CBS Renew/Cancel Week 31: Final Predictions for S.W.A.T., East New York, and True Lies


Welcome to Week 31 of CBS Renew/Cancel. This edition is being published a bit early so that final predictions can be explained ahead of these shows’ fates being announced. While it is not a certainly that S.W.A.T., East New York, and True Lies will all have their decisions announced by Sunday, CBS announcing that they will put out a press release with their schedule on Tuesday indicates this is a likelihood. Without any more introduction, here is the final table of predictions for the 2022-23 season.

S.W.A.T. is the toughest prediction to make of all three shows. In the pre-season column, it was in the Leans Cancel category, a prediction harsher than given to any other show at the time. However, S.W.A.T. ended up performing much better in the Live + Same Day ratings than I had expected. In addition, it provided a solid lead-in to Fire Country, easily the breakout hit of the season across all networks despite airing on a Friday. This was enough to eventually bump S.W.A.T. up as far as Leans Renew at one point. 

In January and February, CBS started handing out renewals to many of their shows. Not just obvious renewals like The Neighborhood and NCIS, but also some of their lowest-rated shows: NCIS: Hawai’i, CSI: Vegas, and So Help Me Todd. By this point, it became clear that S.W.A.T.’s path to renewal was much more complicated than simply pulling in solid ratings. 

S.W.A.T. is now approaching the end of its sixth season, and really it’s a miracle that it even made it this far. Sony, who distributes the show internationally and is the seemingly the lead studio of its production, has reportedly been giving CBS a good deal to keep S.W.A.T. on the air for the past couple seasons. At this point, cast contracts need to be renegotiated in order for there to be a Season 7, which would likely make the show more expensive. Additionally, networks have not been kind to shows they fully own as of late; just look at FOX giving away 9-1-1 to ABC, or CBS bumping almost the entire regular cast of Bob Hearts Abishola down to recurring. 

S.W.A.T. deserves to be renewed. It has an audience on Friday nights and fits well with the rest of the night. Then again, so did MacGyver and Magnum P.I., and those were both abruptly canceled in recent seasons. This is a prediction that goes beyond ratings, and demonstrates networks may be more willing to settle for a 0.35 from an inexpensive show they own than a 0.42 from a more expensive show that they only partially own. If S.W.A.T. gets renewed, I would imagine it will come with budget cuts a la Blue Bloods. 

The final prediction for S.W.A.T. is Tilts Cancel. 

East New York
I felt good about an East New York renewal coming into this season. The Sunday at 9 pm time slot gave it a lot of exposure, and CBS has been kind to their fall dramas by and large in recent seasons. Like with S.W.A.T., East New York’s chances for renewal looked much bleaker come late winter when many other shows received renewals. The change in management at CBS certainly cannot help. Plus, without the late afternoon NFL game to boost the Sunday night lineup, East New York has looked rather weak in the spring. At some points, it drops so much from The Equalizer that NCIS: Los Angeles, which was canceled in January, is able to grow slightly from it despite having mediocre ratings itself and a much worse time slot. 

Like S.W.A.T., East New York has an ownership problem. The drama is fully distributed by Warner Bros, a company Paramount hasn’t been all that friendly with recently. When combining the lack of ownership with rather low spring ratings, it does not look like East New York is in good shape. 

Still, this is the network that renewed their three lowest-rated fall scripted series in NCIS: Hawai’i, So Help Me Todd, and CSI: Vegas. East New York is neither fully owned nor part of a franchise, which partly explains why it didn’t get an early renewal alongside those lower-rated shows. Ratings have not seemed to matter as much as usual for CBS this season; ownership and syndication potential have. 

Having already canceled NCIS: Los Angeles, it wouldn’t hurt from a scheduling perspective to keep East New York around so they don’t have to fill two hours on Sunday in the fall (or whenever the season begins due to the writers strike). The harsh reality is it could be more financially feasible for CBS to just plug in Season 2 of Lingo, or invent another new unscripted series to be announced via press release. 

I don’t want to be too harsh on East New York in its prediction, because despite its weaknesses it really does not deserve to go as low as Likely or Certain Cancel. However, neither CBS nor the show’s ratings have given me much reason to be optimistic on its chances. 

The final prediction for East New York is Leans Cancel.

True Lies
True Lies, in my mind, is the easiest show of these three to predict. Unlike S.W.A.T. and East New York, True Lies was never in a Renew category in a previous column. CBS has zero distribution rights on this show, which they went out of their way to air behind reruns of FBI. It’s holding its own when it comes to retention, but its ratings are in a different league than the other CBS series. Combine this with the fact that it’s a new midseason drama that took forever to get on the air due to behind the scenes issues, and you have a classic case of a show that is probably getting canceled. 

True Lies hasn’t been pulled from the schedule, and it’s still being promoted, stopping it from being in the Certain Cancel category. Additionally, there’s no saying how this strike is going to affect CBS’s decision-making, if at all. Whereas it probably won’t affect an expensive show like S.W.A.T., a renewal for something less expensive like this new series could be a backup plan if there’s nothing else. Even then, CBS is perfectly content airing reruns of FBI after Survivor, so a second season of this show really does not seem like something they would find necessary. 

The final prediction for True Lies is Likely Cancel. 

Will CBS Really Cancel All Their Remaining Shows?
It’s not common for a network to cancel all their shows awaiting decisions in May, but then again, neither is renewing the vast majority of their lineup by the end of February. When it comes down to it, most networks only have low-rated shows left to renew or cancel at this point. Maybe this is a fluke due to networks anticipating a strike, but we could be entering an era where broadcast regularly hands out renewals early and cancelations later. 

What’s Next For CBS Renew/Cancel?
This is the final CBS Renew/Cancel featuring predictions for the 2022-23 season. After that, there will be two more: one as a look back at the season as a whole, and one as a look ahead to the 2023-24 season. That will lead to our summer hiatus, where what little of scripted programming will air across all networks in the summer will be predicted in our Summer Renew/Cancel column. Thank you to everyone who has been reading!

What Are Your Predictions?
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