Our Renew / Cancel Index predicts potential renewal or cancellation for scripted broadcast primetime shows for the 2010-11 season (results through October 11, 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
Til Death (S), (F) 0.25
Brothers (F) 0.28
Dollhouse (F), (P) 0.30
Fringe 0.70
Bones (P) 0.88
Lie To Me (P) 0.92
Glee (P) 1.02
American Dad (P) 1.08
The Simpsons (P) 1.29
The Cleveland Show (P) 1.33
Family Guy (P) 1.49
House 1.80

Fox’s Thursday ratings this fall with Bones and Fringe are way up over last fall (when they programmed dreck). Still, on that brutally competitive night, the ratings for the individual shows aren’t much to write home about and fans of Fringe are (not unreasonably) a bit worried. Fringe is at least in some danger, but I still believe Fox had expectations for the night that are close to what they got, and that the show will return next season.

Dollhouse will air during the November sweeps period, but even Joss Whedon is realistic about the prospects for the show. Enjoy the remaining 10 episodes.

10/22 Update: Dollhouse, ‘Til Death and Brothers have been pulled from the Fox schedule for the November sweeps period. Dollhouse will return with double episodes on Friday’s in December. Brothers will move to Sundays. No word yet on the return of ‘Til Death.

It’s highly unlikely that ‘Til Death or Brothers survives until next season as well. ‘Til Death’s producers (Sony) will have the episodes they need for syndication, and presumably won’t have an incentive to give the series away to Fox for nearly free again, and Brothers ratings are just plain awful. Still, because those are the only two open half hour slots till football is over, Fox is in a tricky situation if they want to pull just one of them early unless they double up on the other, which wouldn’t seem to increase the ratings either.

This is a breakdown of Fox 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 it’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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