Our Renew / Cancel Index predicts potential renewal or cancellation for scripted broadcast primetime shows for the 2010-11 season (results through October 18, 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
Law & Order (F), (P) 0.49
Trauma (P) 0.68
Parks & Recreation (P) 0.71
Mercy (P) 0.72
Community 0.85
Heroes (P) 0.90
Law & Order: SVU (P) 0.91
30 Rock (P) 1.07
The Office (P) 1.49

Mercy and Trauma are both certain to be canceled by the end of the season. Which will go first? Conventional wisdom is that Trauma’s high cost gets it yanked first, but many things can influence that.

Community’s average continues to decline, both it and Parks & Recreation have to be regarded as cancel-worthy, but there is a chance amidst all the carnage this season that NBC will have to hold their noses and bring back some way below average shows. Prime candidates for desperate moves like that are half hour sitcoms.

30 Rock’s premiere was hardly stellar, it did no better post-Office than Community, but it’s in no danger as long as it stays there.

Although SNL: Weekend Update is a scripted show, since it was limited run, I’m not including it.

This is a breakdown of NBC 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 a 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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