CBS Power Rankings: Early Renew/Cancel Predictions for An Uncertain Season


Below you will find the very early pre-season Renew/Cancel predictions for CBS, presented in a special Power Rankings format. Factors such as studio ownership, episode count, time slot, and projected ratings go into these rankings. The projected rating for most returning shows is equal to the 2022-23 season low, with the exception of shows being moved to tougher time slots. In the 2022-23 season, many CBS series averaged roughly what their 2021-22 season low was.  

Here are the preseason CBS Power Rankings. At the bottom, you will find these predictions organized in a traditional Renew/Cancel table. Let us know what you think by voting in the poll and leaving a comment! 

1. Ghosts 

Ghosts comes in first place in the pre-season power rankings for a variety of ratings. First and foremost, it had strong ratings in its first two seasons, a trend expected to continue in the third season. Also, having aired 40 episodes, Ghosts is well on its way to syndication. Being owned by CBS Studios in a partnership with Lionsgate and BBC America, CBS will be able to profit off any syndication deal. Finally, Ghosts is touted as one of CBS’s most-viewed shows in Live + 35 + Multi-Platform ratings, averaging north of 11 million viewers per episode. 

2. Fire Country

Fire Country’s Season 1 average is inflated a bit by a post-NFL playoff airing, but the show performed well even without that airing. One thing that could save Fire Country from a steep decline is if Season 2 averages closer to how the show performed earlier in the spring. It took a steep drop in May, with each airing at a 0.35 or below despite all but one airing to date getting at least a 0.41 rating. Regardless, S.W.A.T. is confirmed to be ending after this upcoming season, and Blue Bloods went through massive budget cuts to secure this renewal. Given Fire Country is fully owned by CBS and arguably their biggest success story of the 2022-23 season, it should be well on its way to Season 3. 

3. NCIS: Hawai’i

The NCIS franchise is rapidly declining in the ratings, and is down to two shows for the first time since 2014. NCIS: Hawai'i was one of CBS's lowest-rated shows in the Live + Same Day Adults 18-49 demo last season, but with each renewal it inches closer to a syndication deal. Season 3 will see the addition of LL Cool J's NCIS: Los Angeles fan-favorite character, a move echoing when Ted Danson was added to the cast of CSI: Cyber Season 2. Despite low ratings, it would be shocking to see CBS give up on an NCIS series before it reaches syndication. As the WGA Strike goes on, NCIS: Hawai'i may slip in the rankings as it becomes more clear that it would need a fifth season to achieve this feat. 

4. So Help Me Todd

So Help Me Todd is not a ratings hit. It was one of CBS's lowest-rated shows in Adults 18-49 Live + Same Day, and was never mentioned in press releases highlighting multi-platform ratings. It had a great time slot in its first season, and will retain that time slot in its second season. This time around, CBS is choosing to launch a new show out of So Help Me Todd. CBS is clearly very much behind this show, and being fully owned, they are probably crossing their fingers for a syndication deal. As a fairly new and fully owned show, a renewal for So Help Me Todd is not going to be held up over cast contracts and studio negotiations. This is ultimately why it ranks so high on the preseason power rankings. 

5. CSI: Vegas

You may have noticed a trend by now: other than Ghosts, these are not exactly CBS's highest-rated shows. Instead, the shows that top the power rankings are shows that are arguably on their way to renewal no matter what their ratings are. CSI: Vegas's ratings are bound to be even more terrible in Season 3 than they already are. It's been relegated to the Sunday at 10 death slot, and will head into the season as CBS's lowest-rated scripted renewal for the second season in a row. Given CBS very likely did not renew CSI: Vegas for its ratings, it's becoming clearer that they intend to get it a syndication deal. 

6. The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood has put up solid ratings its entire run, and is now one of the highest-rated comedies on television in Adults 18-49 Live + Same Day. Unlike many of CBS’s other popular series, CBS has not disclosed anything regarding its multi-platform viewership. Given The Neighborhood came in 3rd place in the demo but only 9th in Live + Same Day total viewers, one may expect it to perform worse in a metric measured by total viewers. Being left out of press releases about multi-platform viewership does not take away from the fact that The Neighborhood, a fully owned series, is a hit. As it is now entering its sixth season and the total episode count hits the triple digits, The Neighborhood will naturally become more expensive. Cast contracts could potentially make a Season 7 renewal the toughest one to date, but are very unlikely to get the show outright canceled. 

7. Matlock

Given the scheduling in the Sundays at 8 pm time slot, CBS is determined for Matlock to work. While thematically it’d be a better fit with So Help Me Todd, this time slot should give it exposure, and it has potential to fit well with 60 Minutes’ audience. There is one huge factor that could push Matlock down the Power Rankings: the WGA Strike. The longer the strike lingers on, the less time Matlock will have airing in the fall, when CBS oftentimes has late afternoon football games boosting most hours of its prime time schedule. In fact, Matlock may very well not end up airing on the same night of the NFL at all. This would significantly affect its projected A18-49. Still, as a fully owned show that CBS at least intends to give plenty of exposure to, Matlock arguably enters the season in strong standing. 

8. Elsbeth

It’s hard to imagine CBS picked up a spinoff of The Good Wife and The Good Fight, lasting a respective 7 and 6 seasons, only to cancel it after one season. If the show does absolutely terrible and they like their development for the 2024-25 season, it could possibly be vulnerable. But as CSI: Vegas showed, CBS has an awfully low bar in the Thursday at 10 pm time slot for shows related to pre-existing series. I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS’s expectations for the show are rather low, with the poor time slot being their excuse to renew it despite low ratings. Plus, it’s fully owned and could be attractive to advertisers if they expect it to be as appealing to high-income viewers as The Good Wife was. 

9. Poppa’s House

I’m holding off on a pre-season ratings prediction for Poppa’s House until we know when and where it will air on the schedule. The assumption is midseason on Mondays after Bob Hearts Abishola wraps its 13-episode run, but the delay of the fall season due to the ongoing WGA Strike could complicate that. This ranking assumes CBS will make every effort to air Poppa’s House in season, and that episodes will not bleed into the summer. Poppa’s House is fully owned, so CBS will want to try to get it to syndication if the ratings are half-decent. 

10. FBI

As TV ratings continue to decline each season, the difference between a hit and a flop in absolute numbers gets increasingly smaller. In a past era, FBI would be considered a lock for renewal. It’s the original show in a franchise that has an entire night dedicated to it, and was the network’s highest-rated drama last season. The problem with FBI is that it’s now entering its sixth season, the second one in a two-season renewal that happened just before upfronts in May 2022. It’s as expensive as ever, cast contracts are likely set to expire at the end of the season, and CBS will have to go through another round of negotiations with lead studio NBCUniversal. Ultimately, a renewal will probably be secured, but it could come with budget cuts. Plus, we all saw how FOX let go of the unowned 9-1-1 (but renewed its younger spin-off) despite stellar ratings. Luckily for FBI, CBS is not FOX. 

11. FBI: International

If FBI: International was fully owned by CBS, it would be ranked well above #11 in the power rankings. 43 episodes in, the show is well on its way to syndication, has respectable ratings, and is the spin-off of a hit series. It is notably the weakest of the three FBI series; CBS reports FBI as averaging over 11 million viewers in Live + 35 + Multi-Platform through April 2, and FBI: Most Wanted over 9 million viewers, with no mention of FBI: International; they reported its total viewers in that same metric as 9.0 million through January 8, compared to FBI’s 11.4 million and Most Wanted’s 9.5 million. Whereas CBS doesn’t have much of an incentive to get FBI: International to syndication, NBCUniversal very much does, and will likely try to give CBS a good deal with the licensing fees if the network threatens to cancel it. FBI: International is in fairly good shape, but CBS could decide to cut down on unowned veteran dramas, and a prolonged strike would mean it would need one additional season to reach syndication. 

12. NCIS

As mentioned in the analysis on NCIS: Hawai’i, the NCIS franchise is fading. The move to Mondays predictably put a huge dent in NCIS’s ratings, NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans are off the air, and NCIS: Hawai’i is struggling to find an audience akin to what NCIS shows used to see, even relative to the declining league average. CBS also has a history of ending a long-running show that they own every season. If that trend continues this season, all signs so far are pointing toward that show being Blue Bloods. However, as an even more ancient series, NCIS is a dark horse candidate. CBS probably does not want to let go of their most-viewed show in Live + 35 + Multi-Platform, but expenses and declining ratings could put it at risk. 

13. Tracker

Tracker is CBS’s lone new unowned series, and was left off the fall schedule. CBS is making up for this by airing the series premiere after the Super Bowl, although a permanent time slot has not yet been named. While airing after the Super Bowl is a sign of confidence, it is not a surefire indicator of an incoming renewal. As a recent example, the ill-fated World’s Best lasted just one season on CBS despite having the Super Bowl as the lead-in for its premiere. Tracker’s ultimate fate will depend on how it performs in its regular time slot. If it’s a ratings hit, it may move up in the rankings. If it has mediocre ratings akin to East New York or low ratings akin to True Lies, it could very well be looking at a downgrade. 

14. The Equalizer

The Equalizer faces the prospects of a rough year-to-year ratings trend; the Sunday at 9 pm time slot is significantly less desirable than the 8 pm time slot, especially in a season that could be delayed to the point where few if any episodes air during the NFL season. It was one of four series on CBS that is owned by NBCUniversal, the other three being the FBI franchise. If CBS decides it’s not financially feasible to give all four series another season, this could lead to a declining Equalizer getting canceled. A more likely scenario is that NBCUniversal will do all they can to get CBS to keep it around until it can get a syndication deal. Given how important it has become for networks to own their shows, a renewal for The Equalizer could be more complicated than expected. 

15. FBI: Most Wanted

The ‘Tilts’ category was introduced last season in lieu of a Toss-Up category. This is arguably a controversial place to put FBI: Most Wanted, but the reality is that FBI: Most Wanted is now something no show wants to be: an aging unowned spinoff. It can’t help that its 2022-23 ad rate was lower than any other non-Friday veteran series. When a show is unowned, networks rely primarily on ad revenue to make a show profitable. If CBS and NBCUniversal fail to come an agreement that would bring back all three FBIs, the one on the chopping block would probably be FBI: Most Wanted. CBS will want FBI for its ratings, and NBCUniversal will likely be more interested in getting FBI: International syndicated than getting an additional season of FBI: Most Wanted. While it’s ultimately predicted that FBI: Most Wanted will return, this combined with the likelihood that cast contracts are expiring could be the perfect formula for a surprise cancelation; or at least, significant budget cuts. 

16. Young Sheldon

Despite the category name, Young Sheldon will not be canceled in the way True Lies was canceled. However, there is a lot of talk going on about how Young Sheldon is approaching moments in Big Bang Theory cannon that would bring the show to its natural end. Perhaps the most ominous sign for Young Sheldon is the second Big Bang Theory spinoff in development at Max, which was proudly announced without a name, cast, or synopsis. Could this be a Sheldon-less spinoff akin to The Conners? Even if it’s not, does Warner Brothers really plan to have one Big Bang Theory spinoff air on their streaming service, and another licensed out to a rival company’s broadcast network? Heading into Season 7, the show is naturally more expensive than ever, and young Sheldon is getting older. If this is the final season of Young Sheldon, it’ll almost certainly be announced well ahead of time. A prolonged WGA Strike, and thus a shortened season, could be a major factor in it scoring an additional season. 

17. Blue Bloods

As part of its renewal for a 14th season, the producers and cast of Blue Bloods took a 25% pay cut. It was notably the last show that CBS renewed this past season, with the exception of the un-cancelation of S.W.A.T. Despite being fully owned, syndicated, and one of CBS’s most-viewed shows in Live + 35 + Multi-Platform, it’s become increasingly difficult for CBS to renew Blue Bloods. As CBS’s second-oldest scripted series, it’s predicted that Blue Bloods will head the way of NCIS: Los Angeles and be given a final season announcement. If the new shows flop and the producers and cast agree to yet another pay cut, perhaps this could change. In addition, CBS will have to think about how much they want to shake up Friday nights; the un-cancelation of S.W.A.T. could either delay Blue Bloods’ end, or cause the network to lose two of their three fall Friday series in the same season. 

18. Bob Hearts Abishola

Bob Hearts Abishola is not a low-rated show. However, given the success of Ghosts, Young Sheldon, and The Neighborhood, as well as CBS’s unwillingness to expand comedy past two hours, Bob Hearts Abishola is well on its way to being the network’s lowest-rated veteran comedy for the second straight season. Depending on how Poppa’s House performs, it could also be their lowest-rated comedy for the second straight season. More importantly, Bob Hearts Abishola is unowned and apparently about to be operating on a shoestring budget. The series regular cast has been cut down from 13 to 2, a move that came months after the fifth season renewal. After this season, it’ll be at the point where Warner Bros Discovery can realistically find a syndication deal for it. Beyond a terrible comedy development, one thing that could save Bob Hearts Abishola is if Young Sheldon indeed does end, but CBS wants to stay in business with Chuck Lorre. With Young Sheldon aging and Bob Hearts Abishola seemingly on its last legs, it’s a bit surprising CBS didn’t expand comedy on their upcoming schedule. 

19. S.W.A.T. 

Despite originally being canceled, S.W.A.T. is coming back for a 13-episode Season 7 on CBS. Between having low ratings midway through its run and facing the complications of being an aging unowned show today, S.W.A.T. has been on the bubble more often than not since it began in 2017. Given it’s the only show that has been confirmed to not be returning for another season, it places in last place in the power rankings. 

Renew/Cancel Table

To summarize the Power Rankings, here is the full Renew/Cancel table with predictions as they stand today:


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