CBS Renew/Cancel Week 30: What Is Going On With Paramount and Warner Bros?


Welcome to Week 30 of CBS Renew/Cancel. Below is the updated chart of predictions, followed by an analysis. There is also a discussion of the recent developments pertaining to Bob Hearts Abishola. 

Bob Hearts Abishola’s Cast Cuts
Bob Hearts Abishola received an early renewal for Season 5 in January. An unfortunately-timed downgrade took this show off the bubble right before the renewal, but for 9 straight weeks was in either Tilts Renew or Tilts Cancel after starting the season with a more optimistic prediction. 

Turns out, despite Bob Hears Abishola’s ultimate renewal, there were financial issues to be solved. Just this past week, it was announced that only the actors portraying the title characters would retain their status as leads in the upcoming season. The other 11 lead actors have been downgraded to recurring, and are guaranteed to be featured in as few as five episodes. 

Of course, no sitcom really needs to have 13 series regulars, much less one that has run for as few as 18 minutes before. Still, to cut it down to just two series regulars is a massive cost cutting measure, especially given the episodic guarantee for the recurring characters does not increase if the show received a backorder from its initial 13-episode order. 

It’s not entirely clear if Paramount (who owns CBS) or WarnerBros Discovery (who produces the show) was the driver of this move. We do know that the renewal came at a lower licensing fee, meaning budget cuts had to be made. And although this may not look like much at first, what happened to Bob Hearts Abishola is arguably yet another sign of a souring relationship between Paramount and WarnerBros Discovery. 

Taking a Step Back: Looking Into Paramount’s Past with WarnerBros
Just a few years ago, if there were any two media conglomerates that could be seen as allies, it would be Viacom (now Paramount) and WarnerBros (now WarnerBros Discovery). Their joint network, The CW, was seemingly doing better than ever. Countless WB-produced superhero shows flooding the network and doing well on Netflix, and the CBS-produced shows were getting The CW major awards recognition. While Warner Brothers produced most of the ratings hits for The CW, their standalone network, The WB, shuttered in 2006 for financial reasons. 

Right as The CW was peaking, the so-called “streaming wars” began. Within a matter of a couple years, Viacom/Paramount doubled down on their streaming efforts by turning CBS All Access into Paramount+, and Warner Bros started HBO Max. Starting at that point, new CW shows would no longer get Netflix deals. It was only a matter of time before both companies’ shares in The CW were reduced to just 12.5%, with Nexstar buying out the remaining 75% and now in creative control of the network. Paramount+ remains a second-tier streaming service in popularity three years after launch, HBO Max is becoming Max with the help of their merger with Discovery, and this article was published one day before the deadline for a writers’ strike, caused by concerns over pay and working conditions in the streaming era, to be averted. 

What This Means For East New York
The apparent souring relationship between Paramount and Warner Bros is a big part of the reason why East New York remains in the Leans Cancel category, despite passable ratings. CBS hasn’t been overly kind with Warner Bros shows recently. They abruptly canceled B Positive and United States of Al last season. Bob Hearts Abishola barely made it out of this season alive. East New York was left out of the early renewals, and while it still could be renewed, is predicted by this column as more likely to be canceled than renewed. Even the future of Young Sheldon may be up in the air after next season, with HBO Max ordering a new Big Bang Theory spinoff to keep for themselves and future seasons at risk of breaking franchise canon. 

With no pilots from Warner Bros in development, could CBS stop airing Warner Bros shows altogether when Bob Hearts Abishola, East New York, and Young Sheldon all ultimately get canceled/come to an end? At this rate, signs seem to be pointing to Yes: at least in the short-term. 

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