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CBS' Bubble Is Packed With Shows: Old Christine, Gary Unmarried, The Unit And More

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April 28th, 2009

Newcomer Harper's Island has been exiled to Saturday night by CBS. There will be no more 13 episode cycles as there might have been if the ratings were good.

Of the CBS shows on the "bubble"  (The New Adventures of Old Christine, Gary Unmarried, The Unit, Cold Case, Without A Trace, Worst Week, Eleventh Hour) it's a bit tricky to try and separate them into more or less likely to be renewed because so much depends on numbers we don't see. How much are the producers asking for Without A Trace and Cold Case? What is the minimum rating that CBS will tolerate from its terribly performing Old Christine, Gary Unmarried Wednesday comedy block?

If I had to separate them today, I'd guess The New Adventures of Old Christine, Gary Unmarried,  Without A Trace, and Eleventh Hour get renewed and The Unit, Cold Case and Worst Week get canceled, but Les Moonves keeps dodging my calls.

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
THE EX-LIST CBS 1.9  2.9 0.66  canceled
FLASHPOINT CBS 1.9  2.9 0.66  
OLD CHRISTINE CBS 2.0  2.9 0.69  
NUMB3RS CBS 2.1  2.9 0.72  
GARY UNMARRIED CBS 2.2  2.9 0.76  
HARPER'S ISLAND CBS 2.2  2.9 0.76  
THE UNIT CBS 2.3  2.9 0.79  
GHOST WHISPERER 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  
Criminal Minds CBS 3.4  2.9 1.17  
NCIS CBS 3.4  2.9 1.17  
The Big Bang Theory CBS 3.5  2.9 1.21  
THE Mentalist CBS 3.5  2.9 1.21  
How I Met Your Mother CBS 3.6  2.9 1.24  
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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