Shocker: CBS Hopes To Renew Its Second-Highest-Rated Show! ('Two and a Half Men')

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

January 12th, 2013

I was amused this morning by my Twitter feed lighting up with the "news" that CBS hopes to figure out a way to bring back Two and a Half Men next year. So far this season, 'Men' is CBS's second-highest-rated scripted show with adults 18-49, and by a wide margin.

While it's easy to give some of the credit for that to its lead-in, The Big Bang Theory - those with longer memories will remember that despite premiering well, Rob did not finish as CBS's second-highest-rated scripted show (despite its strong start, it fell to 8th-best by season's end). What was CBS's second-highest-rated show last year? You guessed it, Two and a Half Men.

While the longer a show goes on, the trickier it gets to negotiate renewals, it was clear even before Nina Tassler's comments this morning at CBS's winter TCA press tour executive session that the stakes are big enough for "Men" that it's in both Warner Bros and CBS's interest to figure out how to keep going with it.  Desire to renew does not seem newsy.

The great job the CBS schedulers (we're looking at you, @CaliBadger and team) have done creating a Thursday foothold, at least from 8-10p is probably not getting its due credit. Sadly for us at TV by the Numbers, we live in a world where "CBS wants to renew its highest rated shows!" makes for better headlines and readership. But I'm guessing the ratings results are the only credit Kelly Kahl (chief CBS scheduler) and his team really care about.

  • The End

    Did say there was only one outcome to this.


    I’m sure they’ll figure out how to bring it back

  • Ben

    I would actually like a season 11. At first I wasn’t a big fan of season 9 but now I feel like season 10 has gotten really good and I’m really enjoying it. It’s one of those shows where I like to switch my brain off and enjoy some mindless comedy.

  • alexjones

    OMG! and I thought dollhouse getting renewed was surprising!

    sarcasm aside, Of course it’s going to be renewed! it’s the second highest rated show on the networks, networks don’t generally cancel their second highest rated show.

  • TV#1

    I’d be happy to see it come back. Season 10 has been a BIG improvement over season 9. I am enjoying the show again.

  • TV Gord

    Some of you are talking about the networks love of high ratings as though this is some kind of new phenomenon.

  • Nick


    On another note, does Chuck Lorre have some exclusive deal with CBS? I have often wish he and NBC would hook up for a comedy series.

    Not that I know of. He has an exclusive deal with Warner Brothers productions. I guess that CBS is just willing to pay top dollar because his brand of comedy is closest to their brand.

  • Hugh

    I wonder if CBS already heard about quality ? The current season is not as good as the 9th or the other.

    CBS don’t, maybe the showrunners do.

    Personally I would end a show on S10 (unless its animated)

  • ToXiX

    It’s basically a new show now. There should be 2 more seasons. 4 seasons with Kutcher.

  • psychic

    If viewers truly cared about quality, American Idol, Haven, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic would not still be on the air.

  • CBSviewer

    If CBS really wants to bring it back they’ll find the money for. Come on ! CBS is probably the networkwith more money. If CBS improves Kutcher and Cryer salary to $ 1 million they would sign for 2 more seasons. And then the Show is Renewed until Season 12 :)

  • CBSviewer

    I think it’s a very bad idea for CBS to sign only for one year. If the Show is high rated the Cast wants more money. On the other hand, if they sign for 2 years CBS wouldn’t have to increase their salary by 20% each season.

  • Samunto

    Given how well CBS has handled his other comedies it’s a no brainer that Chuck went to CBS first with his new comedy Mom. They programm his shows well and he makes millions and CBS does too.

  • steve burton

    TAAHM was never high-quality comedic programming like Cheers. It was always smutty and dumb, but had the appeal of viewers being able to see the thinly-veiled life (sans the illegal narcotic use) of the execrable Charlie Sheen play out each week. The writing was anything but nuanced and complex.

    After Kutcher arrived, the writing did seem to nosedive. Many episodes went beyond implausible to something a high school student might have written. Criticisms aside, this aging crapper has held onto viewers. It is a long way from its ratings heyday, but still performs well in total viewers and demos. TBBT outpaces it by several million total viewers each week and about 2 points among 18-49-so it loses substantial numbers of viewers, including the ones most coveted by advertisers.

    The kick is that that is still good enough to be #2 among CBS’ scripted shows by demo measures. Not generally a recipe for cancellation. All bets would be off if TAAHM was moved to a time slot without a nice lead-in. Right now it doesn’t appear it is being moved around the schedule and the network muckety-mucks want to keep that particular gravy train running. So Kutcher, Cryer and Co. will be back for another season come Fall 2013.

  • Flame

    The only problem I can see is money. Ashton “I have just one facial expression” Kutcher will want top money, Jon Cryer too. Problem: Next year the TBBT cast will want more money too, and they have an even bigger point from the ratings perspective.

  • Oliver

    And yet NBC didn’t put up much a fight to renew their clear #1 comedy and #2 overall show last season.

    I was under the impression that syndication contracts are written so that having more than 200 episodes isn’t valuable to the production company, so the network has to burden the full production cost from that point onwards. This is why the final season of Friends cost NBC so much, because Warner stopped subsiding the show.

    That said, there’s only three core cast members and Cryer and Jones won’t earn anywhere near as much elsewhere, so costs won’t spiral completely out of control and CBS can easily afford to spend $2-3m/ep on the cast.

  • David Howell

    2.5 Men was the #2 show on CBS in 18-49 when it was leading off the hour at 9pm Monday last season (granted, those numbers included the NFL-esque numbers for the first Kutcher episode).

    It’s going to be expensive. But with a small cast, one of whom could be written out of the show (arguably, could already have been), it’s hard to see it being so expensive that one of the top ten scripted series in all of television in 18-49 could suddenly not be more profitable than, say, a full season of Rules of Engagement, or an extra new show.

    The show will eventually end, and probably with ratings well above the usual bubble, because of cost. But not now. Not while CBS is having to keep fading procedurals getting mid-1s in 18-49 (and worse in 18-34) on their schedule at the behest of the syndication gods. Not while 2.5 Men remains a key part of a Thursday night lineup that is hurting the biggest shows on their two main rival networks. Not now.

  • Oliver

    For what it’s worth, I think TaaHM is completely wasted leading out of TBBT. I think CBS could put nearly anything in that timeslot and it would get 3.0+. In effect, they’re spending probably $1.5m/ep extra to gain little more than one ratings point (and, admittedly, a stronger lead-in for POI and probably boosting TBBT a little too).

    My guess was the original plan was for it to be the 9pm Thursday anchor for comedy expansion, but a weak comedy development season killed it, but moving 2BG to the Monday anchor still seemed like an appealing prospect.

  • a p garcia

    2.5 Men is just not as funny with Aston Krucher as with Charlie Sheen and the stories are not as funny!

  • James

    The show is not as funny as it was with Sheen but I an still a fan and crack up every episode. While the show has been on a long time I think it is still one of the funiniest shows on tv and should keep going. The numbers agree with that statement so I really hope they find a way to make it work. Shoot just fire Angus and disperse his salary among the stars that still want to be there (even if the reason is monetary based).

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