CBS Renew/Cancel Week 18: For The Love Of Todd

Below is the table for Week 18 of CBS Renew/Cancel, followed by analysis for key shows. First, here are the prediction changes from Week 17:

-So Help Me Todd moves from Tilts Renew Cancel to Renewed
-Blue Bloods moves from Leans Renew to Likely Renew
-NCIS: Hawai’i moves from Leans Renew to Likely Renew
-S.W.A.T. moves from Tilts Renew to Leans Renew
-CSI: Vegas moves from Likely Cancel to Tilts Cancel

Blue Bloods, NCIS: Hawai’i, S.W.A.T., and CSI: Vegas
CBS only ordered two drama pilots for the 2023-24 TV season. One of these is a reboot of the legal drama Matlock, which aired on NBC from 1986 to 1992 and ABC from 1992 to 1995. If ordered to series, this will be the third network Matlock has called home. (You can find the ratings for the original series in our TVRG Ratings History database here). The other is a spinoff of The Good Wife called Elsbeth. If you recall, The Good Wife wasn’t exactly a ratings hit on CBS, although it did reportedly resonate with the high-income demographic. A third drama, The Never Game, has already been ordered straight to series. That means even if CBS picks up all two of their drama pilots, they will have one less new drama next season than they did this season (the fourth new drama of this season, True Lies, premieres March 1).

With CBS only ordering two drama pilots, suddenly the outlook for every single drama currently airing not named NCIS: Los Angeles looked a lot better. Blue Bloods looks less likely to face a shock cancelation due to expenses. NCIS: Hawai’i looks even more likely to be dragged to syndication despite low ratings. CSI: Vegas is now in a similar boat, although it is still their lowest-rated scripted show and two drama pilots are more than none. S.W.A.T. looks like a greater asset despite Paramount only sharing the distribution rights instead of having full distribution rights. In fact, relative to the league average, S.W.A.T. for the second consecutive year is performing better than any other series CBS has aired on Friday in at least the past 20 years. A looming potential strike that it appears NBC at least is preparing for certainly does not hurt any of these shows’ chances either. Even So Help Me Todd is looking better for a variety of reasons, and moves up to Tilts Renew this week. Oh wait. 

So Help Me Todd
When CBS only picked up two drama pilots, So Help Me Todd’s chances at renewal automatically improved. With one of them being a Matlock reboot, one can tell that CBS is encouraged to keep exploring the legal drama sub-genre. Also, there are talks of an impending strike. While it seems like these talks happen every year, we don’t usually see networks openly make schedule adjustments to prepare for one. NBC’s renewal of La Brea reportedly is for a six episode likely final season, and was renewed primarily because it is a show that produces overseas in a year where a strike could affect fall programming. Looking at CBS’s filming locations, most are filmed in the United States. So Help Me Todd, however, is filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. At that point, I was prepared to move it up to a Renew category. I had settled on Tilts Renew because the retention out of Ghosts is still bad, and it’s still their second-lowest-rated scripted series, only ahead of the show that has the honor of airing after it. If the ratings were in the 0.40-0.45 range, it would’ve been looking at a more confident renewal prediction. CBS renewing So Help Me Todd so early, before many of their long-running and higher-rated veterans, may speak volumes about what they think about the likelihood of a strike.

This was made mid-week in light of all the developments. I thought of making a mid-week column until I figured how unlikely it was that So Help Me Todd would actually be renewed that week. If only shows were still renewed in mid-May…this is an incorrect prediction that stings. 

What’s Next?
CBS has now renewed 10 shows, canceled one, ordered one straight to series, picked up two drama pilots, and has 6 shows with fates yet to be determined. CBS appears to be in a position to cancel far less than normal, as they cut down on pilots and also keep midseason premieres to a minimum. It will be interesting to see how much — or little — action CBS has left to take in May. 

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