 1.4 adults 18-49 rating is better than a 1.3. Sadly, neither rating is any good.
You'll note that while with ABC and NBC there were columns for "Not Sure Yet", in order to have such a column for FOX, I had to add The Cleveland Show Sit Down, Shut Up, which hasn't even aired yet! I suppose American Dad could've been added to that column simply because I am not very familiar with what's going on with it. But its numbers are strong enough that based on the numbers, it seems very likely to be renewed.
Some of the commenters in the Tuesday night overnight post said Yahoo was running a story on shows that could be in trouble for renewal and listed Fringe. I didn't see the story, and on a quick look couldn't find it, but there is NO WAY Fringe doesn't come back. Talk all you want about how Fringe's numbers wouldn't be as good if not for the American Idol lead-in, but when I look at the numbers for the second half hour of Fringe, they are damn decent. Does Fringe benefit from Idol? There's no doubt it does, but so what? There's also no doubt it will be back next year.
Though for FOX, Bones is merely a slightly better-than-average performer with 18-49s, FOX has moved the show around a lot, and is trying to use it to build out a decent Thursday night. Given its performance, it is very likely to return. Is it as certain to be renewed as TSCC is to be canceled? No. But very few things in life are that certain.
Lie to Me
Lie to Me did great with an American Idol lead-in, and it has done somewhere between OK to very good without it. Because it had its lowest numbers last Wednesday at 8pm, some fans may be worried. I probably wouldn't have it in the "Not Sure Yet" column even factoring that in, but when I factor in that FOX has already announced plans to air repeats of Lie to Me over the summer, I'm pretty sure it will be back. Could Lie to Me completely tank in its remaining airings and change FOX's viewpoint? Sure, but that doesn't seem likely to happen.