Outrunning The Cancellation Bear: Why Relative Ratings Matter For Your Favorite TV Shows

When the new broadcast television season begins on September 24, so will the fan laments over their favorite shows.

“Oh no! It needs to get a 2.0 rating to survive!”

“That’s too much of a drop, it’ll never make it!”

“Look at how well Big Bang Theory did, my show’s a goner!”

Fortunately for fans of individual TV shows, their renewal and cancellation decisions are a lot like the old joke about two guys being chased by a bear.

You don’t have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun the other guy!

In the broadcast TV world, for scripted shows “the other guy” is the other scripted shows on the same network. And you don’t have to outrun them all, even being a little below average in the adults 18-49 ratings (~10%) for the show’s network still means pretty certain renewal.

Fans wanting to see where their favorite broadcast scripted shows stack up on a relative basis vs. the other shows on their network should read our Renew / Cancel Index posts beginning tomorrow with posts for NBC and Fox. next Tuesday October 2. After that, I will have new posts for each broadcast network every Tuesday with the newest ratings results and updated renewal and cancellation projections once they have premiered new shows.

You can always reach our latest Renew / Cancel Index posts by clicking on the Renew / Cancel link in the white navigation bar above.

This season you can follow the Cancellation Bear on Twitter via @TheCancelBear. The Cancellation Bear will retweet all the Renew/Cancel Index post titles and URLs as well as engage in a little more back and forth banter than we do on our standard @TVbytheNumbers Twitter feed.

Note: Of course, it’s the absolute ratings that matter to each network’s bottom line. So when all the shows on a particular network have ratings drops, it’s not bad news for any one of the shows in particular, but it is bad news for the network.

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