Jess's Take: The Dreaded Profits Over Ratings

Welcome to a new installment of Jess's Take! I'm Jessica, and here are my thoughts about a controversial topic that arose during upfronts.

Profits > Ratings
The biggest trend of the 2016-17 season happened to be where low rated shows get renewed despite hitting the too low for renewal bar. We've seen this happen with Great News, Quantico, Elementary, The Exorcist, Timeless, Taken, and now Trial and Error. Let's explain this controversy in more detail, shall we?

In Taken's case, it was an international co-production which meant that it was automatically cheaper than most low rated renewals. This, my friends, is Hannibal 2.0! Let's see how it does with its second chance on Fridays this fall on NBC. Timeless, on the other hand, was produced by Sony. It had its license fee dramatically reduced despite Shawn Ryan claiming that it was saved by fan pressure. NBC gave the show ten episodes. This could be another Unforgettable case where it was retooled as a summer show.

Great News vs. Trial and Error: To be honest, I didn't think either fractional rated show was going to get renewed, but because of the sad state of NBC comedy, they were renewed for second seasons. Great News was renewed because of Tina Fey and the in-house production benefits, and Trial and Error benefitted from a license fee reduction and critical acclaim.

The Exorcist from FOX was renewed for another season over similarly rated Rosewood. To be honest, I still don't see how an extremely expensive limited series like The Exorcist gets renewed over a cheaper two full season police procedural that needed two more seasons for syndication. There is just no logic behind that.

Speaking of illogical decisions, ABC renewed Quantico for a third season, but it has 13 episodes with a move to Los Angeles for California tax credits. It clearly was renewed due to the unseen and non-public international sales plus Priyanka Chopra's international appeal. And I thought it will be canceled due to schedule space.

Surprisingly, the most logical low rated renewal was Elementary. CBS has renewed Elementary for a sixth season this past week despite low ratings. The reason behind the renewal was that it has a lucrative syndication deal with WGN America that makes CBS $80 million in profit, plus it earns $3 million per episode. Why couldn't CBS give it a full season? That is because it got 13 episodes and will be pushed to either Saturdays or midseason on Sundays. To be honest, this upcoming sixth season should be the final season for this Sherlock Holmes drama.

And so, there we have it. A more Jessica-sized explanation of the dreaded profits over ratings. What do you think? Let's discuss in the comments below!

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