CBS Renew/Cancel: ‘Criminal Minds’ Likely to be Renewed + ‘Instinct’ Downgraded

"Criminal Minds" (CBS)
Welcome to the CBS Renew/Cancel Watch. All in-season, scripted primetime shows airing on CBS in the 2017-18 season are included in the prediction table below. My predictions are current as of April 24, 2018.

The key to the right indicates the colors associated with each prediction. The data in the table includes current season lows, highs, and averages (Adults 18-49 demo), as well as the year-to-year changes for returning shows. The shows are ordered by their season averages against other scripted CBS shows.

    Season Low High /Average     
 Y2Y Change
 The Big Bang Theory 
2.4 / 4.1 / 2.79
Young Sheldon
1.8 / 3.8 / 2.25
1.3 / 1.8 / 1.48
1.2 / 1.6 / 1.42
Kevin Can Wait
0.9 / 2.3 / 1.21
1.0 / 1.3 / 1.19
Life In Pieces
0.9 / 1.3 / 1.14
0.8 / 1.5 / 1.04
Man with a Plan
0.8 / 1.1 / 1.01
Me, Myself & I
0.7 / 1.6 / 1.00
Hawaii Five-0
0.9 / 1.1 / 0.99
Criminal Minds
0.9 / 1.3 / 0.99
0.8 / 1.1 / 0.97
NCIS: New Orleans
0.8 / 1.1 / 0.97
0.7 / 1.5 / 0.97
0.8 / 1.3 / 0.94
Blue Bloods
0.8 / 1.1 / 0.92
Superior Donuts
0.8 / 1.0 / 0.91
  Wisdom of the Crowd  
0.7 / 1.3 / 0.91
0.8 / 0.9 / 0.85
0.6 / 1.3 / 0.88
0.7 / 1.0 / 0.81
Living Biblically
0.6 / 0.8 / 0.70
Madam Secretary
0.5 / 0.8 / 0.65

The table has been updated to reflect the recent renewals for the following series: Mom, NCIS, Bull, SEAL Team, Hawaii Five-0, S.W.A.T., NCIS: New Orleans, NCIS: LA, Blue Bloods, MacGyver, and Madam Secretary. These were correct predictions by the CBS Renew/Cancel.

As of 4/19, Living Biblically has been pulled from the schedule and is effectively cancelled with five episodes unaired. This was a correct prediction. 

Below are two prediction changes in this edition of the CBS R/C. An analysis for each adjustment has been provided.

The show has been on the bubble for practically the entire season. It's a tough one to predict, considering that the networks are increasingly unpredictable with what they're willing to keep. Some shows that seem like they should be relieved of duty are just not to that point as far as the network heads are concerned. I previously decided to lean into a cancellation for Criminal Minds prior to all the early renewals, but I've since decided to upgrade it to a likely renewal. While it's likely to be the veteran series to end first due to its age, declining ratings, costs, and lack of full net ownership, it's still a respectable player that has done OK in its move to 10. As the season's gone on, its stability in the 0.9-1.0 range doesn't look horrible, especially since none of their new dramas (SEAL Team and S.W.A.T., specifically) have managed to regularly rate above that. It hasn't been moved to a lower priority Friday or Sunday slot at this point, so while the present time slot downgrade suggests CBS is phasing the procedural out, there is room for alternative scheduling before it's completely off the air. CBS can probably do better with cheaper alternatives going forward (especially on Wednesdays), but a 14th season that sends the series off with over 300 episodes might be just what CBS and ABC Studios are capable of negotiating. They frankly don't have to do anything for the show -- in fact, the network failed to give "final seasons" to past long-running dramas -- but some of them weren't around for as long as Criminal Minds. CSI is probably the most comparable series in this situation, and that iconic show at least had a movie to wrap things up (as much as you can "wrap up" for a crime procedural). Something tells me that CBS knows they could've prepared better for CSI's end, and they'll do a bit better with Criminal Minds. That might mean a reduced order for the last season, but they can find a way to air it if it's worth producing and ensures a smooth transition into CBS's next chapter post-Minds.

My reluctance to promote a renewal prediction throughout the current season has been, perhaps, tied up in my thinking that CBS has to end something soon. Criminal Minds always seemed like a fair candidate (and it is, no doubt) because of the reasons I've already mentioned, in addition to its inability to launch successful spinoffs like NCIS has achieved. It's in a vulnerable position where the network could truly take it or leave it, so I don't think my general pessimism has been unwarranted with that in mind. Ultimately, CBS didn't end any veterans last year, though they did send Code Black and Elementary to summer. This pretty much says that while they still need slots on the fall schedule for new shows, they don't really need to cancel much in order to make that happen. Criminal Minds could be held until midseason, as could Scorpion and/or Madam Secretary. It's doable, or at least CBS would probably think as much and navigate that scheduling when the deadline hits. Whether or not it makes financial sense for CBS to keep all these shows is another question altogether, but it's nearly impossible to predict how negotiations for Criminal Minds will go when it's consistently down to the wire between the network and studios involved. The positive it's looking at is that cast contracts for the original actors seem to be good to go for a Season 14, which should make talks somewhat easier. As such, I'm leaning into a renewal at this point, but a cancellation would be far from a surprise. 

The show is simply too weak to return in a priority slot next season. Through five airings, it's averaged a 0.88 rating in the demo, including two recent 0.6 performances without sports/event exposure. CBS has renewed soft midseason shows before, but the ones that come to mind had support from existing franchises (CSI: Cyber and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders) in addition to strong international potential. Instinct really doesn't boast the same kind of package, and CBS doesn't need it. The only reason it might stand a chance is if it's internally liked to an irrational degree, but based on ratings performance, its late-in-the-game scheduling, and CBS's two freshman drama renewals, it's likely to be cancelled. 

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