The Cancel Bear is back, and hungry for some more shows.
The 2018-19 TV season is officially underway, and while he’d like to eat as many shows as possible throughout the coming months, the Bear already has a feeling about some shows that could very well make it out alive this season. But before the Bear gets into any of that – here are a few updates and a reminder regarding the Bear’s methods this season.
Once again, the methodology for the Renew/Cancel Index will mostly stay the same as it did last season. However, the Bear is bringing down this year’s adults 18-49 replacement level from a 0.7 to a 0.6 rating on the Big 4 networks. A 30 percent multiplier for Friday shows will remain the same.
Just like for the Big 4 networks, the CW’s replacement level will also be coming down a tenth this year from a 0.2 to a 0.1. With that being said, the bias toward renewal predictions on the network will stay in place.
Now, about those shows that will escape the Bear: “Will & Grace” has already been renewed through 2019-20, so it’s off the table (though the Bear will still track it’s Renew/Cancel numbers). The same goes in a way for “The Big Bang Theory,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Gotham,” “iZombie,” and “Jane the Virgin,” which have already announced their upcoming seasons to be their last. There are also several shows that will likely be protected by the Third Season Rule.
That rule states:
– Shows that have aired two full seasons and are entering their third full season are very likely to be renewed for a fourth.
– Corollary: If such a show is also produced by a network’s corporate-sibling studio (e.g., an ABC Studios show on ABC, or a 20th Century Fox TV show on FOX), it’s a near lock for renewal.
By the end of a third full season, shows will typically have produced 60 or more episodes. A solid, profitable syndication and streaming deal often needs 80 or more episodes, which comes with a fourth season. When studios start to sniff those future profits, they’ll do what they need to get their shows over the finish line.
With the decline in traditional 22-episode seasons, however, there are fewer locks entering the season. Here’s how the third-year broadcast shows are shaping up.
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– “This is Us” (NBC): It may be produced by FOX, and only have 36 episodes under its belt after two seasons, but there’s no way NBC is letting go of the highest-rated drama on broadcast TV.
– “Riverdale” (The CW): While it only has a total of 35 episodes through two seasons, the show ranks as one of the CW’s top 5 shows and actually experienced a small ratings uptick between seasons. Also, did the Bear mention it’s on the CW?
– “American Housewife” (ABC): It’s produced in-house at ABC, has a whopping 47 episodes across two seasons, and will easily cross the 60-episode threshold by the end of its third.
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– “Star” (FOX): It’s only aired 30 episodes to date, but is produced in-house by FOX, has remained inside the network’s top 5 shows year-to-year, and maintained a strong hold on its ratings throughout its first two seasons.
– “Speechless” (ABC): A co-production between ABC and 20th Century FOX, but has 41 episodes after two seasons, and will likely cross 60 episodes this season.
– “Bull” (CBS): 45 episodes to date with 67 by season’s end, produced in-house by CBS, and was the network’s second highest-rated drama last season. A noticeable ratings drop year-to-year could hurt its chances, but otherwise, the future of “Bull” looks fine.
– “MacGyver” (CBS): With the lessened pressure of a Friday night time slot and the extra incentive of it being an in-house production at CBS, it’s likely “MacGyver” will manage to make it to a fourth year on the network, especially after airing a total of 66 episodes by the end of the season.
– “The Good Place” (NBC): Produced in-house by NBCUniversal, has aired 26 episodes and will be at 39 by season’s end. However, because of its low episode counts, its position here as a likely renewal is somewhat shakier than those above it. But if it can maintain a steady ratings streak this season, then the Bear does see “The Good Place” getting a fourth.
– “Man with a Plan” (CBS): It is both produced by CBS and has aired 43 episodes to date, with it expected to cross into the 60+ range by the end of its third season.
Wait and see
– “Lethal Weapon” (FOX): Produced out of house by Warner Bros. Television, with 40 episodes to date and, with a shortened season order this year, will be at just over 50 episodes by season’s end. Aside from shaking up its lead onscreen duo this year, its 1.0 average put it squarely in the middle of FOX’s show rankings last season, and if it falls to lower numbers this year, the chances of “Lethal Weapon” getting a fourth season could become uncertain at best.
The Bear will begin individual network predictions on Oct. 2 for the Big 4 networks and Oct. 16 for The CW.