'Body Of Proof' Outruns Cancellation Bear In The Renew / Cancel Index's Biggest Prediction Miss This Season

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

May 14th, 2012

A few weeks ago I asked our readers to guess what would be the Renew / Cancel Index's biggest prediction goof of the season. (results below)

Harry's Law led by a small margin in the poll over having a likely or certain renewal predicted show get cancelled. We know what happened to Harry's Law, and no show predicted as likely or certain renewal was canceled.

With all the broadcast renewal and cancellation results in for scripted shows (except for final word on Rules Of Engagement, which wouldn't be a big miss regardless of what happens), the renewal of Body of Proof was clearly the biggest miss among my predictions this season.

Body of Proof didn't run very fast, but it was faster than all the canceled ABC shows, which earned it another season instead of being a meal of the cancellation bear.

How did Body Of Proof get renewed with such low ratings relative to the rest of ABC's scripted shows? Not clear to me yet, but if I can figure it out, I'll incorporate that into future year's prediction methods.

Note to whiny/crazy Fringe fans, I had the show predicted as a "toss up" all season. Sure, no guts, no glory, but apparently all the whining from crazy fans!

Note that Robert's Bubble Watch predictions were similar, but not exactly the same, this was just covering my predictions.

  • Ray

    Well, it’s certainly not a hit in *my* country, which is, I believe, the #3 international market.

    But in the US, it was competitive with its direct competitors most of the season, wasn’t it? This may have led ABC to conclude that *nothing* would do much better. I mean, holding your own against a CBS procedural with another procedural? Not so bad.

    Plus, there was an uptick towards the end.

  • Tom

    BoP is clearly my biggest miss, as I didn’t even think the show was up to bubble status. Yeah, on Robert’s final Bubble Watch I mentioned that procedurals work better as spackle, and thought there was a low chance this could come back, but I didn’t actually pull the trigger.

    I also missed on Nikita as I mentioned they might keep it just for syndication, but did not pull the trigger, and Secret Circle, which I mentioned could be dead if Nikita lives and a lot of pilots were picked up, but did not pull the trigger.

    I also completely botched Fringe, as I thought there was no way 13 more episodes at a loss made sense to WB. However, other recent moves suggest that WB is picking up less of the tab than we thought (Fox has clearly soured on airing multiple Kitchens during the regular season).

  • Bob

    Bill you were wrong on so many levels this year….way more than other years but you will never admit it.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Bill you were wrong on so many levels this year….way more than other years but you will never admit it.”

    On the contrary, Bob, admit it I will, the Renwew/Cancel Index full season recap posts by network are coming soon!

    All naysayers will get another opportunity to say their nays, and whiny fans to do their whines.

    Which are you?

  • Monique

    Maybe all the head honchos watched the last episode of BOP and really need to know what is going to happen LOL Let’s hope that this year they put it somewher it won’t get jerked around by every breaking news story or Shonda Rhimes newest pet project!

  • Contrarian

    Looking forward to the crow eating. At the end of the day, network execs are making these decisions, and they’re human, if the renew/cancel index was 100% accurate these decisions would all be made by machines. Just like I don’t believe retention, international sales, and exec interest/egos are 100% irrelevant, just 99% irrelevant. Disappointed we haven’t had an 11th Hour style likely to be renewed cancellation in a few seasons too, but can’t win them all.

  • Joe

    Why predict? Why not just wait for the networks to announce what was cancelled?

  • Dan

    My guess is that not only does it do well internationally but it did better in its last few episodes of the season. Also Body of Proof while not performing great did better than ABC’s other Tuesday at 10 series like Detroit 187, The Forgotten, Cupid, Etc.

    I think ABC renewed it because its risky airing a new show in the shot and for the first time in years they will have returning dramas 10pm Mon-Wed (Provided BOP and Revenge stay in their slots) ABC had a good season next year and if BOP doesnt hold up then they can always replace it.

  • Fake Me Out

    I took a best guess at three shows that had a chance, IMHO, of beating the odds Harry’s Law, Unforgettable and BoP. I also added Pan Am but that was more ‘pet peeve pick’ and not ‘I really think it has a shot pick’. I watched both Unforgettable and BoP as enjoyable time wasters, or enjoyable wastes of time depending on your opinion, but really didn’t care if they came back or not. I don’t watch Harry’s Law but actually thought it was the most likely of my long shot picks to make it … just because of it’s overall numbers and NBC’s complete lack of numbers. Any other year, any other network and I would never have thought it stood a chance but this year on NBC I thought it did. So I’m batting .250 with 1 SO, 2 pop flys and 1 HR … not bad, but not great either … and more bear for me and Dana on our dinner date.


  • Mr Mumble

    ABC’s drama pilots were awful. Body of Proof’s renewal is not rocket science

    Why weren’t visitors allowed to vote on the biggest season goof of all, Bill “House is certain to be renewed” Gorman?!

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Why predict? Why not just wait for the networks to announce what was cancelled?”

    1. Fun
    2. Site traffic

    Although, for a very, very long time, all we had was #1.

    Edit: Part of the fun was, after running the site for a season, realizing that (a) it wasn’t that difficult, and (b) at the time *nobody* else seemed to do it until the very end of the season, when most predictions could be made far earlier.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Why weren’t visitors allowed to vote on the biggest season goof of all, Bill “House is certain to be renewed” Gorman?!”

    I that all you have to complain about? You’ll have to do better next time!

    House hasn’t been “certain to be renewed” since November 1, 2011.

  • Linda

    I’m so glad your predition for cancellation of BOP was wrong. It’s a great show that has just gotten better as time goes on. Thank you ABC!

  • Bob

    Well I was a whiny fan on Friday, but today I am back to regular viewer. My post was sarcastic.

  • Chris

    This season presented a real interesting and unusual mix of problems. Many networks found themselves at complete odds with their own lineups.. so more shows were going to face the axe then normal.

    The downside of this is that Pilot season can be too crowded; you can end up with studios finding that they are at a disadvantage to throw out a lot of expensive pilots when the buy rate isn’t necessarily very good. So, the investment capital on the production end has been tight, the ratings have across the board been down, and the networks that really needed to scrap whole lineups find themselves looking not just at numbers, but at the cost of production and the pecking order of how much of their lineup they can sacrifice while keeping studios and ratings happy.

    Body of Proof is a show ABC itself produces; so it’s studio to air cost is the best it’s going to get, and they can contain production costs as they go. Meanwhile, several networks went to a strategy of deal-out memos; that’s where several shows were offered potential deals at lower budget #s, and whoever agreed first, well, that was the musical chairs.

    Out of all of these, NBC is the network still in the greatest trouble; many of it’s pilots are viewed by outsiders as dead on arrival, and while it’s Thursday night lineup hasn’t garnered a lot of ratings, it’s at least helped prevent the network from appearing totally dead.

    NBC is in a strange place, though – it’s reality TV products (The Voice, AGT) have been decent ratings vehicles at a relatively viable cost, but they also aren’t blockbusters. There is some real feeling that some of the music oriented shows are just burning out; there are too many of them and the public doesn’t see any viable ‘wow’ vehicles of it. Let’s be honest, part of the selling point of AI was that off the top of the bat you had Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood who went on to serious careers. That hasn’t really happened (to that level) since. Yes, some minor successes; but AGT, Voice, etc. hasn’t turned out someone who came out like gangbusters… as we pile on “Duets” “X-Factor” and others, no one is sure when the bottom falls out, or if it will, but it definitely dilutes the interest.

    As a result, there are concerns about where this goes; NBC is feeling the pressure most, where Smash’s early look gave it some bounce, and now it’s faded to the point where it is pummeled by procedural shows like Castle/Hawaii-5-0.

    NBC right now is going to pray the Olympics turns into a huge ratings success (there have to be executives with a mini-alter of Phelps praying he breaks records), otherwise they are in trouble from the get go. Two of the pilots are amongst the worst I have ever seen get a pickup. I say this with all seriousness, if one of them gains any ratings traction, I may have to rethink my entire existence.

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)

    I am surprised no one has mentioned that most foolish of reasons for its renewal: “Network __________ really likes actor/actress _______”.
    In this case it would be “ABC really likes Dana Delany”.
    The fact is all networks “like” the actors on their shows until those shows no longer get sustainable ratings. At that point no matter how successful that actor’s relationship with the network has been in the past (or potential future) it matters little.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Bill: C’mon, guys, stop hiding behind the “on the bubble” crap. We all knew these shows – Fringe, Nikita and Body of Proof – had almost zero chance of being renewed – and then the networks went and renewed them.

    I called all three shows wrong – Fringe, Body of Proof, and Nikita.

    So did you, Bill! You can’t hide behind the “bubble” bit. Yes, the CW was a special case because they’re clearly so weird over there that they might do almost anything. But it was STILL clear that Nikita had almost no chance, being the lowest-rated show for most of the season until Ringer (and LA Complex) overtook it.

    I predicted all season that Nikita would only have a shot if more than one regular week night show fell as low or lower than it was on Fridays. Ringer did that. But I expected it would take take Hart of Dixie or Gossip Girl to fall that low as well before Nikita would be renewed, if at all.

    But that didn’t happen. Only one show (Ringer and discounting LA Complex which was new) fell below Nikita’s ratings.

    So someone needs to explain to me why Nikita was renewed. Does the CW really expect to run Nikita at ratings at or below .4-.5 for the next TWO seasons in order to get to syndication?

    Or is this, as I suspect, another attempt by the networks, as in the case of Fringe – and perhaps Body of Proof – to keep the “low-hanging fruit” lying around in order to avoid the expense of developing new shows? One would think this wouldn’t apply to the CW which picked up FIVE out of eight pilots…

    Did the CW just give up on Friday and keep Nikita because it couldn’t think of anything else to put there? Somehow that explanation fails to satisfy.

    You can explain away Fringe based on some “deal” that increased the syndication value to WB – but which still doesn’t explain what Fox gets out of it.

    I don’t see any explanation for Nikita or Body of Proof. These were both “Dollhouse moments” (or since Fringe was renewed, “Fringe moments”) which don’t make any sense. At least Dollhouse had a tiny chance of improving and thus maybe growing in ratings in a season two. Neither Nikita nor Body of Proof have that likelihood.

  • CrimTV

    I don’t think Body Of Proof will make it past it’s 13 episode order next season.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Bill: C’mon, guys, stop hiding behind the “on the bubble” crap. We all knew these shows – Fringe, Nikita and Body of Proof – had almost zero chance of being renewed – and then the networks went and renewed them.”

    I didn’t hide from anything. All shows were called up or down in our final predictions. This simply notes that Body of Proof was the biggest miss. The prediction I thought was *most* certain, that proved to be wrong. There certainly were other misses, which will all be detailed in tomorrow’s recap posts.

    As for what “we all knew”, please don’t include me along with any “we”, you were wrong early, emphatically and often on Fringe, don’t try drag me into that. I thought it could go either way, and one of the two alternatives I suggested actually happened!

  • Joanne

    I am glad that Body of Proof was renewed. I think it is a good show. I also was happy that CSI NY was renewed. Clearly moving to Friday with Blue Bloods was a rejuvenation for this series. I never watched it previously. I now think CSI NY is the best of the three CSI’s largely due to more interesting story lines and the superb acting of Gary Sinise and Sela Ward and the rest of the cast. I am disappointed at Harry’s Law. It certainly had enough viewers, but not in the 18 – 49 range. Kathy Bates is a talented actress and she was surrounded by other talented actors. I think NBC made a mistake cancelling this series.

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