CBS Renew/Cancel Week 28: Ratings Junkie Talks Paramount’s Junk Rating, Part 2 + Renew/Cancel March Madness Final Four Voting


Below are the predictions for CBS Renew/Cancel Week 28, followed by an analysis. At the bottom are results for the second round of CBS Renew/Cancel March Madness followed by voting for the Final Four. 

Scripted Predictions

Category Change: FBI: Most Wanted is downgrated from Tilts Cancel to Leans Cancel

Unscripted Predictions

Paramount’s Credit Rating Problem
As was reported by many media outlets this past week, S&P Global has cut Paramount Global’s credit rating to junk status. That’s otherwise known as BB+, one step below their previous BBB- ranking. The downgrade to junk status was due mostly to Paramount’s struggles in entering the streaming wars. The S&P Global themselves bluntly stated that Paramount needs to make gains with streaming for the sake of their credit. It’s also been reported by Paramount Global had $14.6 billion in long-term debt at the end of 2023.

Paramount Global is a gigantic company that extends far past CBS. However, CBS’s shows are consistently some of the most popular on Paramount+. The catch is Paramount does not have full streaming rights for many of the shows they do not fully own, and it’s leading to cancelations of shows otherwise look renewable. It’s reportedly why Warner Bros’ East New York was canceled last season. CBS is also letting go of Warner Bros’ Young Sheldon and Bob Hearts Abishola alongside Sony’s S.W.A.T. at the end of the season, none of which are available to stream on Paramount+ beyond their current seasons. 

FBI: International and FBI: Most Wanted
There are two veteran shows taking up prime real estate on CBS’s schedule that Paramount does not have the full streaming rights to: FBI: International and FBI: Most Wanted, both of which are co-produced by NBCUniversal and whose earlier seasons stream on Peacock. At this point, a good question to ask would be why renew these spinoffs for another season when they should be focusing on series that can add to Paramount+’s catalog? FBI: International’s linear ratings aren’t particularly great, especially given the circumstances, and neither show performs nearly as well as FBI does in Live + Same Day or in multi-platform ratings. 

With three fully owned dramas ordered to series for next season (Matlock, Watson, and NCIS: Origins) and only one drama canceled so far (S.W.A.T.), it only makes sense that more cancelations are coming (Blue Bloods will end midseason and likely be replaced with either a Fire Country spinoff or NCIS: Sydney). CBS could easily stick two of those new dramas onto a promising revamped Tuesday night. NCIS: Origins will add to Paramount+’s NCIS catalog the way CSI: Vegas is currently doing for the CSI franchise, while Watson would be getting the benefit of being paired up with one of the highest-rated dramas on television. The FBI spinoffs don’t rate terribly, and certainly there are other shows on the schedule that should be canceled first when only looking at linear ratings, but they are increasingly looking to fall victim to Paramount’s overall financial woes. 

This leads to FBI: Most Wanted’s downgrade from Tilts Cancel to Leans Cancel. I’m hesitant to downgrade FBI: International beyond Leans Cancel, as there are still a couple factors that are going in its favor. First, Elsbeth could still flop to the point where a renewal for CBS is simply unjustifiable, but the series premiere a few weeks ago makes that outcome look increasingly unlikely. CBS could also decide they’d rather keep the FBI franchise intact than order an additional season of The Equalizer, a show they have the streaming rights to but is not about to get a spinoff. While the FBI spinoffs themselves aren’t in the Likely Cancel category, it *is* likely that two more drama cancelations are coming. The spinoffs will likely have to beat out shows CBS has the full streaming rights to in order to survive. It’s doable, but not what’s predicted. 

CBS Renew/Cancel March Madness Final Four

After another round of voting, the CBS Renew/Cancel March Madness Final Four is now set. S.W.A.T. continues its underdog run, getting over 8.8K votes (94%) against FBI. It will face NCIS, which defeated FBI: International with 64% of the vote. Tracker (54%) edged out CSI: Vegas in a come-from-behind win to advance to the Final Four, where it will face off against The Equalizer (57%). 

Will S.W.A.T. continue its unprecedented run by taking down FBI and NCIS back-to-back? Will the NCIS franchise have its redemption after narrowly losing last year’s championship? Will Tracker continue its string of narrow come-from-behind wins all the way to the championship? Will The Equalizer stop Tracker from making the championship round?  Vote for the shows you would most like to see advance to the championship round! 

You can also vote in ABC Renew/Cancel March Madness here, NBC here, and FOX here. Further thoughts on Paramount’s downgraded credit rating can be found in the latest Paramount+ Renew/Cancel here.

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