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
Law & Order (Monday), (P) 0.68
Mercy (P) 0.70
Trauma (P) 0.71
Parks & Recreation (P) 0.86
Chuck 0.89
Community 0.90
Heroes (P) 0.99
Law & Order: SVU (P) 1.10
Parenthood (P) 1.13
30 Rock (P) 1.17
The Office (P) 1.57

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

Law & Order (F), (P) 0.60
Trauma (P) 0.61
Mercy (P) 0.61
Law & Order (Monday), (P) 0.76
Heroes (P) 0.85
Community 0.89
Parks & Recreation (P) 0.90
Chuck 0.96
Parenthood (P) 1.10
30 Rock (P) 1.17
Law & Order: SVU (P) 1.21
The Office (P) 1.59

Neither Chuck’s nor Heroes’ spring new episode ratings averages are anything to be proud of, but NBC has been crushed so completely, that through May 2, Chuck’s new episode ratings average was still 96% of the network’s new episode scripted average as a whole. Heroes’ relative spring average was lower (85%), but not down in the scary Mercy/Trauma range (61%).

Because of that, I think what hope remains for both shows is that they’re used as replacement show ratings crutches by NBC in its feeble state. No combination of their renewal or cancellation would surprise me at this point.

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.

The only reason I think Law & Order will be renewed based on earlier statements by NBC’s Angela Bromstad that she wasn’t going to be the one to cancel the show short of the broadcast drama longevity record. Definitive statements like that from network execs are extremely rare. The ratings would indicate it gets canceled.

As horrible as the situation is, NBC will try something new other than keeping the ratings losers Trauma and Mercy.

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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