Final CBS Renew/Cancel: 2 Broke Girls, Code Black, Elementary, + More

Welcome to the final TV Ratings Guide's CBS Renew/Cancel Watch of the 2016-17 season. All in-season scripted, primetime shows are included in the prediction table below. An analysis of any new prediction changes or observations follows. My current predictions are as of May 6, 2017.

The key to the right indicates which colors are associated with each prediction. The data in the table includes season lows, highs, and averages (Adults 18-49 demo), as well as the year-to-year changes for returning shows that have not already been officially renewed or canceled. These are provided for reasoning with and understanding my predictions. The shows are ordered by their season averages against only other scripted CBS shows.

    Season Low High /Average     
 Y2Y Change
 The Big Bang Theory 
2.5 / 3.8 / 3.12
1.3 / 2.2 / 1.75
Kevin Can Wait
1.1 / 2.7 / 1.63
1.1 / 2.2 / 1.46
The Great Indoors
0.8 / 1.9 / 1.44
1.2 / 1.7 / 1.43
Criminal Minds
1.2 / 1.9 / 1.38
1.0 / 1.7 / 1.33
2 Broke Girls
1.0 / 1.7 / 1.31
Man with a Plan
1.0 / 1.6 / 1.27
Life in Pieces
1.0 / 1.5 / 1.26
Superior Donuts
1.0 / 1.9 / 1.20
1.1 / 1.5 / 1.20
NCIS: New Orleans
1.0 / 1.5 / 1.20
Hawaii Five-0
0.9 / 1.4 / 1.16
Blue Bloods
0.8 / 1.3 / 1.14
0.9 / 1.7 / 1.08
The Odd Couple
0.9 / 1.1 / 1.02
Code Black
0.7 / 1.2 / 0.97
Madam Secretary
0.7 / 1.1 / 0.94
Pure Genius
0.7 / 1.0 / 0.86
Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
0.7 / 0.9 / 0.84
Training Day
0.3 / 0.9 / 0.59
0.6 / 0.8 / 0.68
0.5 / 0.8 / 0.65
0.3 / 0.8 / 0.45

To recap what's happened so far this season:
  • The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Mom, Criminal Minds, NCIS: LA, Life in Pieces, Scorpion, NCIS: New Orleans, Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods, and Madam Secretary are the continuing series that have been officially given additional seasons.
  • Kevin Can Wait, Bull, Man with a Plan, Superior Donuts, and MacGyver are the freshman series that have been officially given additional seasons.
  • Doubt was the only series pulled from the schedule this season after airing just two episodes. It won't be included in the breakdown analysis below for obvious reasons. 
  • The Great Indoors, 2 Broke Girls, Code Black, The Odd Couple, Pure Genius, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Training Day, Elementary, and Ransom are the series that remain in contention for renewal, some considerably more than others.
  • As the season closes out, CBS appears to be (rightfully) disappointed in the performance of its latest post-TBBT beneficiary led by Joel McHale. They decided to air the final two episodes of its first season on Mondays at 9:30, which is already disastrous with the penultimate episode scoring a 0.8 in the demo, its lowest data point to date. CBS left it out of its mass renewals in March, leading us to assume its demise internally. The fact that the network already renewed three freshman (Kevin Can Wait, Man with a Plan, Superior Donuts) means that this is really the odd duck out as far as newbies go. Its seasonal average (1.44) is very mediocre considering the maximum exposure all season long. My final prediction: Likely to be Canceled.
  • The future of the Kat Dennings-Beth Behrs comedy is one of the hardest, if not the hardest prediction to be made across television this year. After six years, many timeslots and moves to fill in where CBS needed it to, the show has died down to the 1.0 range. The show is not produced by CBS, it's undoubtedly more expensive than a new replacement show would be, and it follows in the wake of a comedy department that saw the surprising cancellation of Mike & Molly last year after filling a similar capacity for six seasons. That decision led many to believe, including myself, that the execs wouldn't be so kind to the aging 2 Broke Girls in the future. Now we're here, the future, where the show was not included in the mass renewals that gave future installments to Mom (Season 5) and Life In Pieces (Season 3). Also renewed for next season include the previously mentioned freshman comedies Kevin Can Wait, Man with a Plan, and Superior Donuts, as well as the staple The Big Bang Theory (renewed through Season 12). The fall schedule will also include TBBT spinoff Sheldon, and perhaps another new series yet to be ordered. If CBS keeps its two hours of comedy next fall, that's already 7-8 comedies ready and willing for eight spots. The argument for 2 Broke Girls is that it could get a final 13, which is probably what it should exclusively hope for at this point in time when the competition is fierce. 
  • The difference between the way CBS handled Mike & Molly and how they would theoretically handle 2 Broke Girls' cancellation is that the former was announced as the final season while the season was still airing, so it could be advertised as having a series finale for the fans. In the latter's case, a cancellation would come after it aired its season 6 finale, meaning it's an after-the-fact RIP that would be sour for its long-standing fans. In addition, the sixth season of Mike & Molly was already short at 13 episodes, whereas 2 Broke Girls had a full 22, signaling that the attitude towards the latter was more committal and a sign of confidence that M&M didn't have. Reportedly, CBS is in intense negotiations with Warner Bros. TV over the possibility of a continuation, and co-showrunner Michelle Nader is insistent that they are not done with this show and that the season 6 finale was decisively not a series finale. Of course, no one wants to end their show prematurely, which doesn't make this case special or more deserving of renewal, but surely the staunch attitude of not catering to a season six finale that COULD act as a series finale makes Nader's and 2BG a case to still be talked out extensively. WBTV makes $1.7 million/episode from its syndication deal with TBS, which makes this an important negotiation for WBTV. The fact that it wasn't renewed, but hasn't been cancelled either, despite being CBS's second-longest running sitcom still on air that has immense fan support and an apparent impassioned creative pitch to continue, has made me lean in its favor in these final days. I'm expecting this one will be drawn out in front of its fans, which could help propel some interest in its final season of at least 13 episodes. My final prediction: Likely to be Renewed. 
  • The second major question for CBS is its relationship going forward with its Marcia Gay Harden-led medical drama. Against its fellow fall freshman Limitless and Supergirl last year, the low-rated series, which only produced an 18-episode first season, was the only one to make it back on CBS for another season. It had a lower average than both Limitless and Supergirl, but other factors (including Supergirl's move to The CW) made it a more feasible option to keep Code Black around, and apparently CBS champions it internally. The show took on some creative changes in its second attempt at success, with Rob Lowe notably joining the principal cast. However, the ratings still dropped almost 24 percent year-to-year. Originally, the second season order was for 13 episodes, but CBS ordered an additional 3 before replacing it on the schedule again with Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, which has failed to impress and rate any better. A renewal for this show would come from two sources: internal confidence at CBS, and a licensing reduction by co-producer ABC Studios. I've been a supporter of the show's chances to return for months, as it seems like a reliable albeit low performer for the network that they could use to phase out the likes of Elementary and Madam Secretary on Sundays next season, with Code Black taking the 9pm slot and pushing Madam Secretary to 10. However, recent weeks and the closing in on upfronts have made me doubt this show's ability to start over for a third time when it didn't produce growth and it only has 34 episodes in the can. It's over two full seasons away from reaching a syndication deal, if it even would have enough ratings fuel by then to warrant such a deal, and CBS could probably get by without it on the schedule. Despite being a different network and facing different circumstances, The Mysteries of Laura on NBC was a show that got a lot of misguided renewal support for a season 3 that ended up amounting to zilch. My gut is telling me that a similar situation of false confidence is occurring with Code Black, unfortunately for the fans of the show, which has been fairly well-received. My final prediction: Likely to be Canceled.
  • The odd comedy couple out this season is Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon. The series has had limited seasons for three years with increasingly troubling results in terms of ratings, where it has consistently been at the bottom of the heap. As it finished the year with 38 episodes and a 1.02 average in the A18-49 demo, there's no foreseeable path ahead, especially to syndication, that would make sense for CBS to pursue as this show is simply unneeded. Matthew Perry's tweets (antagonistic re: CBS execs) on the subject of the show's future are just as telling that it's done at CBS. My final prediction: Certain to be Canceled.

  • The medical drama from Jason Katims wasn't given an extended order from CBS beyond its initial 13 episodes, which made it the first evident victim of the fall. It averaged a measly 0.86 during its run, which makes a rival medical show like Code Black look much better in long term prospects. Perhaps CBS was hoping that Pure Genius would become what Code Black hasn't, but the latter is still the stronger show. Katims has a new show in Rise to focus on at NBC, so I'm sure he's not fretting over this failure. My final prediction: Certain to be Canceled.

  • The Criminal Minds spinoff is down nearly 32 percent from its season one performance in the post-Criminal Minds slot where it again replaced Code Black. Despite the mothership having been renewed already for a thirteenth season, the spinoff was left in the cold and has not been given word yet that it could continue for a third edition. With a worse seasonal average than Code Black, which has it beat in episodes (34 to 26), the drama doesn't seem to have the internal or data support it needs to continue. CBS renewed the series last year after a relatively strong debut, but it soon fizzled and if it comes down to this or Code Black, I am willing to bet on the latter returning. The lack of a renewal through this point suggests that CBS has been unimpressed. While Code Black hasn't been renewed either, it's more understandable that CBS would wait to see how Beyond Borders did before coming to a decision by May. This scenario seems like another CSI: Cyber; a failed spinoff that gets a couple of tries, but ultimately dies in brand fatigue. My final prediction: Likely to be Canceled.

  • Dredging up familiar movie properties is a gamble, as it's worked somewhat for the likes of FOX's Lethal Weapon, perhaps for FOX's The Exorcist and NBC's Taken (their fates yet to be determined), and failed for the likes of FOX's Minority Report and CBS's Limitless. The recognizable property following four feature films got off to a very slow start, endured one of its leads (Bill Paxton) dying suddenly, and was moved to Saturdays in expected burn-off fashion. CBS will let this one go quietly amidst the chaos. My final prediction: Certain to be Canceled.

  • The third and final big question mark on CBS this season: Elementary. The fifth season show has a loaded $3 million/episode syndication deal that has propelled its early renewal for the past few years for good reason. Les Moonves has touted how profitable the show is and how it's a staple for the network. However, this year was a little different, with the mass renewal not including the prized drama. That's not that surprising for those who follow ratings, as it's CBS's second worst rated show of the year to date with a 0.65 average, and that's only better than a weak Saturday night program (Ransom, 0.45). It's been recently positioned on Sunday nights at 10pm, where football typically causes regular delays. The most recent airings of Elementary not affected by football include a couple of 0.5s. That's horrendous, rating below NBC's Shades of Blue but above ABC's American Crime. Does a lucrative syndication deal make it passable, though? Could it be moved to Saturdays next season instead? Yes, and possibly, but the lack of a firm renewal in place through early May makes that hard to assess from a ratings spectator's angle of which doesn't have the ins and outs and intricate details of the negotiations taking place about the show's future. As with Code Black, I've had to reassess my stance on its chances to return as of late, what with word circulating that the network has put forth permission to make writing staff deals for a sixth season and the continued touting of its international prospects. While that's not a guaranteed sign that it's returning, it's something that suggests the negotiations are serious and that this property is worth the pitiful L+SD ratings. It could stay on Sundays, it could possibly show up on Saturdays, but the bottom line is that this supposedly ultra-profitable show that gave CBS millions and millions in profits isn't dying off that easily, as aggravating and shocking as it may seem to predict the #25 (out of 26) show to be renewed. My final prediction: Likely to be Renewed.

  • Speaking of that random Saturday show: Ransom! What does Ransom have that Elementary doesn't? Nothing; in fact, it has so much less than Elementary that it would benefit from a Netflix/Orange is the New Black ransom scandal that could at least bring it some buzz. My final prediction: Likely to be Canceled. 

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