At first blush, the 2015-16 TV season looks like a pretty weak year for new series. After doing some number crunching, however, it’s not quite as dire as it seems.
The five broadcast networks ordered 44 new scripted series for the season. None of them can fairly be called breakout hits, which may not speak well to their multi-season viability. But in terms of just making it to Season 2, the recently completed season was one of the best for new shows in recent years.
Seventeen of those shows have been renewed and 27 canceled*, a failure rate of 61.4 percent. That’s slightly better than the 64 percent failure rate for all first-year scripted shows since 2009-10, as you can see here:
|Season||New scripted shows||Renewed||Canceled||Failure rate|
*Note: This story and chart have been updated from the original to reflect the cancellations of “Uncle Buck,” “American Gothic,” “BrainDead” and “Houdini & Doyle,” which weren’t determined at the time of the original post.
In each of the past two seasons, the networks have collectively renewed about half their rookie shows. That could be a play for stability amid declining viewership or an effort to keep shows owned by sister studios alive for possible streaming and syndication deals down the road, or just a recognition that a so-so rating in hand is maybe better than an unknown for yet another new show.
Follow the links below for breakdowns of each individual network’s performance.