CBS Renew/Cancel November 15-19: NCIS is Certain For Renewal On an Outdated Network

Week 3 of CBS original scripted programming unveiled 7 more original showings, all of which again failed to crack the 1.0 barrier in the ratings.  Monday, November 17 and Tuesday, November 18 unveiled complete lineups with some winners, and other shows to keep an eye on.  Monday comedies The Neighborhood and Bob Hearts Abishola placed a respectable 2nd and 3rd in their timeslots, demonstrating great faith in their performances.  Their follow-up dramas however delivered on the lower end, showing signs they soon could take 3rd or 4th against their competition.  The same delivered on Tuesday night as former heavyweight NCIS could not break the 1.0 benchmark, and the network took 3rd as FBI delivered solid and its spinoff FBI: Most Wanted lost 1/3 of its lead-in, getting edged out by ABC's premiere of Big Sky.  Week 2 may show signs of a bounceback as the majority of CBS' shows have shown upticks in 2nd showings, and ABC's freshman dramas have a history of shedding viewers fast.

Fall 2020 has demonstrated an odd pattern of most shows debut soft on CBS, then gain a tenth in the upcoming showings.  Shows which featured this phenomena are Young Sheldon, The Unicorn and even fledgling B-Positive bounced back after losing a tenth.  Could America return home and enjoy the predictable entries from America's comfort food network?  Or does is demonstrate the network fails to ignite a spark with innovative programming?  As discussed last week, the network needs some updating.  It is like a home tastefully decorated in the late 1990's with built-in entertainment centers and desks, berber carpeting and oversized windows.  It looked cutting edge for years, but is old and tattered come 2020.  CBS relied too heavily on crutches such as Chuck Lorre's crass sitcoms, spinoffs of formerly successful franchises and drafting new procedurals featuring a former "name" from a prior procedural.  Michael Weatherly, Shemar Moore and David Boreanaz all enjoyed success on prior shows but now have series on CBS with tepid ratings which reflect below.

Certain Renewal

Five entries are predictable for coming back next year.  Young Sheldon still garners buzz and is trending.  FBI and NCIS still deliver above average in ratings.  And CBS did manage to rehabilitate its destroyed Monday comedy lineup with the solid deliveries from The Neighborhood and Bob Hearts Abishola.  These shows are crucial to holding together their evenings, and CBS will likely need these shows for the following season.

Likely Renewal

This category is being cautiously monitored in the upcoming weeks.  With the exception of Mom (which only lies here due to age and the Allison Janney factor), the remains have exhibited softer ratings.  The NCIS spinoffs are old but compatible for a less desirable evening.  They will likely continue on until the marquee players decide to throw on the towel, similar to Hawaii Five-O last season.  All Rise experienced a sharp drop from Bob Hearts Abishola.  And Bull delivered even softer, taking 2nd to ABC's weakening The Good Doctor.  If it holds steady, it is marketable for at least a move on CBS' lineup.  

Leans Cancellation

B-Positive did receive an uptick this week, but needs to demonstrate solid viewing patterns before being upgraded.  SWAT delivered poor and soft in a two-hour premiere with back-to-back 0.4 rating, followed by lowering the bar a tenth.  The series is at its 4th year, traditionally the time CBS begins paring down aging or weaker shows.  Time will tell if ABC's For Life outrates it, but the signs are leading toward cancellation.

Likely Cancellation

The Unicorn feels like a misplaced sitcom deserving of exposure on ABC and CBS.  Well written, visually appealing and never demanding a laugh with a forced laugh track, it has received ample advertisement and decent launching ground behind Young Sheldon.  It showed an uptick this week, but will need to demonstrate more consistency to receive an upgrade.  CBS needs shelf space for new shows and needs to part with at least one entry.  They're likely not going to touch their solid Monday entries (which are bringing new life into the sitcom arena).  More than likely 1-2 sitcoms will meet their ending to accommodate and Unicorn is first on deck to be parted.

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