Another season is in the books, and the Bear once again has a full belly ahead of entering summer hibernation. If he does say so himself, this was another very strong season for predictions.
The new Renew/Cancel metric that incorporated the idea of replacement-level ratings proved fairly useful in determining what would last and what would not. On the Big 4 networks, 32 of 35 scripted series with an index of 0.5 or better were renewed. On the other end of the chart, 19 of 24 shows with an index of 0.15 or lower were canceled (in both cases, Third Season Rule-protected shows aren’t included in the totals).
Two of the three higher-indexing shows were veteran sitcoms (“2 Broke Girls” and “Last Man Standing”) from studios not affiliated with their networks. The third, “Dr. Ken,” was a victim of ratings declines and ABC’s shift away from comedy on Fridays.
Of the 101 scripted shows to air this season (excluding pre-announced final seasons and “Prison Break,” which is on the “X-Files,” we’ll-do-more-if-the-mood-strikes-us plan), the Bear predicted 85 correctly, with 13 incorrect and three tossups.
That makes for a winning percentage of .856, improving on last season’s .842. Here’s how each network breaks down.
ABC: 22 right, 2 wrong
Best call: Noting that the corporate cards lined up properly for “Agents of SHIELD” — produced in-house, syndication and streaming deals in place — for it to continue despite a same-day rating barely above replacement level.
Misses: “Quantico” was spared by some of the same forces that saved “SHIELD,” namely its being produced by ABC Studios, despite weak numbers. The Bear believed “Last Man Standing” would be renewed but didn’t account for its increasing cost after six seasons or ABC’s scheduling decisions.
CBS: 22 right, 3 wrong
Best call: Staking a claim fairly early in the season that “Criminal Minds” would be fine without one of its original stars. Yes, ratings were down this season, but it was never in real danger.
Misses: “Elementary’s” fat syndication deal kept it alive despite meager first-run numbers. “2 Broke Girls” was victim to the same market forces as “Last Man Standing,” and “Code Black” somehow survived again, thanks to both CBS ownership and a relatively weak crop of new dramas.
FOX: 17 right, 3 wrong, 1 tossup
Best call: Sticking with likely renewals for marginally rated veteran comedies “New Girl” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
Misses: The Bear had “The Exorcist” as a likely cancellation, but FOX was willing to accept marginal numbers from a network-owned show on Fridays. “Son of Zorn” didn’t get the same leeway — it was barely above a tossup in the Bear’s final predictions, but it went down. “24: Legacy” squandered its Super Bowl lead-in.
NBC: 12 right, 5 wrong, 1 tossup
Best call: If the Bear were being cheeky, he’d say “Timeless” — but then even NBC didn’t quite know what it was doing with the show. So let’s go with recognizing “The Good Place” had done enough for a second season.
Misses: NBC gave the Bear the most fits this season, renewing modestly rated comedies “Great News” and “Trial & Error” and dramas “Blindspot” and “Taken” (all rated likely cancellations). “Great News” and “Taken” are in-house shows, and the network and Warner Bros. must have worked out attractive deals for “Trial & Error” and “Blindspot” to continue.
On the other hand, “Chicago Justice” went down despite being produced by Universal Television and having decent, if not great, numbers. Four shows in a franchise seems to be one too many.
The CW: 12 right, 0 wrong, 1 tossup
The Bear’s approach to The CW — a baseline presumption of renewal — paid off. Rookies “No Tomorrow” and “Frequency” were pushed back to likely cancellations after their seasons passed without any note. The lone tossup was “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” which has a very real chance to be the lowest-rated show on network TV for the third season in a row in 2017-18.
The common thread in many of the Bear’s misses this season was not accounting for network ownership (or lack thereof) of shows. That may drive some tweaks to the renew/cancel metric next season.
Till the fall, then, good night, and good luck.