CBS Renew/Cancel Week 9: Executive Shakeup Puts Fate Of Many Shows Into Question

Below is a table of updated predictions for CBS, including their updated seasonal averages and changes in rank when applicable. Let us know what you think by leaving a reaction and a comment!

Since last week, the following category changes have been made to the table:

-East New York moves from Leans Renew to Tilts Renew
-Bob Hearts Abishola moves from Tilts Renew to Tilts Cancel

Additionally, NCIS: Hawai’i and NCIS: Los Angeles both move up one spot in the rankings, although neither get category changes. 

Discussing CBS’ Executive Shakeup
It was announced on Wednesday, November 16 that CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl and Senior Executive Vice President of Programming Thom Sherman are both leaving CBS. Kahl, who was previously CBS’s head of scheduling, had been at the network all century. Given Kahl’s replacement, Amy Reisenbach, has been promoted from inside the company, I don’t see much of a reason to expect major changes in CBS’s renew/cancel decisions. That being said, Kahl himself ascended to the role internally, and at the end of his first full season we saw the shock cancelations of Kevin Can Wait and Scorpion. Under Kelly Kahl’s leadership, CBS was much more lenient handing out renewals to rookie series than they were in the past. In fact, they used to be infamous for pulling shows from the schedule by this point in the season. 

However, the words of CBS CEO George Cheeks can go a long way. Calling Kahl’s midseason exiting as part of a “restructuring and streamlining of leadership,” Cheeks is clearly looking to move beyond Kahl and Sherman’s time at the network. Perhaps the most revealing thing Cheeks said about CBS’s future comes from a staff memo to CBS employees published by Variety. In it, he said Kahl “introduced hit shows such as The Neighborhood, The Equalizer, NCIS: Hawai’i, three FBIs, Fire Country, and Ghosts.”

George Cheeks notably left out a few shows from that list that were developed under Kelly Kahl’s leadership: namely, Bob Hearts Abishola, CSI: Vegas, East New York, and So Help Me Todd. For what it’s worth, S.W.A.T. was also left off the list, although it is unclear what role Kahl had in bringing it to the air given he only assumed the role of entertainment president the month it was ordered to series. 

NCIS: Hawai’i
Cheeks did not have to name any shows in particular, yet he did. As seen in the table, every show in that list except for NCIS: Hawai’i is either already renewed or in the Certain Renew category. NCIS: Hawai’i moves up one spot in the rankings this week for the fact it was named amongst these other shows, as well as for the fact that it “only” fell 0.04 last week when NCIS was down 0.18 from its previous episode. NCIS: Hawai’i also fell much less than the 8pm comedy duo. If George Cheeks likes it enough to call it a hit in a memo to staff, the plan is probably to try to get this show syndicated. Still, the Live + Same Day ratings are rather weak and NCIS: Los Angeles seems to be remaining in the hunt for a renewal, so an upgrade to Likely Renew seems irresponsible for now. 

Bob Hearts Abishola
Bob Hearts Abishola continues to undeniably be the weakest and lowest-rated of CBS’s four comedies, and Paramount has no domestic or international distribution rights for the show. Being left out of Cheeks’ list of “hit shows” is this week’s indicator that the show is on the wrong side of the bubble. It could make for a strong midseason replacement show if CBS wants to bring it back for a short fifth season. However, by the end of this season Warner Brothers will have about as many episodes as they’ll need to try to sell it into syndication. Combine all this with a rough 0.35 out of The Neighborhood’s 0.51 this week, and Bob Hearts Abishola gets downgraded to Tilts Cancel.

East New York & NCIS: Los Angeles
East New York had a particularly bad week, getting a 0.34 rating out of The Equalizer’s 0.51. Given this was not a football night, one can assume The Equalizer was more or less stable throughout the hour, and that the 0.51 average is not inflated. What’s worse for East New York is that lead-out NCIS: Los Angeles manages to rate higher than it. Sure, it was only be 0.01, but the Sunday at 10pm time slot is reserved for aging shows that CBS doesn’t particularly care about hurting with late start times on nights when they have a late afternoon football game. Such a show growing from the 9pm show, a high-priority time slot for the network, is practically unheard of. What’s most worrisome for East New York is that the football halo will be gone for good in a couple months, and new leadership may be looking to move past the show if this is the kind of performance it consistently shows in the spring. East New York has a post-60 Minutes special time slot airing to look forward to on January 8, a football-halo night, but notably lost out on the post-AFC Championship time slot to Fire Country. It gets downgraded to Tilts Renew this week. Meanwhile, NCIS: Los Angeles moves up one spot in the rankings this week, although it stays in the Tilts Cancel category. Given it plugs a much bigger hole in the schedule than Bob Hearts Abishola, is owned by Paramount, and is in syndication, it seems that should either show be renewed, NCIS: Los Angeles should have the advantage. 

So Help Me Todd
Another show that Cheeks notably did not mention was So Help Me Todd. Perhaps he is not pleased with So Help Me Todd’s anemic performance, as well as the fact that multiple shows either were canceled, passed on, or changed time slots in order for it to get the Thursday at 9pm hour. With new leadership, So Help Me Todd’s chances certainly are not looking any better. The only thing holding it back from a Likely Cancel prediction is that it’s tough to be confidence that CBS will axe two hours of Thursday programming. If it proves to be stronger than East New York, it could have a chance, but it doesn’t seem as though CBS is pleased with So Help Me Todd the way they are with Fire Country. 

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