Should CBS Have Cancelled Medium Instead Of Ghost Whisperer?

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV

Written By

October 7th, 2010

Medium's ratings at 8pm on Friday this season have disappointed, causing many fans of Ghost Whiperer to lament that Medium should have been cancelled instead.

Not surprised about Medium. Ghost Whisperer was a much stronger show with a bigger base of fans. Stupid CBS!!

via Commenter Tripp (similar to many others)

Should CBS have cancelled Medium instead of Ghost Whisperer?

No.

Ghost Whisperer and Medium ratings were nearly identical last season, and CBS is sole producer of Medium, while Ghost Whisperer was a shared production.

However, in hindsight, perhaps CBS should have cancelled Medium too.

Let's review the facts (as we understand them):

- Last season's original episode adults 18-49 Live + Same Day ratings averages were virtually identical:

  • Ghost Whisperer: 1.9 rating
  • Medium: 1.8 rating

- The Medium syndication agreement with Lifetime pays CBS (the producer) a reported $1.3 million / episode.

- The conventional wisdom is that an hour of broadcast drama costs ~$3 million to produce.

Last Friday Medium scored just a 1.1 adults 18-49 rating.

- Medium had plenty of episodes for syndication after last season (117). However, presumably more is always at least a little better for the future value of any syndicated show.

Three big unknowns:

  • What is CBS' advertising revenue from Medium at its ratings level this season?
  • How much value is added to the Medium syndication "franchise" from having additional episodes produced this season?
  • What ratings might CBS have gotten on Friday's at 8pm with an alternative show? and at what cost?

Perhaps by the end of the season the economics work out so that CBS will come out ahead for renewing Medium for one more season, and perhaps they won't. Either way, they aren't going to make CBS regret canceling Ghost Whisperer.

 
© 2014 Tribune Digital Ventures