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Harper's Island: One and Done

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April 21st, 2009

After being gone last week, there’s a lot to catch up on, and a change in the numbers in the tables. Instead of using the 18-49 viewership for the calculations, I’m going to instead use the 18-49 rating, which simply is the percentage of the US 18-49 TV adults population. (There are an estimated 132 million US adults 18-49 in TV households, so a 1.0 rating is equal to 1.32 million adults 18-49). Since we only get 18-49 demo ratings for each show on an overnight basis, that makes the values in the Renew/Cancel Index easier to compare with the overnight demo ratings results.

Newcomer Harper's Island was advertised as a 13 episode limited run series that could return in another incarnation if the results were good. They aren't. It's going to be canceled. After its 13 episode run, it's done.

CBS has few shows doing terribly. Still, they will cancel some shows just to give themselves fresh spots in the schedule next season. That  leaves a big basket of shows in danger  (The New Adventures of Old Christine, Gary Unmarried, The Unit, Cold Case, Without A Trace, Worst Week).

The Friday shows (Flashpoint, Ghost Whisperer, Numb3rs)  all have low Indexes, but lower expectations (or costs) as well, they look safe.

Here's some past quotes to think about; CBS Chief Les Moonves says “CBS Only Has Room For 3 or 4 New Shows Next Season”, and Entertainment President Nina Tassler says about the Wednesday comedy block “We’ve improved the time period, so it’s something we’d like to stick with.” as well as CBS doing a bit of public negotiating to knock down the prices on Cold Case and Without A Trace.

This is a breakdown of CBS scripted shows and their renewal and cancelation prospects.  Here are the others:

Our Renew / Cancel index predicts potential renewal for *next* season: Canceled/Not Returning, In Danger, or Renewal Likely for 2009-10, Renewal Announced.


PROGRAM Net STD 18-49 Rating (LIVE+SD) Network Avg. STD 18-49 rating Renew/ Cancel index Status
FLASHPOINT CBS 1.9 2.9 0.66
THE EX LIST CBS 1.9 2.9 0.66 canceled
OLD CHRISTINE CBS 2.0 2.9 0.69
GARY UNMARRIED CBS 2.2 2.9 0.76
NUMB3RS CBS 2.2 2.9 0.76
UNIT, THE CBS 2.3 2.9 0.79
GHOST WHISPERER CBS 2.4 2.9 0.83
HARPER'S ISLAND CBS 2.4 2.9 0.83
COLD CASE CBS 2.6 2.9 0.90
WITHOUT A TRACE CBS 2.7 2.9 0.93
ELEVENTH HOUR CBS 2.8 2.9 0.97
WORST WEEK CBS 2.9 2.9 1.00
CSI: NY CBS 3.2 2.9 1.10
NCIS CBS 3.4 2.9 1.17
Big Bang Theory CBS 3.5 2.9 1.21
Mentalist CBS 3.5 2.9 1.21
Criminal Minds CBS 3.5 2.9 1.21
How I Met Your Mother CBS 3.7 2.9 1.28
CSI: MIAMI CBS 3.7 2.9 1.28
Rules of Engagement CBS 3.8 2.9 1.31
CSI CBS 4.7 2.9 1.62
Two and a Half Men CBS 4.7 2.9 1.62

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Notes:

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.

The New Adventures of Old Christine: CBS has tried to create a second "comedy block" this season on Wednesday by moving 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?

Worst Week got the best slot in CBS's lineup for a new comedy, but has performed just below 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.

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: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All viewership numbers are Live+SD.

 
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