CBS Renew/Cancel: A Mass Renewal Leaves The Fate of Shows Like NCIS: LA and All Rise in Question


On the heels of a mass renewal this week, the following shows join the likes of the already-renewed sturdy players:

Blue Bloods: The series enters its 12th season and CBS' ruthless cancellation methods this year left everyone questioning if they would blade out the successful ensemble.  Thankfully, CBS continues to value Blue Bloods, and for good reasons.  They recently experienced spikes on Fridays at 10:00, an accomplishment indeed!

Bull: The 5th season performer is weakened and delivering passable ratings, some weeks narrowly clipping past lead-in All Rise.  At 10:00, CBS recognizes they have a strong player as NBC fumbled against it.

Magnum PI: Losing reboot neighbor MacGyver was saddening, but CBS would be foolish to throw the towel in on Magnum PI's successful 3rd season.  Unless the network decided to to an overhaul and revamp like they have in the past, such moves would be foolish.  And they give their neighbors competitive runs for their money, so a renewal is understood and celebrated.

NCIS: Losing ratings like all shows in its 18th season hurts, especially as it debuted below the 1.0 mark.  However, NCIS was CBS' first series to break the 1.0 ceiling without football inflation in 2021.  Flash forward to dreadful April ratings, and it reclaimed the title as the night's #1 MVP as NBC's This Is Us is in freefall.  

SWAT: For those tracking this column, SWAT danced everywhere from Leans Cancellation to the majority On The Bubble, and only last week upgraded to Likely Renewal.  This is due to a dreadful debut on Wednesdays and struggles against NBC's ultra-strong Chicago block.  However, SWAT proved it was not riding on SEAL Team's coattails and built on an evening free of Chicago competition.  Hopefully CBS recognizes this (as well as their Wednesdays need an overhaul) and moves SWAT.  Their Thursday timeslot worked out okay, and a vacancy on Friday night would pair well with CBS' successful block.


For those who read last week's column, they will notice FBI and FBI: Most Wanted were only listed as Likely Renewal and Certain.  Apologies as this author neglected to update the table.  But both have earned rightful renewals and will be back in the 2021-22 season.

Questioning CBS' Renew/Cancel logic has seemed like a mind scrambler this season.  However sleepy and tired they may appear, CBS does manage to wake up and shake things.  Whether politely discarding old items or scorching the schedule, they get back on curve.  This year's mass renewal combined with scheduling decisions mirrors their 2017 strategy.  They renewed 80% of their schedule and left limited remains leaving questions of shows down to the wire.  In 2017, this was notably left with newby The Great Indoors and outsourced 2 Broke Girls omitted from the mass renewal.  

They also pulled late-season tests of strength by rotating sitcoms enjoying the plum Thursday 8:30 timeslot to other places on the schedule.  Three discarded shows freed up 2 1/2 hours of schedule space with more coming.   7 shows have yet to be renewed so let's evaluate:

All Rise: A modest hit with an appealing cast, the legal eagle drama has yet to light a fire on Monday nights this season.  The lead-in comedies experienced January and February windfalls, and All Rise just held steady-ish.  If space opens, All Rise could be on the move as the Monday comedies are sturdy and CBS could opt to return the weakened Thursday 9:00 hour to Mondays.  As of now, All Rise remains On The Bubble, leaning toward the cancel dial.  It holds potential but too many other stronger dramas have been renewed or hold stronger potential.

B-Positive: Chuck Lorre's 2020 debut did indeed have promise, and the grace of Linda Lavin.  In-season ratings were indeed strong and respectable.  But CBS stayed a step ahead and tested B-Positive out in the 9:30 timeslot seemingly learned to test first after prior entry The Unicorn bombed earlier this year.  The results?  B-Positive experienced an immediate drop.  However, the ratings matched earlier seasonal ratings of The Unicorn, and spring presents weaker ratings than the fall.  It is not down for the count but B-Positive is a Likely Cancellation.  It could return and fit the tempo.  But better pray CBS decides to keep six sitcom timeslots vs. 4 or else B-Positive could reject CBS' scheduling transplant.

Clarice: Such a cheery show, based on a lovable character in history.  Mining from the history of successful thriller The Silence of the Lambs was a bold stroke, and could have perhaps placaded the vacancy of yet-to-be-scheduled Evil.  But dropping from the 0.54 debut rating to 0.21 (out of a lower-performing B-Positive's 0.46) has demonstrated Clarice has not only skinned 71% of its debut ratings, but is losing more blood than its weakened lead-in.  CBS has an opening, and Clarice is Certain for Cancellation unless the executives enjoy skinned-hyde lampshades.

NCIS: Los Angeles: Would CBS dare fuck with a solid spinoff who defined their franchise with the imagery of Erik Christian Olson and LL Cool J?  Doing so would prove foolish and perhaps CBS is attempting to update its brand.  However, it held sturdy and steady prior to The Equalizer's arrival.  If NCIS: LA does indeed perish this season, it will not be due to ratings but production costs.  Imagine if CBS decided to farm out the renewed FBI franchises to Wednesday (and aid other parts of the schedule with SEAL Team and SWAT).  And launched the anticipated NCIS: Hawaii on Tuesdays and returned NCIS: LA to Tuesdays at 10:00?  CBS has played viciously this season and could slice down another spinoff.  But it remains lucrative, so it shall remain a Likely Renewal.

SEAL Team: The power of David Boreanaz seems to be of value to CBS.  The trouble is that using "a star" to headline a random show is so 2000's.  However, SEAL Team has proven steady despite its rating being passable at best.  The show could move as CBS seems eager to update their blueprint, but could fit nicely in several slots on the map.  Currently, SEAL Team remains a Likely Renewal.

The Unicorn: The show is a Greek Tragedy as it had all of the elements of a hit.  An ultra-appealing cast with Walt Goggins headlining, moderately paced storytelling minus forced laugh tracks and moderate doses of serialized plotting paying ode to Cheers.  So what went wrong?  This show launched on CBS, a network prone to forced laugh-tracks and in recent years toilet and sexual humor.  The Unicorn didn't quite jell to the comedy pallet, and perhaps its failure to ignite the ratings is a compliment.  It is Certain for Cancellation as CBS expressed it holds little interest in the updated comedy.  A pity as it would have struck horn gold online.  Promise still remains as Paramount Plus needs new shows to hang their hat on so there is hope.

United States of Al: Given The Neighborhood is succeeding by tapping the 1970's "us vs them" culture clash concept.  A pity as the lead has enough to carry a decent show.  The problem is United States of Al hardly lacks the heart and soul of fellow CBS success Bob Hearts Abishola.  However, they have tattooed "Property of Chuck Lorre" high on their right butt cheek and perhaps could find space next year.  They are On The Bubble but leaning renewal

Thursday Cable Ratings 4/15/21: NBA Leads, Impractical Jokers Rises but Stays on Low End, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay Ticks Up

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Thursday, 4/15/21. Items of note include Everything's Gonna Be Okay on Freeform, Top Chef on Bravo, and Wipeout on TBS

(Note: Click the names of the shows written in purple or blue to be taken to their pages in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Database.)

Thursday TV Ratings 4/15/21: United States of Al Down Between Steady Young Sheldon and Mom, SVU and Organized Crime Also Down, Rebel Steady (UPDATED)

Preliminary Analysis: It was a three-way tie in the 8pm hour, with a declining edition of ABC's 'Station 19' and stable helpings of Fox's 'Hell's Kitchen' and CBS's 'Young Sheldon' all posting a 0.7 rating. The alphabet network followed up with steady showings of 'Grey's Anatomy' (0.9) and 'Rebel' (0.5). This is particularly encouraging for the latter since 'Rebel' managed to retain the same rating it posted for last week's series debut. Fox aired another round of lackluster broadcasts of 'Last Man Standing' (0.4) and 'The Moodys (0.3), both even on a week-to-week basis. After 'Sheldon', 'United States of AI' (0.5) lost a tenth, but 'Mom' (0.6) and 'B Positive' (0.5) were unchanged. A 'Clarice' (0.2) rerun capped off CBS's evening. NBC's 'Law & Order' duo once more trended downward, with 'SVU' (0.8) shedding a tenth and 'Organized Crime' (0.6) down by two. 'Manifest' (0.5) was flat in the 8pm slot. 'Walker' (0.1) and 'Legacies' (0.1) held even on the CW.

Finals Update: Station 19 (+0.1), Hell's Kitchen (+0.1), Young Sheldon (+0.1), Law & Order: SVU (+0.1) and Law & Order: Organized Crime (+0.1) adjusted up.

NBC Renew/Cancel Week 19: Manifest Flies Lower

The season is winding down, but there's still plenty to talk about with two of NBC's most recent premieres! Keep reading for my thoughts on a declining Manifest and a positive turn for Young Rock!

Wednesday Cable Ratings 4/14/21: Snowfall Jumps to Season High Ahead of Finale, Full Frontal Returns Near Series Low, The Challenge Leads

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Wednesday, 4/14/21. Items of note include the final season premiere of Queen of the South on USA, NBA on ESPN, and Snowfall on FX.

(Click the names of the shows written in teal or blue to be taken to their pages in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Database.)

CBS Renews Five Drama Series, Including Blue Bloods, Magnum PI and SWAT

CBS has renewed five drama series on their lineup, following the network's earlier renewals of FBI and FBI: Most Wanted and cancellation of MacGyver and NCIS: New Orleans. NCIS, SWAT, Magnum PI, Bull and Blue Bloods are today's renewals. All are veteran parts of the CBS lineup. NCIS is the network's longest-running scripted series, debuting in 2003 and securing a 19th season today. It stars Mark Harmon and has spawned two spinoffs, with one possibly on the way. Its 0.86 average is the highest of any scripted series on CBS (save for the NFL-boosted FBI and The Equalizer episodes). SWAT is in its fourth season, and while its 0.42 average is the lowest of any scripted series on CBS aside from Clarice, it has been a solid delayed and streaming performer for CBS. Shemar Moore stars in the series, which is a Sony co-production. Magnum PI has done well for CBS since its move to Fridays and is now in its third season. It's averaged 0.53 this season and stars Jay Hernande and Perdita Weeks. Like Magnum PI, Blue Bloods also airs on Fridays and averages 0.53. It stars Tom Selleck, who won an Emmy for his starring role in the original Magnum PI series from the 1980s. The renewal of Magnum and Blue Bloods comes only two weeks after fellow Friday series MacGyver was canceled. All of these renewals are correct predictions for The TV Ratings Guide.

These renewals leave just four CBS dramas with fates yet undetermined - All Rise, NCIS: Los Angeles, SEAL Team and freshman Clarice.

Wednesday TV Ratings 4/14/21: The Conners and The Goldbergs Steady as Home Economics and A Million Little Things Take Hits, Tough as Nails Rises for Finale (UPDATED)

Preliminary Analysis: After a fairly promising start, ABC's 'Home Economics' (0.4) lost two-tenths from its premiere, despite the stability of its 'Goldbergs' lead-in (0.6). Barring an upward adjustment, 'Economics' is already below the season low of previous timeslot occupant 'American Housewife' (0.45). Later on, 'The Conners' (0.6) was relatively steady while 'Call Your Mother' (0.3) shed a clean 50% of its lead-in. At 10, 'A Million Little Things' (0.3) dipped to a new series low for its second Wednesday episode. On the heels of its two-season renewal, CBS's 'Tough As Nails' (0.5) gained a tenth for its season finale. Repeats of 'United States of AI' (0.3/0.3) and 'SWAT' (0.2) followed from there. Fox once again took the lead, with 'The Masked Singer' (1.1) and 'Game of Talents' (0.6) unchanged from last week. NBC had sturdy encores of 'Chicago Med' (0.5), 'Chicago Fire' (0.5), and 'Chicago PD' (0.4). Episode two of 'Kung Fu' (0.2) and the twelfth 'Nancy Drew' (0.1) held even on the CW. 

Finals Update: The Masked Singer (+0.1), Home Economics (+0.1), Call Your Mother (+0.1), A Million Little Things (+0.1) and the repeat of Chicago PD (+0.1) adjusted up.

Tuesday Cable Ratings 4/13/21: Mayans MC and Queen Sugar Rise, Chad Inches Down, CNN Tonight Remains #1 in Cable News as MSNBC Bombs

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Tuesday, 4/13/21. Items of note include Chad on TBS, Mayans MC on FX, and Queen Sugar on OWN.

(Note: Click any show with its name in green or blue to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)

Tuesday TV Ratings 4/13/21: Big Sky Returns with a New Low, Prodigal Son Returns Steady, Young Rock Ticks Up (UPDATED)

Preliminary Analysis: Following an eight-week break, a defeated 'Big Sky' (0.5/0.4) came back onto the scene in catastrophic shape. The ABC drama hit a new low at 9 for the first-half of its return, only to fall even further in its signature 10pm slot. Previously, the series had never gone below a 0.6 A18-49 rating, with this performance going roughly 30% below its final, pre-hiatus episode (0.66). 'Big Sky' had little lead-in help from 'Pooch Perfect' (0.4), with the dog program remaining in troubling territory, but that was also the same rating it had to lead out of in mid-February. Fox's dramas were fresh off month-long breaks, with 'The Resident' (0.5) down a notch and 'Prodigal Son' (0.4) relatively unchanged. On NBC, 'Young Rock' (0.6) got back a tenth as 'This Is Us' (0.7) lost one in the 9pm slot. In-between, 'Kenan' (0.4) and 'New Amsterdam' (0.4) were frozen at concerning levels. CBS had encores of 'NCIS' (0.4), 'FBI' (0.4), and 'FBI: Most Wanted' (0.3). 'The Flash' (0.3) held steady on the CW, but 'Supergirl' (0.1) fell by a few hundredths. 

Finals Update: This Is Us (+0.1), Supergirl (+0.1) and the repeat of FBI: Most Wanted (+0.1) adjusted up.

Monday Cable Ratings 4/12/21: Spring Baking Championship Rises, WWE Raw Wins the Night, Breeders and Running Wild Slip, CNN Tonight and Tucker Carlson Lead Cable News

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Monday, 4/12/21. Items of note include Spring Baking Championship on Food Network, Breeders on FX, and Running Wild on NatGeo.

(Note: Click any show with its name in yellow or blue to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)

Sunday Cable Ratings 4/11/21: Shameless Hits Season High for Series Finale, The Nevers Off To Modest Start, Fear The Walking Dead Returns Steady

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Sunday, 4/11/21. Items of note include the series finale of Shameless on Showtime, the series premiere of The Nevers on HBO, and the midseason premiere of Fear The Walking Dead on AMC.

(Note: Click any show with its name in orange to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)

Saturday Cable Ratings 4/10/21: Amphibia Ticks Up, Final Space Ticks Down Again, NASCAR Wins the Night

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Saturday, 4/10/2021. Items of note include Amphibia on Disney Channel, Final Space on Adult Swim, and As Luck Would Have It on Hallmark.

(Note: Click the name of any show with its title in red to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)

Monday TV Ratings 4/12/21: American Idol Beats The Voice, Bob Hearts Abishola and The Neighborhood Down After Break (UPDATED)

Preliminary Analysis: ABC's 'American Idol' (0.7) rose a tenth in the 8pm slot, matching a declining edition of 'The Voice' (0.7) on NBC. The peacock network still had ABC beat in the 10pm slot, as a steady 'Debris' (0.4) outpaced the alphabet network's encore of the 'Rebel' pilot (0.3). CBS's entire lineup was back from a month-long break, with 'The Neighborhood' (0.6) and 'Bob Hearts Abishola' (0.5) shedding one-tenth apiece. Amidst the comedy slippage, dramas 'All Rise' (0.4) and 'Bull' (0.4) were flat. On Fox, the 'America's Most Wanted' finale (0.3) ticked down, even as its '9-1-1' encore lead-in (0.4) gained a tenth. The CW's 'All American' (0.2) dropped by a tenth, but 'Black Lightning' (0.1) didn't budge.

Finals Update: American Idol (+0.1) and the repeat of Rebel (+0.1) adjusted up.

ABC Renew/Cancel Week 21: Rebel Without a Cause

In the past week, ABC launched new additions to both its Wednesday and Thursday lineups, bringing in new series Rebel and Home conmics. Keep reading to see my outlook for both of them!

Friday Cable Ratings 4/9/21: Wynonna Earp Series Finale and Drag Race Rise, Sydney to the Max Slips, The Masters Leads

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Friday, 4/9/21. Items of note include series finale of Wynonna Earp on Syfy, RuPaul's Drag Race on VH1, and Sydney to the Max on Disney.

(Note: Click the name of any show with its title in purple or blue to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)

Sunday TV Ratings 4/11/21: Good Girls Steady Behind Rising Zoeys Playlist, The Masters Coverage Leads, Family Guy and Bless the Harts Rise, The Rookie and The Great North Slip (UPDATED)

Preliminary Analysis: A sizable boost from 'The Masters' (1.6) helped CBS's '60 Minutes' (0.8) rise by three-tenths from its last episode. That number will likely adjust down in finals, but the news series will probably remain ahead of the 0.5 rating it posted a week prior. Repeats of 'The Equalizer' (0.5), 'NCIS: Los Angeles' (0.4), and 'NCIS: New Orleans' (0.4) filled out the lineup from there. 'America's Funniest Home Videos' (0.6) and 'American Idol' (0.8) held steady on ABC as 'The Rookie' (0.4) lost a tenth in the 10pm slot. NBC's 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' (0.3) picked up a tenth behind a pair of 'Ellen's Game of Games' encores (0.2/0.3). 'Good Girls' posted its 4th-straight 0.3 rating at 10. Airing after a 'Simpsons' rerun (0.2), Fox's 'Bless the Harts' (0.2) got back a precious tenth after last week's horrific low. Anchors 'The Simpsons' (0.4) and 'Bob's Burgers' (0.4) didn't budge, but 'The Great North' (0.3) inched down at 8:30 while 'Family Guy' (0.5) ticked up at 9:30. 'Batwoman' (0.1) and 'Charmed' (0.1) neither rose nor fell on The CW. 

Finals Update: 'The Masters' (+0.2), '60 Minutes' (+0.1), 'Bless the Harts' (+0.1), 'The Great North' (+0.1), 'Bob's Burgers' (+0.1), and the repeat of 'Ellen's Game of Games' (+0.1) adjusted up.

2020-21 Season To Date Report (9/6-4/8): American Idol, The Voice and The Masked Singer Weaken With Each Episode

Scripted shows are already plunging down deep into the lower ranks, and now the onset erosions have come for even the sturdiest of 2021 reality TV shows.  Prior seasons had NFL, reality TV shows and an occasional scripted show like This is Us peppered into the top 10.  The Voice and The Masked Singer were always vexed at the front, and even American Idol managed to squeeze into the top 20.  Flash forward to spring 2021, and only the spring version of The Masked Singer remains in the top 20.  The Voice now rests in entirety in the 20's, and American Idol is losing its voice at 32nd and 45th places, respectively.

Several blame ABC and NBC for stacking them on top of each other competitively and are cannibalizing each other.  However, both are aged franchises.  While The Bachelor and Bachelorette are also aged, they have been periodically updated.  The ratings losses that came for scripted shows a few seasons back have now come for reality shows as perking above the 1.0 benchmark is a novelty and treat in 2021 often awarded only to sports.  Does this mean Reality TV is declining?  Not at all.  It may shine a light that it is time to update the brands, but Reality TV is still less costly and more lucrative for broadcast networks.

This is Us' tumble this season is devastating to the ratings community as it was the last of the mammoth hits produced by a network.  Once the #1 scripted show legions ahead of the competition, it now rests in 3rd place and sliding closer to the likes of CBS' FBI mainstay.  Watch the upcoming weeks as more renewals and cancellations are coming, most recently with CBS surprising viewers by axing MacGyver.

TVRG widened the data net for the ratings by moving the start point from September 20 to September 6, 2020, now leaving 183 shows in the charts with a few more entries coming.  This chart will lead to the site's first-ever in-house produced Ratings History article for the season, coming in late May.  In the past, articles from Variety, Deadline and several wonderful sister sites like TV By The Numbers and Spotted Ratings.  Check out Ratings History by clicking on the library icon at the top of the site.

2020-21 Drama Scorecard (3/27-4/8): Did MacGyver Deserve Its Callous Cancellation?

 Last week, CBS made the unfortunate announcement MacGyver after 5 seasons.  This announcement blindsided fans, as well as renewal predictions as it was prior listed as a Certain Renewal.  Though MacGyver's ratings were middling, they were solid and helped CBS retain a stronghold on an undesirable evening.  The network has been one of the most tired and predictable among the five players, relying too heavily on outdated procedurals and canned laughter sitcoms.  It appears CBS is ready to renovate their house as they already axed sturdy players NCIS: New Orleans and MacGyver.  Both were not standout performers but met the benchmark for passable and held value for viewers.  Both had potential to run for an additional two seasons had they been permitted.

The question remains if it is worse to have shows tragically taken too soon like MacGyver, or overstay their welcome and rot on the schedule like NBC's The Blacklist?  CBS has a history of drastic revamps dating back to 50 years ago when The Rural Purge took out 9 shows with country themes in favor of updated and socially relevant shows.  They also performed a similar revamp in 2001 with the breakout success of shows like procedural CSI and reality-based Survivor.  As head-scratching as these moves are, it could lead to excitement and fresh blood come fall 2021.

Notice a few more entries in the chart?  TVRG widened the net for tracked seasonal data from September 21, 2020 to September 6, 2020.  NBC also unveiled modest Manifest and sturdy Law and Order: Organized Crime, and ABC limped out of the gate with Rebel.

The "Final Season" vs "Cancelled" classification has been a topic among readers given shows since December have been declared their last season since December.  On this chart, NCIS: New Orleans was prior listed as "Final Season" due to being ended early enough to facilitate a proper ending.  However, CW declared final seasons long before 4 of their shows launched.  The classification for "Final Season" now requires the shows are to be announced ending prior to the season launch.