Wait, How Did Bob's Burgers Get Renewed Again?

Bob's Burgers premiered to a 1.2 A18-49 rating recently for Season 6--and shortly thereafter it was renewed for both a 7th AND an 8th season. In addition, according to SpottedRatings.com, its ratings have been in the "marginal" category for each and every one of its seasons thus far. Historically-adjusted ratings from the same site, which takes into account the natural decline of TV ratings, claims that its strongest season (average of a 2.3) is equivalent to a 1.5 today. So, why the heck was it renewed? The TV Ratings Guide will walk you through a few theories, each equally valid and plausible in my mind.

  1. The Timeslot
Bob's Burgers started in possibly the best time slot a new animated comedy could have: Sunday at 8:30, right in between The Simpsons and Family Guy. It was moved around the schedule a few times (first to 7:00 in the spring--the picture to the left is right from a video made explaining the time slot change via song-- to 7:30 next fall, to 9:30, and now back to 7:30). It is currently the only scripted series to air on a broadcast network in the 7pm hour. FOX seems determined to keep airing shows in that 7:30 time slot, as it did with past animated entries such as King of the Hill.

So that raises a question: If Bob's Burgers was cancelled, what would occupy the dreaded Sunday at 7:30 time slot; and honestly, there aren't that many other options. The Simpsons and Family Guy are going to stay in their anchor positions where they have been for the past millennium, plus Grandfathered and The Grinder are flops that will probably soon be forgotten about.

One option would be Brooklyn 9-9; but given the lower viewing levels for the 7:30 time slot, it would probably be doing just as marginal, if not worse, than Bob's Burgers is right now. They could also try the very-delayed Bordertown--which was probably the biggest possibility--but that now looks like it may be a post-Family Guy show considered they are both products of Seth McFarlane's mind.

Point is: not many other shows worth moving there would be doing much better, if any, than the beloved Belcher family, so why not keep it there?

    2. Merchandise

FOX is currently asking $24.95 for the shirt on the left, which can also be found at your local Newbury Comics store. In fact, FOX's website has an entire page dedicated to Bob's Burgers merchandise, and while that goes for all their shows, this one is on the larger side of options. Canceling Bob's Burgers would mean a very steep decline in merchandise for it--I mean, I'm assuming, it could have always pulled a Family Guy in the situation. And producing a new show in that time slot that gets the merchandise sales and ratings that Bob's Burgers is getting would be a challenge that may not be worth taking.

     3. Syndication

Being in the beginning of its sixth season, Bob's Burgers has been eligible for syndication for some time and has taken full advantage of that. In addition to having Seasons 1-4 available on Netflix, it is also syndicated on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim nighttime block. The block has recently been airing the show three or four times per night, including in the 8:30pm and 9pm time slots. Although I don't have a comprehensive list of all its rerun ratings, I have seen quite a few perform in the high 0s. While no Family Guy, it repeats well and really flows in the block for a show that once saw a 0.6 rating for an original and typically sees first-run ratings only a few tenths above those rerun ratings. So maybe its first-runs are being saved by the fact that Adult Swim wants more episodes for syndication, or maybe FOX hopes that ratings will improve through its syndicated numbers.
     4. Ad Revenue

At the end of the day, networks look for profits. For example, FOX could have made a TON more money off of Empire's first season if they could predict how huge of a ratings success it was. But that's not the point here. The point is that due to being an animated show that takes longer to produce, Bob's Burgers airs slightly less than the average show per half-hour. This means that the network has more time to air more ads, and thus make more money. Even though it has a relatively low advertising rate, it should be kept in mind that slightly more ads are bought during an episode of Bob's Burgers.

So those are my theories about how a show like Bob's Burgers continues to get renewed with marginal ratings. Do you think some points are more valid than others? Do you think Bob's Burgers deserved its renewal? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and maybe it will be featured as the Comment of the Week!

P.S. Our interface automatically sets the first image posted to be the cover photo on the front page. Yes, I know, the image there is very ironic!

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