Our Renew / Cancel Index predicts potential renewal or cancellation for scripted broadcast primetime shows for the 2010-11 season (includes results through October 25, 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
Ugly Betty (S), (F), (P) 0.43
Hank 0.57
Eastwick 0.69
the forgotten 0.70
The Middle 0.73
Castle (P) 0.76
Brothers & Sisters (S), (P) 1.05
FlashForward (P) 1.13
Cougar Town (P) 1.19
Modern Family 1.23
Private Practice (P) 1.31
Desperate Housewives (P) 1.57
Grey’s Anatomy (P) 1.90

Castle’s received a back 9 order to complete the 2009-2010 season. That was never really in doubt for me, the ratings weren’t terrible and the Index predicts what will happen by the end of the season. However, Castle fans prone to fingernail biting might want to invest in sturdy gloves now. I can pretty much guarantee that the future of the show will not be known until the very last minute in May. It will likely attract the most frenzy of the ABC bubble shows because of a combination of its ratings and its fans.

ABC says Eastwick is a quiet success. I guess they’ll be quiet when they cancel the show, because it has zero chance of getting another season. But it does have a crazy fan “Save our Show” campaign!

Ugly Betty only returned to get enough episodes for syndication, which it will have by the end of this season. It’s ratings are dreadful. Could ABC keep it longer to produce even more episodes regardless of the ratings? It’s not 100% out of the question, but it’s a real longshot.

While the forgotten’s ratings have stabilized, they’ve stabilized in the “cancel me” zone and Hank is certain to be canceled as well.

The Middle has received an order for a full season from ABC, but I wouldn’t make plans to watch it next season. Its Index will continue to fall even if its ratings stabilize where they are now. The only reason it’s not red now is that I’ve learned to give half hour comedies a bit more slack until later in the season.

This is a breakdown of ABC 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

blog comments powered by Disqus