Based on NBC’s recent string of failures, you might be surprised that both of NBC’s newest shows, Southland and Parks & Recreation did well enough in their initial airings to warrant renewal. If they can hold reasonably steady, they’ll both be coming back.

I’d be surprised to see all four of these shows renewed: Chuck, My Name is Earl, Law & Order, and Medium. But I’d be equally surprised to see all of them canceled. My guess is 3 of the 4 make it, including Law & Order.

Four other shows are certain to be canceled: KingsLife, Knight Rider and Kath & Kim.

Starting this week, instead of using the 18-49 viewership for the calculations, I’m going to instead use the 18-49 rating, which simply is the percentage of the US 18-49 TV adults population. (There are an estimated 132 million US adults 18-49 in TV households, so a 1.0 rating is equal to 1.32 million adults 18-49). Since we only get 18-49 demo ratings for each show on an overnight basis, that makes the values in the Renew/Cancel Index easier to compare with the overnight demo ratings results.

This is a breakdown of NBC scripted shows and their renewal and cancelation prospects.  Here are the others:

Our Renew / Cancel index predicts potential renewal for *next* season: Canceled/Not Returning, In Danger, or Renewal Likely for 2009-10, Renewal Announced.

PROGRAM Net  STD 18-49 Rating (LIVE+SD)  Network Avg. STD 18-49 rating Renew/ Cancel index Status
CRUSOE NBC 0.9  2.3 0.39  canceled
KINGS NBC 1.2  2.3 0.52  
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS NBC 1.3  2.3 0.57  returning
LIPSTICK JUNGLE NBC 1.5  2.3 0.65  canceled
LIFE (WED) NBC 1.6  2.3 0.70  
KNIGHT RIDER NBC 1.8  2.3 0.78  
MY OWN WORST ENEMY NBC 2.0  2.3 0.87  canceled
KATH & KIM NBC 2.1  2.3 0.91  
LAW AND ORDER NBC 2.1  2.3 0.91  
CHUCK NBC 2.4  2.3 1.04  
MY NAME IS EARL NBC 2.5  2.3 1.09  
MEDIUM NBC 2.5  2.3 1.09  
SOUTHLAND NBC 3.1  2.3 1.35  
30 ROCK NBC 3.2  2.3 1.39  returning
LAW AND ORDER:SVU NBC 3.3  2.3 1.43  returning
E.R. NBC 3.4  2.3 1.48  final season
HEROES NBC 3.6  2.3 1.57  returning
OFFICE NBC 4.0  2.3 1.74  returning

The Renew/Cancel Index is a show’s Season To Date adults 18-49 viewership divided by its networks Season to Date average 18-49 viewership. I have adjusted the NBC adults 18-49 season to date average to remove the increase (of 370,000) it received during the Super Bowl week because that increase had nothing to do with the normal viewership of the network or any of its other shows.


Friday night – Friday is quickly becoming an 18-49 wasteland, so these shows may be allowed a lower threshold for success than shows on other nights. I honestly have no idea what criteria the CW will use in keeping or not keeping Everybody Hates Chris and The Game. Because of that, and the recent renewals at other networks of poor rated comedies, I’m indicating renewal for them.

Life moved to Wednesday beginning November 5. This is its Wednesday only STD 18-49 average as calculated by me. For past reference, the 4 Life episodes that aired on Fridays averaged 2.043 million adults 18-49.

Heroes is definitely back for next season.

How did we come up with our Index? We found that last season, the future of a show was nearly directly related to its adults 18-49 average viewers divided by its networks 18-49 average viewers. Many other factors may matter, but they all seemed to boil down to that one number. Because American Idol so skewed Fox’s 18-49 average, and would make nearly all Fox shows fall into the “cancel” range, for Fox, I used the last STD 18-49 average *before* Idol. Last season, if a show had better than 92% of its network’s average 18-49 viewership (0.92 in our index) it was pretty safe, below that level it was in danger.

Remember that plenty can change before the end of the season, particularly for the shows with indexes between 0.80 and last season’s renewal line of 0.92. The list is presented in a (and has to be, since I cannot predict future ratings) “what would happen if the season ended today” mode. Could the renewal line be 0.86 this season? Possibly. It might also be 0.95. Might it be 0.70? No chance.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All viewership numbers are Live+SD.

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Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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