With news last week of both CBS chief Les Moonves saying “CBS Only Has Room For 3 or 4 New Shows Next Season”. plus CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler saying this about the Wednesday comedy block “We’ve improved the time period, so it’s something we’d like to stick with.” That puts my opinion that CBS would keep just one of The New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarried in danger. I still think that Christine has the slight advantage, but now nothing that happens with those two shows would really surprise me. (that sound you hear is Robert getting ready to call the win in our bet on the CBS comedies).

Worst Week and The Unit are still goners, and Cold Case is not a cinch to return, but that should be the limit of the damages to existing CBS scripted shows. Because of reduced expectations, the Friday shows look good to return. I’m sticking with Eleventh Hour returning. If it gets canceled, I will await a visit by the retentionistas.

3/11 Update: It seems like CBS is doing a bit of public negotiating to knock down the prices on Cold Case and Without A Trace. Even if the story is true, I strongly doubt that both would be canceled at the end of this season.

This is a breakdown of CBS 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.

PROGRAM Net  STD 18-49 (LIVE+SD) (000)  Network Avg. STD 18-49 Renew/ Cancel index Status
EX LIST, THE CBS  2,443  3,850 0.63  canceled
FLASHPOINT CBS  2,664  3,850 0.69  
OLD CHRISTINE CBS  2,673  3,850 0.69  
GARY UNMARRIED CBS  2,868  3,850 0.74  
NUMB3RS CBS  2,934  3,850 0.76  
UNIT, THE CBS  3,072  3,850 0.80  
GHOST WHISPERER CBS  3,352  3,850 0.87  
COLD CASE CBS  3,464  3,850 0.90  
WITHOUT A TRACE CBS  3,548  3,850 0.92  
ELEVENTH HOUR CBS  3,778  3,850 0.98  
WORST WEEK CBS  3,835  3,850 1.00  
CSI: NY CBS  4,314  3,850 1.12  
NCIS CBS  4,579  3,850 1.19  
BIG BANG THEORY, THE CBS  4,615  3,850 1.20  
MENTALIST, THE CBS  4,695  3,850 1.22  
CSI: MIAMI CBS  4,736  3,850 1.23  
CRIMINAL MINDS CBS  4,754  3,850 1.23  
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER CBS  4,900  3,850 1.27  
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT CBS  5,143  3,850 1.34  
TWO AND A HALF MEN CBS  6,205  3,850 1.61  
CSI CBS  6,449  3,850 1.68  


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.

The New Adventures of Old Christine:  CBS has tried to create a second “comedy block” this season on Wednesday by moving Christine from Monday and slotting freshman Gary Unmarried. Both have been among CBS’s worst scripted performers, but will Christine be given the benefit of the doubt?

Worst Week got the best slot in CBS’s lineup for a new comedy, but has performed just below average for the net. Reports are that CBS expected much more in that prime timeslot and that Worst Week will not be coming back next season.

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.

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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