In the comments of this morning's post on the Suits renewal, commenter Ray asks:
Robert, sorry if this is a dumb question or if it’s been answered before but why don’t you do the Bubble & Cancellation Bear status reports for the summer programming on cable channels? Bears eat most during the summer, you know.
Here's my response (I've edited a little here):
@Ray it isn’t a dumb question. I’ve been meaning to do a post on it, but…lazy!
The short answer is: we don’t have a lot of data we would need to make predictions. Even if we had the data, it would be much more complex to do, and probably still not nearly as accurate, for something not as many people are interested in.
longer answer: relative to cable shows the renew/cancel index for broadcast show is both very easy to maintain AND highly accurate. Cable is much more complex mostly for two reasons: one: different networks target different demographics (some, like ABC Family with women 12-34 or 18-34 and we don’t regularly see that data) and two, where broadcast networks program originals for all three hours of primetime (excluding Saturdays), the Cable networks are nowhere near that when they are airing originals in the summer.
The broadcast Renew/Cancel works well when you compare, for example, CBS’s shows to CBS’s 18-49 average or CBS’s scripted 18-49 average, but that works well really because the broadcast nets have many scripted originals. That is not the case with cable channels, so the approach would not work nearly as well. In order to have any hopes of being an accurate predictor, rather than comparing say TNT’s scripted shows versus each other, you’d really need to compare them relatively against what TNT’s average is when it isn’t airing originals (or sports programming like NASCAR). We don’t have that sort of data, and it adds a lot of complexity.
I'm not sure how I'd feel about doing a S-HA-RCI (Summer Half-Assed Renew-Cancel Index) since the emphasis would certainly be on the half-assed part due to data deficiencies and stuff like "AMC isn't currently airing any originals other than Breaking Bad, what do I compare it to? Oh screw it, you know the show is getting renewed!"