With the fall broadcast television schedule announcements coming next week, it’s time for Robert and I (and you too, in the comments) to make our final guesses as to the renewal chances for broadcast primetime shows.

Without further ado, here are our final predictions of the likelihood of renewal for all the NBC scripted shows that are not already officially renewed (in homage to TVBTN favorite PTI).

Although, the Chuck renewal rumors Robert just posted may have mooted our Chuck guesses.

5/12 Update: Reports are that Heroes has been canceled.

Program Bill Robert
Law & Order: SVU 100% 100%
Law & Order 90% 75%
Heroes 60% 75%
Chuck 60% 70%
Mercy 0% 0%
Trauma 0% 0%

Robert’s comment: Also no cage fight with Heroes/Chuck. I think both will be back. I give Heroes slightly better chances only because its produced in house (NBCU gets the DVD and international licensing revenue) and NBC can sound the “final season” trumpets.

Bill’s comment: After the spring only relative ratings turned me around on Heroes, we’re in general agreement, although Law & Order not returning after all that’s been said publicly would be a bigger surprise to me.

Our Renew / Cancel Index predicts potential renewal or cancellation for scripted broadcast primetime shows for the 2010-11 season (results through May 2, 2010):

  • Likely To Be Canceled By May, 2010
  • Some Danger Of Being Canceled By May, 2010
  • Likely to Be Renewed For The 2010-11 Season
  • Renewed For The 2010-11 Season
Program Renew/ Cancel Index
Friday Night Lights 0.52
Law & Order (Monday), (P) 0.68
Mercy (P) 0.69
Trauma (P) 0.71
Parks & Recreation (P) 0.86
Chuck 0.89
Community 0.90
Heroes (P) 0.99
Law & Order: SVU (P) 1.11
Parenthood (P) 1.12
30 Rock (P) 1.17
The Office (P) 1.57

Relative new episode scripted show ratings since 12/28/09

Friday Night Lights 0.51
Law & Order (F), (P) 0.60
Mercy (P) 0.60
Trauma (P) 0.61
Law & Order (Monday), (P) 0.75
Heroes (P) 0.85
Community 0.89
Parks & Recreation (P) 0.89
Chuck 0.95
Parenthood (P) 1.10
30 Rock (P) 1.16
Law & Order: SVU (P) 1.20
The Office (P) 1.58

Friday Night Light’s fate is sealed. It it currently airing its fourth season on NBC, it will finish producing one more season (it’s fifth) and then end.

Note that Chuck’s ratings average contains two repeat episodes, and Heroes contains none, most of NBC’s fall shows have many repeat episodes factored into their ratings averages.

Fans will know the future of all the NBC shows no later than the NBC upfront presentation on May 17.

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 (in NBC’s calculation  I have removed the ratings effects of the weeks that included the Winter Olympics). 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. Note: In past years I used the Live+Same Day ratings averages for both shows and networks, I can no longer get both of those numbers from Nielsen, only Most Current ratings averages which are Live+7 ratings when available and Live+Same Day ratings within the past 2 weeks.

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.

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: ©2010 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All ratings used are Live+Same Day viewing.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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