The Middle, Castle, Flash Forward On ABC's Mid-Season Bubble

Categories: Cancel/Renew ABC Shows

Written By

January 5th, 2010


Our Renew / Cancel Index predicts potential renewal or cancellation for scripted broadcast primetime shows for the 2010-11 season (includes results through January 3, 2010):

  • Likely To Be Canceled By May, 2010
  • Some Danger Of Being Canceled By May, 2010
  • Likely to Be Renewed For The 2010-11 Season
Program Renew/ Cancel Index
Better Off Ted 0.43
Ugly Betty (S), (F), (P) 0.44
Hank 0.54*
Eastwick 0.60
Scrubs (P) 0.60
the forgotten 0.64
The Middle 0.71
Castle (P) 0.76
FlashForward (P) 0.98
Cougar Town (P) 0.99
Modern Family 1.10
Private Practice (P) 1.14
Brothers & Sisters (S), (P) 1.14
V 1.36
Grey's Anatomy (P) 1.69
Desperate Housewives (P) 1.71

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Since there have been few new episodes aired in the past two weeks, I thought it would be a good time to review ABC's mid-season scripted show situation this year compared to last year.

Mid-season 2008-9:

  • 3 shows canceled (Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money; plus Boston Legal which had ended its run as scheduled)
  • 2 more shows ultimately canceled (According to Jim, Life On Mars, Samantha Who?, doh!)

Mid-season 2009-10:

  • 2 shows canceled (Hank, Eastwick)
  • 4 shows in significant danger of cancellation (Ugly Betty, Better Off Ted, Scrubs, the forgotten)
  • 3 shows in some danger (The Middle, Castle, FlashForward)

While last season was somewhat of a hangover from the strike shortened 2007-8 season for ABC, it is interesting to note that ABC ultimately canceled only one drama that premiered during the fall (Life On Mars), although there was plenty of carnage in the spring (Cupid, The Unusuals, In the Motherhood, Surviving Suburbia).

The death toll among ABC's new fall shows will be greater this season. Hank and Eastwick are already canceled, and the forgotten's cancellation is a certainty.

If FlashForward keeps falling, it's gone too. Its situation feels a lot like Life On Mars to me.

Based on last year's pattern, The Middle could turn out to be this year's Better Off Ted. A comedy given a second chance, even with poor ratings. Although, looking at Better Off Ted now might change ABC's mind on that strategy.

I think Castle's fate rests on how well the new ABC shows do this spring.  Several big successes (don't hold your breath) could increase its danger level significantly. Fans, root against the premieres!

For shows in the Some Danger category only, I am including short term Index indicators for  shows either with either improving :mrgreen: or deteriorating :oops: Indexes, based on 4 week averages instead of season to date Indexes.

This is a breakdown of ABC scripted shows and their renewal and cancellation prospects. Here are links to the other networks:

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Notes:

The Renew/Cancel Index is a show's Season To Date adults 18-49 rating divided by its network's Season to Date average 18-49 rating. If a show's season to date 18-49 ratings average equalled its network's 18-49 average, the show would have an Index of 1.00. Without special factors, scripted shows that were more than 10% below their network's average are typically canceled by the end of the broadcast primetime season.

Factors that could cause a show to be renewed with a well below average Index:

  • (F) -Fridays: Shows airing on Fridays have been renewed with significantly lower than average Indexes.
  • (S) - Syndication: Shows nearing syndication (66-88 episodes), often have economic factors that trump ratings leading to renewal.
  • (T) - Third Party: Shows that have a portion of their cost underwritten by a 3rd party can be renewed with substantially lower ratings.
  • (P) - Produced by the network's production company - For shows on the bubble, being produced by the network's corporate production company can be a survival advantage. For real losers, it's unlikely to help.

What's the History of the Index and How Did It Do In the Past? Check out the results from the 2007-8 season and the 2008-9 season.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All ratings used are Live+Same Day viewing.

 
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