CBS Renew/Cancel Week 21: East New York Faces the Consequences of Not Being a CSI or NCIS Series


Welcome to Week 21 of CBS Renew/Cancel. Since last week’s column, CBS renewed NCIS, NCIS: Hawai’i, and CSI: Vegas. Here are all changes to the table, followed by the table itself and an analysis:

-NCIS moves from Likely Renew to Renewed
-NCIS: Hawai’i moves from Likely Renew to Renewed
-CSI: Vegas moves from Leans Cancel to Renewed
-Blue Bloods moves from Likely Renew to Leans Renew
-East New York moves from Leans Renew to Tilts Cancel

NCIS and NCIS: Hawai’i
At the beginning of the season, the NCIS franchise was a major cause of discussion. After all, all three shows have faced steep year-to-year declines this season. NCIS: Los Angeles was naturally vulnerable being in the dreaded Sundays at 10 pm time slot, and NCIS: Hawai’i is now tied for CBS’s second-lowest-rated scripted series despite the ultra-compatible lead-in. Luckily for NCIS: Hawai’i, CBS has now renewed its three lowest-rated scripted series, a practically unheard of feat for a network not named The CW. This is a correct prediction, as it has been envisioned that CBS will try to get this show syndicated. The renewal of NCIS and cancelation of NCIS: Los Angeles also go down as correct predictions. 

CSI: Vegas
CSI: Vegas has been CBS’s lowest-rated scripted series by a fair amount this entire season. It hit the bottom of the barrel a week and a half ago when it barely grew out of a rerun of So Help Me Todd, coming in 6th place in its time slot against competition that included a game show on ABC and a rerun on Telemundo. Nevertheless, CBS renewed CSI: Vegas this past week for a third season. Unless True Lies performs worse, this will be the first time since 2017-18 that CBS has renewed their lowest-rated scripted series. That year they renewed Ransom, a Canadian co-production shot in Toronto that aired on Saturday nights in the late spring and early summer. 

Simply put, the renewal of CSI: Vegas is not because of its Live + Same Day A18-49 ratings performance. A combination of a possible writers strike and being part of the CSI franchise are ultimately what likely led to this renewal. This now begs the question of just how long CBS is planning on sticking with CSI: Vegas. If they are intent on getting it a syndication deal, that may mean another 2 or 3 seasons for the chronically low-rated series. However, if CBS is simply preparing for a potential writers strike, CSI: Vegas’s low ratings won’t bode well for a long-term future. 

Blue Bloods
Despite closing out Friday nights with respectable ratings, Blue Bloods is one of only four scripted shows CBS is yet to renew or cancel this season (I am counting the yet-to-premiere True Lies in this tally). This is more proof that Live + Same Day ratings do not tell as big a picture as they used to, as through ratings alone Blue Bloods should be an easy renewal. It was in the Leans Renew category for most of the season due to factors such as the show’s old age and the expenses that come with this, but upgraded it to Likely Renew when it became apparent that CBS is on track to renew more than usual. After being left out of the latest round of renewals, it goes back down to Leans Renew. 

Blue Bloods arguably deserves to be renewed and my guess is CBS intends on renewing it. I could imagine an abrupt cancelation getting backlash from viewers and ratings enthusiasts alike, and while it is possible it is not probable. Having said that, it is becoming increasingly clear that Blue Bloods days are numbered, even if it makes it out of this season alive. 

East New York
Now that CBS has already renewed 11 hours of scripted programming, including their three lowest-rated hours, East New York’s path to a renewal becomes tighter. Paramount has no stake in the production, nor do they have any distribution rights on the show. While this did not complicate a Bob Hearts Abishola renewal, it seems clear that East New York is not a priority for CBS. Having returned to its 9 pm time slot for the first time since November, East New York collapsed to a 0.26 A18-49 Live + Same Day rating. Sure, that was enough to get CSI: Vegas renewed, but this is not CSI: East New York. There are very few spots left on CBS’s schedule, and one can envision them opting for their higher-profile pilots as well as established shows like Blue Bloods and S.W.A.T. if they can help it. 

Perhaps an alarming sign for East New York is the spinoff of The Good Wife in development. If ordered to series, one could imagine CBS wanting to place it in The Good Wife’s Sunday at 9 pm time slot, which would mean CBS would need to find a new time slot for East New York. The 10 pm death slot is an option, but with CSI: Vegas renewed, there are certainly other candidates in the running. At this point, an East New York renewal may depend on just how much CBS is willing to renew to prepare for a potential writers strike. It could also still get renewed if they don’t care for their pilots. However, unlike with last season’s comedy development fiasco, this season they went safe with their drama development and only ordered the Good Wife spinoff and a Matlock reboot to pilot. 

East New York gets downgraded to Tilts Cancel this week. If East New York doesn’t get canceled, then either CBS gets through this season by canceling just one fall scripted series, or at least one Friday show that deserves renewal over East New York gets canceled instead. Due to the unknowns of contract negotiations, that could happen, and CBS could decide to just renew everything in preparation for a strike. However, the reality is they will very likely be canceling something to make room for new shows. As it stands right now, with CSI: Vegas renewed, East New York appears to be the main contender. Ratings fluctuations in the coming weeks could decide if East New York gets downgraded further, or if it gets upgraded back to renewal. 

S.W.A.T. started the season as Leans Cancel, the only show in that category or any category below it in the pre-season edition. It was gradually upgraded as the solid ratings, and not just for Friday standards, became too tough to ignore. With it now being one of three currently-airing scripted series yet to be renewed, and one of four counting the upcoming True Lies, there are indications that renewing this partially-owned series is not as easy than renewing something lower-rated, yet fully-owned. Being at the end of its sixth season, contracts likely have to be renegotiated. I am leaning the side of CBS being willing to do this and to secure a seventh season, based solely off the value its ratings bring to the schedule. Whereas East New York leads into the canceled NCIS: Los Angeles and Blue Bloods leads into local programming, S.W.A.T. starts off a Friday night and successfully launched Fire Country. I’m not surprised to see that it has yet to be renewed, but as things stand right now I ultimately think it will get a Season 7. Like with Blue Bloods, expenses and CBS’s longstanding interest of abruptly canceling respectably-performing Friday night series could change that. 

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