CBS Renew/Cancel Week 2: Survivor Will Survive + Why Poppa’s House Probably Won’t Air This Season


Below are the Week 2 predictions for CBS Renew/Cancel. This week, Survivor and The Amazing Race enter the predictions table. Below that is an analysis on Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Buddy Games, as well as thoughts on what’s next for scripted series in light of ABC’s decision to push High Potential to the 2024-25 season.

Season 45 of Survivor premiered to a 0.84 Adults 18-49 Live + Same Day rating. Such a rating is practically unobtainable these days for something that isn’t either live sports or airing directly after said live sports event. Relative to the league average, Survivor’s current performance outdoes that of all but the earliest seasons. CBS made a smart move to extend the episodes this season to 90 minutes. This gives it additional real estate on the schedule without the risk of overexposure. Survivor starts out as a Certain Renew, and it’s hard to imagine anything outside of extenuating circumstances changing that. 

The Amazing Race
There’s no way around it: The Amazing Race’s 0.36 Adults 18-49 Live + Same Day premiere rating is incredibly weak retention from its Survivor lead-in. When looking at ratings alone, The Amazing Race has seemingly been on and off the bubble ever since it moved to Fridays in 2014. Right when it looked like The Amazing Race might get canceled, or at least shipped off to summer, it would have a really good season and solidify its spot on the schedule. This is not looking to be one of those seasons, nor was the last season. With speculation a filmed but unaired season may air exclusively on Paramount+, CBS could potentially consider moving future installments to the streamer. However, it’s cheap to produce and its presence was much-needed this fall. Plus, it’s hard to bet against a show about contestants traveling around the world when it’s in its 35th season and already survived a global pandemic. It starts out as a Likely Renew.

Buddy Games
Buddy Games held up well on Thursday without the Big Brother lead-in. There are a few problems here, though. First, the ratings were low to begin with. A 0.23 Adults 18-49 Live + Same Day rating is a weak way to start off a night. Second, it arguably hurt Big Brother. While Buddy games was down a modest 0.04 ratings points without the Big Brother lead-in, Big Brother itself was down 0.14 ratings points from its week-ago episode. CBS is relying heavily on Big Brother right now, and scheduling Buddy Games at 8 is arguably a net negative for the network’s ratings. Finally, it’s highly likely Buddy Games actually fell from its local programming lead-in. Buddy Games had the honor of being the lowest-rated first-run series on the Big 4 on Thursday, and as such remains in the Leans Cancel category. 

What’s Next for Scripted?
Now that the WGA Strike is over (pending a vote from the members) and SAG-AFTRA is about to begin negotiations with the AMPTP, we can begin to have hope that most scripted shows will in fact return some time this season. It probably won’t be until spring, and episode orders will either be short or will lead to some of this season’s episodes airing next fall. While nobody knows for certain, Deadline reports many new series initially meant for the 2023-24 season may be delayed for the 2024-25 season so the networks have time to properly promote them.

This makes sense in some cases for CBS. Matlock was originally supposed to premiere Sundays at 8 pm and benefit from airing in the fall when CBS broadcasts late afternoon NFL games. By launching in the spring, any hope of ratings success is greatly diminished. 

The same goes for new sitcom Poppa’s House, which was not given a time slot on the fall schedule. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Bob Hearts Abishola wrap up its run in the spring, opening the time slot for Poppa’s House in the fall. 

Despite not having a time slot yet, Tracker will almost certainly make CBS’s midseason schedule so long as they go through with their plans of airing the pilot after the Super Bowl. 

Elsbeth, a show with low expectations to begin with, would likely fail miserably with a spring launch. It wouldn’t be surprising to see it pushed to fall or even shipped off to Paramount+ like previous The Good Wife spinoff, The Good Fight. If the fifth season does passable enough in the fall, CBS could open up the time slot previously meant for Elsbeth to the 10-episode sixth season of SEAL Team. Another possibility could be airing additional episodes of Paramount+’s Criminal Minds: Evolution. 

There’s also a question of if CBS orders a hypothetical Season 2 of NCIS: Sydney, and if so, if it leads to the cancelation of an existing series. For now, that question is worth asking but practically impossible to answer.  

There are two shows I would expect to see off CBS’s schedule before fall 2024 comes around; those are Bob Hearts Abishola and S.W.A.T. The latter has already been announced as a final season after previously being canceled, and the former went through major budget cuts to secure what was always going to be a short fifth season. CBS has the luxury to do this, as they have already have the rights to two new medical dramas, The Pact and Watson, with the option to go straight to series. I would expect one to be paired up with Fire Country on Fridays in a block similar to NBC’s Chicago Med and Fire, or ABC’s Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy. 

Whatever other scripted series survives past their current renewals will depend largely on CBS’s reaction to the new WGA and SAG-AFRTA contracts, as well as how heavily they want to lean into unscripted. Until we learn more, I’ll mostly stand by my preseason predictions for veteran series. However, I’m now predicting a renewal for Young Sheldon due to what will likely be a lack of a traditional pilot season. CBS would have an awfully hard time replacing their highest-rated scripted series without a pilot season when they are already likely showing Bob Hearts Abishola the exit door. 

What do you think of these predictions? Let us know by voting in the poll and leaving a comment!

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