Variety: No More 'Jesse Stone' Movies For CBS

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV

Written By

May 25th, 2012

Variety is reporting that Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt will be the last of the Jesse Stone movies produced for CBS.

Our readers know that the Jesse Stone movies typically draw audiences of over 10 million viewers, but with tiny adults 18-49 ratings. Benefit of the Doubt on May 20 drew 12.93 million viewers, but just a 1.2 adults 18-49 rating.

The producer expressed surprise to Variety that "CBS was so wedded to those [younger] demographics".

I'm expressing surprise that the producer was expressing surprise. Are the economics of broadcast primetime television unknown to him?

But considering our recent encounters with TV producers, perhaps I shouldn't be quite so surprised.

  • SarahL

    Not a surprise. The last movie had such a low 18-49 demo. CBS cannot ignore its bottom line which is driven by the demands of its advertisers. If it wants to stay no. 1 in that demo, the low rated shows/movies will have to be weeded out.

    These tv producers have got to stop whining and being so disingenuous. They know that how the tv business work. They have to give the networks a product that makes money.

  • Midwest Mom

    Jesse needs to find a home on Lifetime. Suitcase just came back. He needs a case to solve!

  • Bob

    I never thought CBS would lower themselves to treating TV shows and movies like NBC does. Oh well it will be picked up somewhere else.

  • Bob

    I wonder why they just don’t put them on in the dead of Summer where everything is down. I mean Duets on ABC didn’t get much higher. I think the problem with Jesse Stone is it was put on during Sweeps….probably not a good idea.

  • John

    “And Nothing Of Value Was Lost”

    The last movie was AWFUL. The story wasn’t very interesting, and the dialog was dreadful. I think the writers were trying to emulate Aaron Sorkin, and they completely missed the mark.

  • nancy killian

    yhat is so wrong. tom selleck has don e such a great job on blue bloods. wheres there loyalty. oh i forgot they do not have any. why does cbs want to cater to younger folks, us older folks really resent this. if i see one more lame ass reality show, i am going to scream. the jesse stone movies are fantastic, and i do believe another station will pick them up, they are terrific. i always wait with anticipation for the next one. on and by the wat cbs, it sucks that you canceled csi miami

  • Jan Perry

    I am so sick & tired of all the reality shows. If I c another person up there singing another Whitney Houston song I’ll scream. If I c another shaking butt up there, I just put on the discovery channel, at least I’ll learn something. I luv the Jessie Stone series, yes , I’m an old bat. SO WHAT!! CBS, u r a jerk!!!

  • Chris

    How did the cancellation of an annual movie turn into whining about reality shows?


    @Bill Someone just brought up and interesting point. If that extra hour everyone has on fox was removed how would they all rate. Would be interesting to see any differences if any.

  • Freddy Arrow


    “It seems that unless it is something like american idol or DWTS the networks are not willing to show the quality offerings that we all grew up with. In the old days networks never would have shown all those reality shows. If they did we never would have had shows like Ozzie and Hariet or Mash. The good shows.”

    Here’s the schedule from fall 1972:

    There was clearly much less scripted television than there is now.

    1) FOX and CW didn’t exist as broadcasting networks.
    2) Midseason/time sharing shows hadn’t yet come along
    3) There were no cable channels broadcasting shows. USA, FX, TNT, TBS, AMC, etc all add up to produce quite a lot of content.

    Even looking at the big three:

    1) CBS and NBC didn’t go all the way to 11:00 on Sundays and ABC started 30 minutes late.
    2) I see about 14.5 hours dedicated to showing movies, which are essentially reruns.
    3) There appears to be another 5 hours or so of “variety shows”, which means a lot of singing with some skits.

    On the plus side, networks programmed on Saturdays and the seasons were slightly longer, but overall there are many more hours of scripted programming produced now versus 40 years ago.

  • sam

    I certainly hope that one of the cable stations picks these up. It is too much of a treat to see Tom Selleck play this character to miss seeing more Jesse Stone. I guess somebody else will have to value all of the money that the older demo has to spend. And maybe it won’t matter so much in the future to the networks if all those young people keep skipping all of the commercials!

  • Mega64

    I guess the producer is venting, perhaps hoping fan outrage will work. Or perhaps they really don’t know how this business is run.

    I’m surprised CBS hasn’t done this sooner. They’re a business first, after all, and their revenue comes from the advertisers. It’s the advertisers who don’t want to sell to the higher demos during the lucrative prime-time slots, so the networks target keeping shows with high demos foremost, though as we know there’s always other factors.

    Anyway, Jesse Stone seems the type of movie series that would thrive on cable, so I’m expecting future movies to air on one of the older demo-friendly cable networks.

  • Sports Preemption

    @ Freddy

    Damn it, you beat me to the logic train before I could hop on.

    I really don’t get why people continue with the whole reality tv delusion when it comes to broadcast television. If you really want to complain about reality television, aim it where it matters, at cable television. Cable networks realized they could get cheap original programming with reality shows instead of paying for reruns and started flooding the market with them. Broadcast television does not have significantly more hours of reality than it did in the past. People are just mad because the “type” of reality tends to go through cycles, and currently that type is singing competition shows. Not too long ago, they were competition game shows coming off the heels of Millionaire. Where are all those studio game show competitions now? Once singing competition shows become oversaturated and the ratings drop, trust me, the networks will find a new vehicle to deliver cheap programming that gets them ratings.

    I don’t even want to get into the neverending whining about the 18-49. If CBS didn’t want to focus on it and wanted to target Jesse Stone to older viewers, then they better not air Jesse Stone during primetime, because if they do, advertisers won’t give a damn about how many viewers the movie gets.

    It’s like no one ever puts themselves in the advertisers shoes. Why are you going to pay a premium for primetime television space just to reach a demographic of viewers you can get on the cheap at any other time of day? It makes no economical sense, no matter how many viewers you get or how much money you have. If you are going to pay for primetime space, you may as well get the best bang for your buck in delivering your ad to a demographic that is best captured during primetime. Because when else are you going to be able to get THOSE people to see your ad, cheap or not.

    Like people said, after the 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54 are probably the most important demos. Older people just don’t come at a premium. They’re just like sprinkles on your ice cream cone. Ad people pay for the ice cream cone, and if they get sprinkles, all the better. But they aren’t going to pay for a boatload of sprinkles with no ice cream. You can give them a ton of sprinkles, fill a barge with sprinkles, deliver the sprinkles on a golden 18-wheeler, but if those sprinkles come with no ice cream, why am I going to spend ice cream money to get them?

  • jr

    Tom’s twice as old as the Jesse in the novels

  • iggy.

    Surprised? Half the people who read this site don’t even get it.

  • Shazbat

    We’ll find Jesse Stone wherever they move him to. Love the series, love the character.

  • Shazbat

    Also, when you check out the scheduling, fast forward a few years, into the 60’s. Primetime scheduling started at 7:30 and extended to 11 pm. A lot of 1/2 shows and dramas. Only 3 networks but they produced a lot of varied entertainment.

  • Shazbat

    Sorry, I guess you have to back up. From 1972 to 1963-67. What a change.

  • Norm Hill

    I don’t know many 18 year olds who buy new cars, furniture, appliances, etc, etc, etc..We are an aging society and the ideal demographic, using the 31 year spread would be 29-60. Those are the peak consumer years as the 29 year old is buying because (hopefully) their earning power has dramatically increased, and the 60 year old is replacing everything in a last hurrah before retiring.

  • JeffT

    What’s changed is that most TV shows are a sleazy collection of sexual one liners, sophomoric dialogue and poor plots. Watch the older shows and you hear real dialogue and real humor. The best cop show, Hill Street Blues, would be an abject failure in today’s TV world. But the viewers already know this. Look at total audience numbers compared to 20-30 years ago. People have left network TV for other, more enjoyable, options. Kind of like what’s happened to newspapers. Dropping circulation goes hand-in-hand with a drop-off in quality.

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