Final Renewals & Cancellations For The 2008-9 TV Season

Categories: Cancel/Renew Index

Written By

May 27th, 2009

This is the final Renew or Cancel Index for the 2008-9 Broadcast TV Season (September 08 - May 09). The Index will return again to predict the fate of your favorite broadcast scripted shows in September, 2009.

The results, as they say, are in. The end of the 2008-9 broadcast TV season has left its typical trail of canceled shows, but also some surprises in the shows that were renewed for next season. Along with the final numbers for the season, I'll propose some caveats that I'll apply to my predictions next season.

For the 2007-8 season, the Renew/Cancel Index line fell quite dramatically at 0.92.  The future of a show was nearly directly related to its adults 18-49 average viewers divided by its networks 18-49 average viewers. 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.

For this season (2008-9) the results were far less clear. Many shows that were renewed fell far below an Index of 0.92, The New Adventures of Old Christine (a Wednesday show) was renewed with an Index of 0.67. Dollhouse (on Friday) was renewed with an Index of 0.56.  Likewise, some shows with Indexes well above last year's line were canceled: My Name is Earl (1.05), Reaper (1.14), Worst Week (1.00). The strategy of culling your low performing shows to try and raise your ratings average results took a back seat to other factors this season.

Reasons shows were renewed when they fell far below the "Renew/Cancel Index" line:

1. Friday time slot: Less is expected from shows on Fridays.

Dollhouse (see also #4), Numb3rs, Ghost Whisperer.

2. Syndication economics: Either the producer is willing to accept a cheap deal to achieve enough episodes for syndication, or a production company/network corporate pair is willing to accept lower ratings/advertising revenues in exchange for future syndication profits. Seems to apply only to comedies?

'Til Death, Scrubs, Ugly Betty, New Adventures of Old Christine

3. Subsidy from a 3rd Party

Friday Night Lights (DirecTV), Flashpoint (CTV)

4. No systematic explanation

Gary Unmarried. Did CBS want to keep the same 2 comedies trying for the elusive second comedy block?

Better Off Ted. Did the 6 episodes already paid for factor into the cost factor for next season?

Dollhouse. It's not just Friday at work here. Rumor is that the budget is being cut to reality show levels.

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Reasons shows were canceled when they fell far above the "Renew/Cancel Index" line:

1. Plum time slot, Average ratings: retentionistas revenge? That will have to wait for another post ;)

Worst Week, Eleventh Hour, Surviving Suburbia, Samantha Who?

2. The Jay Leno Show Time Grab (unlikely to be repeated)

My Name is Earl, Medium (although picked up by CBS), maybe Kath & Kim

3. Wrong Show On the Wrong Network (unlikely to be repeated)

Reaper

4. Producer fatigue?

King Of The Hill. Producer fatigue is the conventional wisdom, and I admit, I've got nothing else. ;)

With that, here is the final Renew/Cancel Index list for the 2008-9 broadcast TV season.

June, 2009 edits: Inspired by our relationship with Nielsen, we are removing older, archived, Nielsen data from the site. The tables below are the same as the one published in May, 2009, except the show and network season to date adults 18-49 ratings have been removed. However, the Renew/Cancel Index which was calculated using the removed numbers is the same as before. For reference, the season average 18-49 ratings were ABC: 2.64, CBS: 2.88, NBC: 2.25, CW: 0.78, and Fox: 2.67.

Canceled/Not ReturningRenewed, Both.

PROGRAM Net

Renew/ Cancel index
EASY MONEY CW 0.25
JERICHO CW

0.38
VALENTINE CW

0.38
CRUSOE NBC 0.40
TERMINATOR: SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES FOX 0.47
SIT DOWN SHUT UP FOX

0.52
KINGS NBC 0.53
DOLLHOUSE FOX 0.56
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS NBC 0.58
DO NOT DISTURB FOX

0.60
IN THE MOTHERHOOD ABC 0.61
ACCORDING TO JIM-TU 9:30P ABC

0.64
CUPID ABC

0.64
ELI STONE ABC

0.64
UNUSUALS, THE ABC 0.64
EX LIST, THE CBS 0.66
FLASHPOINT CBS

0.66
LIPSTICK JUNGLE NBC 0.67
TIL DEATH FOX

0.67
BETTER OFF TED ABC

0.68
PUSHING DAISIES ABC

0.68
OLD CHRISTINE CBS

0.70
PRISON BREAK FOX 0.71
DIRTY SEXY MONEY ABC 0.72
SCRUBS-WED 8PM ABC

0.72
LIFE (WED) NBC

0.73
GARY UNMARRIED CBS

0.73
NUMB3RS CBS 0.73
HARPER'S ISLAND CBS

0.76
EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS CW

0.76
UNIT, THE CBS 0.80
KNIGHT RIDER NBC

0.80
BOSTON LEGAL ABC

0.83
LIFE ON MARS ABC

0.83
GHOST WHISPERER CBS 0.83
UGLY BETTY ABC 0.87
MY OWN WORST ENEMY NBC 0.89
GAME, THE CW

0.89
PRIVILEGED CW 0.89
COLD CASE CBS 0.90
Castle ABC

0.91
SAMANTHA WHO? ABC

0.91
KATH & KIM NBC

0.93
Law And Order NBC 0.93
WITHOUT A TRACE CBS 0.94
ELEVENTH HOUR CBS

0.97
SURVIVING SUBURBIA (limbo) ABC

0.98
WORST WEEK CBS

1.01
American Dad FOX

1.01
KING OF THE HILL FOX

1.01
CHUCK NBC

1.07
MEDIUM NBC

1.07
MY NAME IS EARL NBC 1.07
PARKS AND RECREATION NBC 1.07
Southland NBC 1.07
BONES FOX 1.08
Private Practice ABC

1.10
CSI: NY CBS

1.11
REAPER CW

1.15
Simpsons FOX 1.16
Criminal Minds CBS 1.18
NCIS CBS 1.18
Big Bang Theory, THE CBS 1.22
Mentalist, THE CBS

1.22
How I Met Your Mother CBS 1.25
Lie To Me FOX

1.27
CSI: MIAMI CBS 1.29
BROTHERS & SISTERS ABC

1.29
Family Guy FOX 1.31
24 FOX

1.35
Fringe FOX 1.35
Rules of Engagement CBS

1.36
90210 CW 1.40
Gossip Girl CW 1.40
One Tree Hill CW

1.40
30 ROCK NBC 1.42
Law And Order:SVU NBC 1.47
E.R. NBC 1.51
BACHELOR, THE ABC 1.51
Supernatural CW

1.53
CSI CBS 1.56
LOST ABC 1.59
HEROES NBC

1.60
Two and a Half Men CBS 1.63
HOUSE FOX 1.76
OFFICE NBC 1.78
Smallville CW 1.78
GREY'S ANATOMY ABC 1.82
Desperate Housewives ABC

1.97

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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. For NBC, I removed the effects of the Super Bowl week entirely from its 18-49 season to date average. 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.

Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles: The numbers above are for only its Friday airings that began on February 13, 2009. FYI, It’s 13 episode 18-49 average on Monday this season was 2.726 million (which is an average 18-49 rating of 2.1).

Life moved to Wednesday beginning November 5. The numbers above are its Wednesday only STD 18-49 average as calculated by me. For past reference, the 4 Life episodes that aired on Fridays averaged 2.043 million adults 18-49.

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UNSCRIPTED SHOWS FOR ALL NETWORKS

For unscripted shows, the results from last season were far less cut and dried. A similar relationship did seem to hold between 18-49 averages, but some unscripted shows survived with very low numbers. My conclusion was that some unscripted shows must be so cheap that they are expected to do little more than fill air time and produce little in the way of viewership. Since we, and you, don't care much about unscripted shows, and the Index isn't all that good in predicting their future, I don't worry about predictions, but here is the data for reference.

Here is the final list of unscripted show results from the 2008-9 broadcast season.

Program Net Renew/ Cancel index
HOLE IN WALL-SUN 7P FOX 0.37
IN HARM'S WAY CW 0.38
HOLE IN WALL-SUN 7:30P FOX 0.45
GAME SHOW IN MY HEAD 830P CBS 0.45
SMARTER THAN 5TH GRADER FOX 0.49
GAME SHOW IN MY HEAD CBS 0.49
AMERICA'S TOUGHEST JOBS NBC 0.49
CHOPPING BLOCK NBC 0.53
DEAL OR NO DEAL NBC 0.53
HOWIE DO IT 8:30 NBC 0.53
HOWIE DO IT 8P NBC 0.53
48 Hours Mystery CBS 0.56
DON'T FORGET THE LYRICS FOX 0.56
SAT NIGHT FTBL PRE-GAME ABC 0.57
WIFE SWAP ABC 0.57
Dateline SUN-7PM NBC 0.58
DEAL OR NO DEAL-FRI NBC 0.58
COPS FOX 0.60
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS ABC 0.61
HOLE IN WALL THU-8P FOX 0.64
13 - FEAR IS REAL CW 0.64
HOMELAND SECURITY USA ABC 0.64
Supernanny ABC 0.64
MILLION DOLLAR PASSWORD CBS 0.66
Dateline FRI NBC 0.67
AMW: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK FOX 0.67
COPS 2 FOX 0.71
20/20-FRI ABC 0.72
HOLE IN WALL THU-8:30P FOX 0.75
Kitchen Nightmares FOX 0.79
Extreme Makeover:HM ED-7P ABC 0.79
MOMMA'S BOYS NBC 0.80
AMER FUNN HOME VIDEOS ABC 0.83
FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 2 NBC 0.84
PRIMETIME:WHAT WOULD U DO ABC 0.87
DEAL OR NO DEAL-WED NBC 0.89
STYLISTA CW 0.89
60 Minutes CBS 0.94
SUPERSTARS OF DANCE NBC 0.98
FOX NASCAR SPRINT CUP PST FOX 1.01
SAT NIGHT FOOTBALL ABC 1.02
Amazing Race 14 CBS 1.08
Amazing Race 13 CBS 1.11
TRUE BEAUTY ABC 1.14
BACHELORETTE, THE ABC 1.14
Extreme Makeover:HM ED-8P ABC 1.25
SURVIVOR: TOCANTINS CBS 1.32
HELL'S KITCHEN FOX 1.35
FOX NASCAR SPRINT CUP FOX 1.38
APPRENTICE 8 NBC 1.42
FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 3 NBC 1.42
DANCING W/STARS RESULTS ABC 1.44
SURVIVOR: GABON CBS 1.46
Biggest Loser 6 NBC 1.47
OT, THE FOX 1.65
Biggest Loser 7 NBC 1.69
Dancing with the Stars ABC 1.74
SUNDAY NIGHT NFL PRE-KICK NBC 1.87
AMERICA'S Top Model - 6 CW 2.29
AMERICA'S Top Model-5 CW 2.42
NBC Sunday Night Football NBC 2.89
American Idol-TUESDAY FOX 3.40
American Idol-WEDNESDAY FOX 3.44

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Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

All ratings are Live+SD.

 
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