Our Renew / Cancel Index predicts potential renewal or cancellation for scripted broadcast primetime shows for the 2010-11 season (results through November 8, 2009):

  • Likely To Be Canceled By May, 2010
  • Some Danger Of Being Canceled By May, 2010
  • Likely to Be Renewed For The 2010-11 Season
Program Renew/ Cancel Index
The Beautiful Life: TBL (P) 0.49*
Melrose Place (P) 0.61
90210 (P) 0.82
Smallville (F), (P) 0.87
Gossip Girl (P) 0.93
One Tree Hill (P) 0.94
Supernatural (S), (P) 0.98
Vampire Diaries (P) 1.38

For most broadcast shows, exile to Friday means your network thinks the show is past its time, and should peacefully fade away without damaging the ratings of shows on Sunday-Thursday. That’s likely the idea that the CW had when it put Smallville on Fridays this season. But defying conventional wisdom (and to many fans, the wishes of CW chief Dawn Ostroff), not only has Smallville refused to go quietly, it was tied for second best adults 18-49 rating on the CW last week. I know that the CW targets women 18-34, but be certain they sell advertising based on whatever attractive demo ratings they get. Those results cannot be ignored.

With Melrose Place the only show currently in the CW lineup certain to be canceled, fans await the return of Heather Locklear as potential salvation. Dream on.

I realize that with an Index of 0.82 Gossip Girl 90210 wouldn’t be “green” for any other network, but its women’s 18-34 ratings are above average for the CW (unfortunately we don’t get the same level of data for that demo for me to be able to easily use it). That, plus the fact that show’s the televised embodiment of everything Dawn Ostroff has staked her network on, guarantees it will be around as long as Dawn is.

*I have frozen The Beautiful Life’s Index at its value the week of cancellation.

This is a breakdown of CW scripted shows and their renewal and cancellation prospects. Here are links to the other networks:


The Renew/Cancel Index is a show’s Season To Date adults 18-49 rating divided by its network’s Season to Date average 18-49 rating. If a show’s season to date 18-49 ratings average equalled its network’s 18-49 average, the show would have an Index of 1.00. Without special factors, scripted shows that were more than 10% below their network’s average are typically canceled by the end of the broadcast primetime season.

Factors that could cause a show to be renewed with well below average index:

  • (F) -Fridays: Shows airing on Fridays have been renewed with significantly lower than average Indexes.
  • (S) – Syndication: Shows nearing syndication (66-88 episodes), often have economic factors that trump ratings leading to renewal.
  • (T) – Third Party: Shows that have a portion of their cost underwritten by a 3rd party can be renewed with substantially lower ratings.
  • (P) – Produced by the network’s production company – For shows on the bubble, being produced by the network’s corporate production company can be a survival advantage. For real losers, it’s unlikely to help.

While I initially tried to designate shows with “plum” timeslots, I think that’s hard to make that call at this point in the season. It’s likely still a factor, but will have to be an “after the fact” call.

What’s the History of the Index and How Did It Do In the Past? Check out the results from the 2007-8 season and the 2008-9 season.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All ratings used are Live+Same Day viewing.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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