NBC: 'Smash' Is Likely To Be Canceled

Categories: Cancel/Renew Index,Cancel/Renew NBC Shows

Written By

February 19th, 2013

Click this link for the latest NBC renewal / cancellation information:

Our Renew / Cancel Index predicts the network's decision on renewal or cancellation for scripted broadcast primetime shows by the end of the 2012-13 season in May, 2013.  (includes results from December 31, 2012- February 14, 2013):

Program Status Renew/ Cancel Index
Do No Harm* canceled 0.50
Animal Practice* canceled 0.66
Smash :cry: :cry: 0.76
The New Normal :oops: 0.79
Guys With Kids :oops: 0.80
1600 Penn :oops: 0.82
Whitney :| :| :| 0.87
Deception :oops: 0.88
Go On :) :) :) :) 0.92
30 Rock* final season complete 0.93
Community :| :| :| 0.98
Parenthood* :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 1.08
Parks & Recreation :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 1.12
Law & Order: SVU :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 1.14
The Office final season 1.32
Chicago Fire :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 1.33
Up All Night :oops: pending
Grimm (F) :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: pending
Revolution :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: pending

This is a special "short week" holiday edition of the NBC Index, having been written the evening of Friday, February 15 with ratings through only February 14.

Community stole the NBC headline last week. This week Smash gets a turn. Its 1.2 adults 18-49 premiere rating immediately made it "likely to be canceled". Ah, the limelight.

Speaking of Community, its 1.2 rating on Thursday night, has me dropping it from "certain to be renewed" to "toss up". As always noted, with few data points, predictions can change quickly.

And only on the ratings disaster that is 2013 NBC sitcoms, does Whitney's 1.2 rating also move it to a "toss up", and Go On's lowest rating of 1.3 now elevates it to "likely to be renewed". Ye Gods.

Better to Follow The Bear, Than Be Chased By Him. 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 links as well as engage in a little more back and forth banter than we do on our standard @TVbytheNumbers Twitter feed.

*shows no longer on the air have their Renew/Cancel Index "frozen" at the point they left the schedule.

From now through the end of the broadcast season in May, the Renew/Cancel Index values will only be calculated using new episodes airing during 2013. However, until new episodes of a show air in 2013, I will keep the "old"  Fall predictions in the table.

Want to know what the NBC Renew/Cancel Index table looked like at the end of the Fall season? Click here.


  • :oops: - certain to be cancelled by May, 2013
  • :cry: :cry:- more likely to be cancelled than renewed by May, 2013
  • :| :| :| - toss up between renewal or cancellation by May, 2013
  • :) :) :) :) - more likely to be renewed than cancelled by May, 2013
  • :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: - certain to be renewed by May, 2013

The Renew/Cancel Index is the ratio of a scripted show's new episode adults 18-49 ratings relative to the new episode ratings of the other scripted shows on its own network. It's calculated by dividing a show's new episode Live+Same Day adults 18-49 average rating by the Live+Same Day new episode average of all the new scripted show episodes on the show's own network. The network's average ratings in the calculation are not time weighted (ie. hour long shows are not weighted twice what 30 minute shows are).

(F) -Fridays: Shows airing on Fridays were renewed with significantly lower than average Indexes.

How would the Renew / Cancel Index Have Done Predicting Last Season's Scripted Show Fates? Check out how the Renew / Cancel Index predicted renewals and cancellations from past television seasons.

  • SJ

    Law and Order: SVU – renewed for final season (22-24 episodes)
    Parenthood – renewed for final season (at least 20 episodes)
    Community – renewed for final season (13 episodes, Fridays)
    Parks and Recreation – renewed for final season (13 episodes, Fridays)

    Grimm – renewed
    Revolution – renewed
    Chicago Fire – renewed


  • Matthew Daniels

    Smash is a really great show. I love it! I understand that it plays to a specific audience which alienates it from a large portion of the public. This means it won’t get the great ratings and once again we will see a great show get buried. But I read this page everyday, and I am sick of the cocky and rude comments you make…ie “ah the limelight”. It is very unprofessional and says a lot about you as a critic, journalist, and person!

  • Oliver


    Yes, it would.

    However, in my view, being able to promote the entire night as ‘all new’ makes the 8pm show worth sacrificing. The idea is to get people who aren’t watching the current Thursday comedies to check the new shows out.

  • merrrranga

    “@merrrranga: So it tackles divisive issues without being divisive in and of itself?”


    yes. exactly. that is entirely the point. almost all shows that tackle issues like this attempt to do exactly that.

    “Whatever it tackles or is – on thing it is not: And that is good.”

    that sentence makes no earthly sense.

    sorry you don’t like the show, though i see that as no reason to argue with me..

  • Hammo

    I honestly think that NBC should pull literally half of its current schedule. Some have already been cancelled, but I really think they should cancel all of the following:

    DNH, AP, Smash (I will miss thee), TNN, GWK,1600 Penn, Deception (I will miss thee as well), UAL, and Community if it continues its downward trend.

    They can keep Whitney and Go On if they want some decently rated vets, but honestly they both could be cancelled based on current ratings.

    Parenthood on up on the list, including The Voice and Biggest Loser, can stay to help anchor some new shows. At this point a true gutting like this is what NBC needs. I agree with @senor chang that NBC should put ad muscle behind a few shows, especially the ones that kickoff the night and have the most potential to boost the whole night.

    Also, they can launch shows in the fall with The Voice if they want, but they need to stop overusing it before they lose the only thing with decent ratings.

  • omabin

    This schedule is the trickiest to do IMO, because I always feel like their situation is so bad that I am not being agressive enough. But unlike ABC and CBS, I don’t think they have strong enough shows to spread around the week, and there are many problematic slots, so it is really tough. Senor Chang, I like your schedule the most from what I have seen here. Your point of moving revolution to 10pm, thus giving it an indirect voice lead-in is very good. I hadn’t thought of that. I think that it all depends on how it does when it comes back. If somehow it still lives on the 3s or very high 2s, I think it could anchor Wednesday night, if not for anything else because they desperately need it to. If low 2s. will be the new norm, I think that they are indeed better off leaving at Tuesdays at 10pm, following the voice and another compatible show such as crossbones (the pirates show). Your scheduling is perfect for the later option, I am going with the first:

    The Voice/ The Biggest Looser/ The Voice
    The Voice/ The Biggest Looser/ The Voice
    New Drama/ Dateline/ New Drama [The Sixth Gun]
    [They need to focus their efforts, promoting a midseason drama a la deception doesn’t seem to work, as much as I applaud the effort]

    The Voice/ OFT/ The Voice
    New Multicam Comedy
    New Multicam Comedy

    Chicago Fire
    New Drama [Crossbones]

    Parks and Recreation
    New Michael J.Fox Comedy
    Go On
    Law and Order: SVU


  • Josh

    Smash is a really well done show; and although it caters to a certain audience, NBC should stand behind it, and try and build a bigger audience. A different night might help. Either way it would be a shame to lose another great show to a fledging network.

  • Oliver

    The problem is that NBC can’t effectively promote a ton of new shows at once, so axing the low-rated shows won’t solve the problem.

    Half the reason they are struggling so much today is because they cancelled so many dramas for The Jay Leno Show that they still haven’t managed to replace, so they’re constantly in a state of catch-up.

  • Rob

    Comcastic indeed!

    Why does everyone want Parks and Rec to end next year? It will be their top comedy and based on NBC’s track record, will probably be so at the end of next year as well. I think P & R has a few more seasons in it…or at least a Ron Swanson spin-off.

  • Pinwiz11

    Talk all the doom and gloom about Smash you want, I still got a second season of the show (and an improved one at that) so I win.

  • Patrick Ausgewahlt

    It is kind of depressing to see Thursday on NBC (formerly filled with the high rated Friends, Seinfeld, and ER) to have fallen so far down. Community, Parks and Rec, The Office, and 1600 Penn are still some of the best shows left on TV.

  • Allen

    If I’m right, Parks and Community will both finish this season with 84 episodes each. Maybe a 16 episode final season for both to reach 100?

  • Honey Badger

    WOW, The Jay Leno Show in primetime was doing better in ratings than the current shows NBC has in 10 pm slot. Although the show was making a lot of money for NBC when they took it off the air (due to its low cost) , NBC affiliates hated it as a lead in for their local news.

    NBC 10pm shows 18-49 ratings now: Monday – NBC Deception 1.2 18-49 rating, Sunday – NBC Saturday Night Live in the 90s (9-11PM)- R 1.4, Saturday – NBC Saturday Night Live (10-11PM) -R 0.7, Friday – NBC Rock Center With Brian Williams 1.1, Thursday – NBC Law And Order: SVU -R 0.9, Wednesday – NBC Chicago Fire 1.9, Tuesday (two weeks ago due to The State of the Union 2013 this week) , NBC Smash (9-11PM) -Season Premiere 1.2,
    Not only is NBC in big trouble, it looks like they have given up. They put repeats and low cost shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday that have no chance of getting good ratings. Looks like they are going back to cutting costs, just like in the old The Jay Leno Show Primetime days.
    Look at what NBC id with their complete weekend line up of shows: Friday: NBC Dateline (8-10PM) 1.3, NBC Rock Center With Brian Williams 1.1 Saturday: NBC American Ninja Warrior 0.6, NBC Chicago Fire -R 0.4, NBC Saturday Night Live (10-11PM)- -R 0.7 Sunday: NBC Dateline 1.0, NBC Betty White’s Off Their Rockers – R 0.9, NBC Saturday Night Live in the 90s (9-11PM)- R 1.4

    “NBC originally expected to benefit by offering an inexpensive comedic alternative to the procedurals[49] (“100% more comedy and 98% fewer murders!”[26]) and other one-hour dramas that typically air at 10 pm, and by offering new episodes 46 weeks each year versus 22.[12][26][50][51] While Leno was not necessarily expected to be competitive with the higher-rated scripted shows on ABC and CBS in its time slot, its projected cost of production was far lower and thus it was expected to be profitable to the network,[10] and product integration intended to make the show “as DVR-proof as you can be on television in this era”.[52] Each airing of Leno cost about $350,000[53] to $400,000[48] versus up to $3 million for an hour-long drama, saving NBC $13 million each week without the network needing the show to beat its competitors.[48] Those costs include the services of 22 writers,[31][54] whom Leno called the “top 5% of the highest-paid . . . in the Guild.”[23]”

    “NBC saw a 1.5 rating for the show in the 18–49 demographic as “viable”[8] and a 1.8 as a “home run”.[56] NBC told Leno that at a 1.5 rating, NBC makes $300 million a year.[54] Tonight at 11:30 pm earned about a 1.3[10] to 1.5;[48] the television audience at 10 pm is 40% larger than at 11:30 pm, and the network hoped Leno’s audience would also grow.[51] Industry observers have cited a range of ratings, from 1.7[53] to 2,[48][57] as being necessary for the show to succeed at 10 pm. By comparison, 2.5 is generally necessary for a 10 pm drama to succeed;[56] those that earned a 1.7 or less during the 2008–2009 season were generally cancelled.[8] NBC’s prime-time dramas averaged about 2 during 2008–2009.”

    “The first episode of The Jay Leno Show earned “fast national” estimates of 17.7 million viewers, an 11 Nielsen rating (5.1 among persons 18–49) and an 18 share, significantly above both his Tonight finale and the debut of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien in all categories.[58] By the second week and competing against season premieres, the audience fell to six million viewers, still on par with or exceeding NBC projections.[59] As of November 1, 2009, The Jay Leno Show has averaged a 1.98 in the adults 18–49 ratings and 6.594 million viewers.[60] During the week before Christmas, the ratings dropped to 1.4 during the week.[61] Prior to the controversy regarding the move of the Jay Leno Show to 11:35 p.m., viewership bottomed out at 4.799 million viewers, although there was a slight bump as word of the controversy broke.[62]”

    “Though the show had been meeting the network’s projections for the show itself, it has been severely detrimental to the ratings of the late local news on NBC affiliates. Several stations across the country have seen what is known as the “Leno Effect”, where the lower audience for Leno (as compared to NBC’s scripted prime time offerings) translated directly into a domino effect of severe audience drops for late local news (on the order of 25–30%),[63][64] effects that NBC had underestimated.[16]

  • SJ


    I’m a huge Parks and Rec fan myself, but when a network’s best comedy pulls a 1.8-1.9 on a good day (but usually sets in in the 1.5-1.6 range) it’s time for a change. Sure, reward it for being the best out of a bad batch by giving it one final season but let’s not kid ourselves, if NBC wants out of the gutter, they can’t rely on shows that get mid-1s to anchor their nights.

  • Dan

    And Smash will go to certain after tonight’s airing but likely wont make the headline until 2 weeks from now.

  • SJ


    P&R will have 90 at the end of the season. It’s got a six-episode one-season head start over Community. They would end next season with 103 and 97 episodes, respectively. So, on average – 100. ;)

  • Dan

    So many bubble comedies certain to be cancelled. Up All Night is basically cancelled and Community and Whitney wont go lower than likely to be cancelled but both may easily be. It seems Parks and Go ON could be the only comedies on the fall schedule but as far as Whitney and Community, NBC may bring back at least one of them. Community for Thursdays and Whitney for Wednesdays.

  • SJ


    I fully expect Go On, The New Normal and Smash all to dip below a 1.0 tonight.

  • Allison

    NBC are fools if they renew TNN. It is a very weak show. Weak and boring storyline. Very few people are interested in watching a couple – gay or straight – go through the process of having a baby. Even the hilarious Tina Fey and Amy Poehler struggled to make ‘Baby Mama’ interesting. Even worse for TNN is the fact that the show is full of ridiculous stereotypes, cartoonish characters and generally poor, unfunny writing. It needs to end. Cancel it.

  • Dan

    @SJ – Thats true but NBC will salvage what they have to build a block. If they cancel Parks because its slightly lower rated than their highest rated departing comedy then NBC would have nothing for Thursdays and they would have to start from scratch.

    Parks & Rec and Go On WILL be renewed.
    Community and Whitney may be renewed.
    30 Rock and The Office are in their final seasons.
    Up All Night, 1600 Penn, Guys With Kids and The New Normal are gone.

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