The 2017-18 TV season brought ratings declines for scripted shows across the broadcast networks: All but a handful of shows saw their numbers fall, and there were precious few new series that drew even above-average ratings.

But for the second straight year, networks have (at least at this point) decided to renew close to half of their new series for next season. Last year’s freshman crop had the lowest failure rate since we started tracking new series in 2009-10, and this season will end up with, at worst, the third-lowest rate of the past nine years.

Here is the year-by-year breakdown:

Season New scripted shows Renewed Canceled Failure rate
2009-10 33 13 20 60.6%
2010-11 37 10 27 73.0%
2011-12 44 16 28 63.6%
2012-13 39 13 26 66.7%
2013-14 44 13 31 70.5%
2014-15 46 22 24 52.2%
2015-16 44 17 27 61.4%
2016-17 46 23 23 50.0%
2017-18* 39 17 19 48.7%
Totals 372 144 225 60.5%

*TBD: “Take Two” (ABC), “Champions” (NBC), “Law & Order True Crime” (NBC), “Reverie” (NBC)

In the rather unlikely event that all five shows still in limbo earn second seasons, the new-series failure rate for 2017-18 will be under 44 percent. Even if all five are canceled, however, the 56.4 percent fail rate will be lower than six of the preceding eight seasons. (The revivals of “Will & Grace” and “Roseanne” are included in the statistics.)

Ratings may still be the biggest driver of renewal decisions, but ownership of a show is becoming vital in an age where linear viewership is on the wane.

Thirteen of the 17 shows renewed as of posting time were produced by the network’s studio sibling, meaning the parent company of both controls whatever back-end profits are to be made from streaming and syndication deals. Of the four renewals that came from outside studios, two of those shows — CBS’ “Young Sheldon,” produced by Warner Bros., and ABC’s Sony-produced “The Good Doctor” — were the highest-rated new shows of the season. (ABC Studios is a co-producer of “The Good Doctor,” but Sony controls distribution.)

In contrast, only nine of the 17 canceled series were produced by in-house studios, and all of them had below-average ratings. All five shows still in limbo were produced by sibling studios.

Here’s how each individual network stacks up.

ABC

New scripted shows Renewed Canceled Failure rate TBD Worst case
13 4 8 61.5% 1 69.2%

 

“The Good Doctor” was a hit, and “Station 19” and “Splitting Up Together” put up decent numbers late in the season. But it was not a great year for ABC, which had more misfires than any other network and also canceled its top-rated series, “Roseanne.” The network also had one of the weakest new shows of the season in “Ten Days in the Valley” (0.4 rating in adults 18-49).

The lone undecided show is “Take Two,” which premieres June 21.

CBS

New scripted shows Renewed Canceled Failure rate
8 4 4 50%

 

In addition to “Young Sheldon,” on-brand dramas “SWAT,” “SEAL Team” and “Instinct” (the latter two produced by CBS Studios) also made it to 2018-19. The network whiffed with its other new comedies, however, canceling “9JKL,” “Me, Myself & I” and “Living Biblically,” along with drama “Wisdom of the Crowd.”

The CW

New scripted shows Renewed Canceled Failure rate
4 2 2 50%

 

“Black Lightning” tied “Supernatural” for the second-highest rating on The CW at 0.6 in adults 18-49 (live + same-day). “Dynasty” survived low on-air ratings by making a profit overseas. “Valor” and “Life Sentence,” the season’s lowest-rated show, fizzled.

FOX

New scripted shows Renewed Canceled Failure rate
6 4 2 25%

 

All of FOX’s new series came from 20th Century Fox TV, which in a year or so will no longer be affiliated with the network. The network is staying with home-grown shows for the time being, however: Drama “9-1-1” was the network’s No. 2 show in same-day ratings and No. 1 with delayed viewing added, while “The Gifted,” “The Orville” and “The Resident” were all at or slightly above the network average.

“Ghosted” joined fellow comedy “LA to Vegas” in cancellation as FOX got rid of all of its live-action comedies from the season (including veterans “The Mick,” “The Last Man on Earth” and “New Girl”).

NBC

New scripted shows Renewed Canceled Failure rate TBD Worst case
8 3 3 37.5% 2 62.5%

 

After a solid start, “Will & Grace” faded considerably in the second half of its run; still, NBC plans on keeping it around through 2019-20. “Good Girls” performed decently behind “The Voice” in the spring, and “AP Bio” was, to say the least, a surprise renewal. “The Brave,” “Champions” and “Rise” all underperformed.

“Reverie” has been fairly steady but also fairly low in the early summer, and “Law & Order True Crime” is on the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” plan.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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