We are a day into the 2017-18 TV season, and the Cancel Bear is awake and hungry. There are certain shows, however, that the Bear believes will most likely escape his clutches, even at this early point in the season.
Before we get to that, a little bit of housekeeping. The methodology for the Renew/Cancel Index will stay the same as it did last season, with a 0.7 rating in adults 18-49 considered replacement level — that was the average for series yanked prematurely and Dead Shows Walking in 2016-17 — on the Big 4 network and a 30 percent multiplier for Friday shows.
The CW’s replacement level will remain at 0.2, and the bias toward renewal predictions given the network’s track record over several years stays in place too.
Now, about those shows that will escape the Bear. “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Goldbergs,” “Modern Family,” “The Simpsons,” “This Is Us” and the “Will & Grace” revival have all been renewed through 2018-19, so they’re off the table (though the Bear will still track their Renew/Cancel numbers). A few others will be protected by the Third Season Rule.
That rule states:
– Shows that have aired two full seasons and are entering their third full season are very likely to be renewed for a fourth.
– Corollary: If such a show is also produced by a network’s corporate-sibling studio (e.g., an ABC Studios show on ABC, or a 20th Century Fox TV show on FOX), it’s a near lock for renewal.
By the end of a third full season, shows will typically have produced 60 or more episodes. A solid, profitable syndication and streaming deal often needs 80 or more episodes, which comes with a fourth season. When studios start to sniff those future profits, they’ll do what they need to get their shows over the finish line.
With the decline in traditional 22-episode seasons, however, there are fewer locks entering the season. Here’s how the third-year broadcast shows stack up.
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– “Supergirl” (The CW): 44 episodes to date, produced by CW co-owner Warner Bros. and, oh yeah, it’s on The CW.
– “Chicago Med” (NBC): 41 episodes so far, produced in house and will be at or near 60 by the end of this season.
– “Legends of Tomorrow” (The CW): Only 33 episodes through two seasons, but no way The CW cancels a top-4 show on the network. Plus, that Netflix money is already flowing.
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– “Life in Pieces” (CBS): Produced by an outside studio (20th Century Fox), but has 44 episodes with 66 by season’s end.
– “Blindspot” (NBC): 45 episodes so far, produced outside of NBC (by Warner Bros.). Its ratings took a dive last season, falling 45 percent. But the lower pressure of Friday night could work in its favor.
– “Superstore” (NBC): Just 32 episodes to date, but produced in-house and airing on a network that needs comedy building blocks.
– “Lucifer” (FOX): Outside producer (Warner Bros.) and 31 episodes to date, but will be at 50-plus by spring. That’s close enough to sniff a decent streaming package.
– “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (The CW): 31 episodes so far, 44 by season’s end. But The CW tends to give most of its veteran shows, even very low-rated ones, four seasons.
– “Quantico” (ABC): It’s made by ABC Studios, has ai and has international appeal thanks to star Priyanka Chopra. But it has only 13 episodes for 2017-18 after Season 2 fell 42 percent in ratings. That’s probably enough, but its status is a little shakier than the shows above it.
– “Code Black” (CBS): The Bear has twice been wrong about this show. Even with just 34 episodes so far and likely not more than 50 by season’s end, the CBS-produced show may limp into another season once more.
Wait and see
– “Shades of Blue” (NBC): Jennifer Lopez’s NBC drama has produced just 20 episodes over its first two seasons, which places it outside the rule’s protection (see “American Crime” last year). Decent-enough ratings and Lopez’s continued interest may be enough to keep it around for a fourth run, but time will tell.
The Bear will begin individual network predictions on Oct. 3 for the Big 4 networks and Oct. 17 for The CW.