CBS Renew/Cancel Week 24: East New York and NCIS: LA Advance + Sweet Sixteen Voting

Welcome to Week 24 of CBS Renew/Cancel! This is also the second week of CBS Renew/Cancel March Madness, and the first full round of voting. Last week, East New York and True Lies faced off against each other for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen, as did S.W.A.T. and NCIS: Los Angeles. East New York and NCIS: Los Angeles won their play-in games in landslides. The latter is an upset, as NCIS: Los Angeles is given an 18 seed for being the only show canceled (so far). With that, True Lies and S.W.A.T. have officially been eliminated from CBS Renew/Cancel March Madness. 

This week, East New York and NCIS: Los Angeles join Blue Bloods and all 13 shows that CBS has already renewed in the Sweet Sixteen. The individual matchups are outlined in the following bracket, where you can also find the final tally for the two play-in games:

Before we take a look at the matchups, here is the Week 24 table. Changes to the table include a downgrade of S.W.A.T. from Tilts Renew to Tilts Cancel. 

While the ratings are more than passable, cast contracts need to be renegotiated to make a seventh season possible. With CBS announcing the Season 6 finale will be a two-part finale, one can’t help but wonder if this ‘season’ finale is actually intended to be a series finale. Sure, already-renewed NCIS: Hawai’i is also doing a two-part season finale, scheduling one for a show that is yet-to-be-renewed seems ominous. There is also the possibility that S.W.A.T.’s finale is being set up as a series finale, with its chance of returning hinging on if the pilots are worse than expected and/or a deal cannot be reached to bring back Blue Bloods. 

While arguably not optimal based on linear ratings alone, it is very much possible to create a schedule without S.W.A.T. on it. With 13 dramas renewed as well as many unscripted shows, they certainly have options for the time slot. If Elsbeth and Matlock are both ordered to series and they expand comedy, something that seems likely based on the Bob Hearts Abishola renewal and the three comedy pilots, S.W.A.T. may not have a spot on the schedule. As such, S.W.A.T. is back down into a Cancel category, where it started in pre-season and remained until Week 10. 

And with that, it is now time to look into this week’s CBS Renew/Cancel March Madness matchups. Vote for the show you would most like to see make it to the next round!

1 Seed Young Sheldon vs 16 Seed East New York
East New York confirmed its spot in the Sweet Sixteen by defeating True Lies in a play-in matchup. Now, it faces off against CBS’s highest-rated scripted series, Young Sheldon. While Young Sheldon was renewed well before the season began, East New York has yet to be renewed and is currently predicted as Leans Cancel. Slipping to a 0.30 this week did it no favors. Young Sheldon is down a respectable 13% in the Live + Same Day Adults 18-49 demo this season, and together with Ghosts forms a strong comedy hour to lead off Thursday nights for CBS. Could it be upset by a freshman drama? Vote below!

8 Seed Bob Hearts Abishola vs 9 Seed FBI: International
Here, we have CBS’s lowest-rated comedy against their second FBI spinoff. Both rate similarly, with Bob Hearts Abishola dropping a tenth from its Neighborhood lead-in and FBI: International dropping 0.13 from its FBI lead-in. Neither are flagship series for CBS, but both did enough to secure early renewals; in FBI: International’s case, a multi-season renewal that came last May. To FBI: International’s credit, it is clearly more of a success than CSI: Vegas and rates higher than NCIS: Hawai’i, both of which are also spinoffs of well-known dramas and premiered in fall 2021. Bob Hearts Abishola is somehow the last remaining multi-cam on CBS produced by Chuck Lorre, once behind hit multi-cams like The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, and Mom. While he had three on the air last season, CBS decided Thursday nights needed a little help from Todd and canceled both B Positive and United States of Al. Bob Hearts Abishola will enter its fifth season next year, while FBI: International will air Season 3. Vote below for which show you would most like to see move on to the next round, and face off against the winner of Young Sheldon vs East New York!

4 Seed Fire Country vs 13 Seed CSI: Vegas
Before the season began, I don’t think anyone expected Fire Country to be CBS’s fourth-highest-rated show. Sure, its average is inflated by being the AFC Championship Game lead-out on January 29, but even discounting that episode it is doing much better than one would expect for a new show airing on Fridays after S.W.A.T. — which itself is rating better than expected despite its bubble status. One also would not expect CBS to have renewed 13 scripted shows by mid-February. Let’s face it: the time slot change for CSI: Vegas did not work. It is their lowest-rated fall scripted series, and its old Wednesday at 10 pm time slot has been filled by flops like The Real Love Boat and True Lies — not to mention the drama reruns over the winter. But CSI: Vegas is still renewed, and there is a high chance CBS intends on dragging it to syndication. Fire Country, meanwhile, is a brighter spot on CBS’s schedule. It covers up the abrupt cancelation of Magnum P.I., and it would be unsurprising if it eventually gets a spinoff or two. The question is if it has enough of an established fan base to win this poll against a CSI show, a franchise that has been around for over 22 years now. 

5 Seed The Neighborhood vs 12 Seed So Help Me Todd
To CSI: Vegas’s credit, it has to air after So Help Me Todd, given the 12 seed despite airing after an hour containing 1 Seed Young Sheldon and 2 Seed Ghosts. It will be interesting to see if CBS gives So Help Me Todd another try in the highly-desirable time slot, and if not, how it holds up in the ratings. While So Help Me Todd is a contender for a new time slot, The Neighborhood has aired on Mondays at 8 pm since October 2018 and will almost certainly remain there next season as well. The only realistic disruption to this would be if CBS wanted to finally create an all-NCIS night, but with Los Angeles not returning, this is now an impossibility. In fact, it’s more likely now than ever that The Neighborhood will lead off a two-hour comedy block. Discounted by some as a show that would be pulled from the schedule shortly after premiering, The Neighborhood has become a staple on CBS’s schedule. It’s hard to see the same happening for So Help Me Todd, but then again, NCIS wasn’t a hit in its first season so stranger things have happened. Despite the ratings gap, could So Help Me Todd’s memorable name help it to upset The Neighborhood? Vote below, and stay tuned on which show will face the winner of Fire Country and CSI: Vegas!

2 Seed Ghosts vs 18 Seed NCIS: Los Angeles
The sole canceled show so far, NCIS: Los Angeles upset S.W.A.T. by a landslide margin in the play-in round to get to this matchup. Now the question is, can it beat Ghosts, CBS’s second-highest-rated show? Ghosts is undeniably a breakout hit comedy for CBS, both in the ratings and critically. Meanwhile, NCIS: Los Angeles was canceled as the scapegoat to the decline of the NCIS franchise in general. Ghosts could very well become another long-running sitcom for CBS if the ratings hold. It’s a battle of new vs old here, as Ghosts is a breakout hit in only its second season, while NCIS: Los Angeles is about to wrap up an impressive 14 season run. It would be quite the feat if NCIS: Los Angeles can pull off another upset and continue to advance in CBS Renew/Cancel March Madness, a feat I suspect would happen as a result of CBS’s cancelation of the series. Should it pull off the upset, it may run into NCIS in the next round. NCIS: Los Angeles received over 50 votes in its play-in match against S.W.A.T.; another performance like that could be enough to give Ghosts a run for its money. 

7 Seed NCIS vs 10 Seed FBI: Most Wanted
Seemingly overnight, CBS has begun to prioritize the quickly-expanding FBI franchise over the gradually-declining NCIS franchise. Now airing at 10 pm, FBI: Most Wanted is the lowest-rated FBI series, but that is mostly due to the time slot. We may never know how it would perform if not in a block with the other FBI series; presumably not as well as it currently is. While it does a solid job filling a 10 pm time slot that CBS has often found problems in, NCIS has been a flagship series for CBS for almost its entire 20+ season run (as mentioned above, not so much the first season). CBS dislocated it from its usual Tuesdays at 8 pm time slot in favor of an all-FBI night, and it has seen rough declines on Mondays. Still, NCIS is way more well-known than FBI: Most Wanted to a casual viewer, and has much more name recognition. It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see NCIS advance to the next round, although the jury is still out on if the FBI franchise will have a strong showing. The winner of this matchup plays the winner of Ghosts vs NCIS: Los Angeles. 

3 Seed FBI vs 14 Seed Blue Bloods
Blue Bloods gets the 14 seed for not being one of the 13 renewed series, and for being predicted as Leans Renew when everything else is predicted to be canceled. Blue Bloods’ ratings are declining at exactly the wrong time, but I don’t envision the renewal being held up based on CBS wanting to see a few more weeks’ worth of ratings. Rather, I see it as CBS trying to figure out how to cut expenses on a show that is in its 13th season. Likely budget cuts is an ominous sign for a long-term future, and it’s highly possible Blue Bloods becomes next season’s NCIS: Los Angeles if it makes it out of this season alive. It faces off against FBI, the drama that originated CBS’s latest drama franchise. The FBI franchise is produced by Dick Wolf, also behind NBC’s Law & Orders and Chicagos. Meanwhile, Blue Bloods is the little show that could on Friday nights, airing in one of the toughest time slots on the entire schedule and pulling in a high number of total viewers and respectable demo numbers for the time slot for over a decade. It may have never gotten a spinoff, but that doesn’t take away from just how much of a success it is. Similar to NCIS vs FBI: Most Wanted, this is a battle of old vs new. Vote for which show you would most like to see make the Elite Eight!

6 Seed The Equalizer vs 11 Seed NCIS: Hawai’i
The Equalizer premiered after the Super Bowl and has looked rather strong on weeks when CBS would air late afternoon NFL games in the fall. Even on non-football nights, The Equalizer is still among CBS’s higher-rated shows. Still, it has struggled a bit this spring, something that has been masked by the greater struggles later in the night. Given it is a co-production with NBC, it is tough to say if The Equalizer will end up becoming a long-running series on CBS, although it should have a respectable run that will at least involve fulfilling the cast’s original presumed 6-season contracts. NCIS: Hawai’i may very well make it there too, although it could be painful to watch if it ever moves away from NCIS — something that is a realistic possibility as soon as next season. CBS will surely succeed in getting a fourth NCIS series to syndication, but the decline of the NCIS franchise in general has led to Hawai’i not having the same launch pad that Los Angeles and New Orleans got. The winner of this matchup faces the winner of FBI and Blue Bloods. Vote below on which show you would rather see advance!

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