CBS Renew/Cancel Week 30: One Shining Moment for S.W.A.T. While Other Veterans Find Themselves In Trouble


Below are the Week 30 predictions for CBS Renew/Cancel, followed by an analysis. At the bottom, the winner of CBS Renew/Cancel March Madness is revealed. The following shows have been renewed since Week 29:

-FBI is upgraded from Leans Renew to Renewed 
-NCIS is upgraded from Certain Renew to Renewed 
-S.W.A.T. is upgraded from Canceled to Renewed 
-The Neighborhood is upgraded from Certain Renew to Renewed 
-FBI: Most Wanted is upgraded from Leans Cancel to Renewed 
-FBI: International is upgraded from Leans Cancel to Renewed

In the wake of these renewals, the following prediction changes have been made:
-CSI: Vegas is downgraded from Likely Renew to Tilts Renew
-NCIS: Hawai’i is downgraded from Likely Renew to Tilts Cancel
-So Help Me Todd is downgraded from Likely Renew to Leans Cancel
-The Equalizer is downgraded from Tilts Renew to Leans Cancel

Scripted Predictions

Unscripted Predictions

Where’d The Fixed Factors Benefit Column Go?
As you may know, in addition to ratings, there were four fixed factors that were being used to predict renewals and cancelations for the 2024-25 season. A show was given one point each if it had less than 7 seasons, fully owned by Paramount, part of a franchise or IP, and if Paramount has the streaming rights to all seasons. These factors were determined based off recent renewals and cancelations. For example, it’s been reported by other outlets that East New York’s cancelation last season came down to Paramount wanting, but not able to acquire, streaming rights for all seasons. 

With the renewals of the FBI spinoffs and S.W.A.T. this past week while keeping shows that fit the entire criteria on the bubble, it’s become apparent CBS is not considering these factors together with the same weight as I had presumed. The column may make a return in the future, but it has to be adjusted based on how the rest of the renewal and cancelation decisions play out first.

FBI, FBI: International, and FBI: Most Wanted
One of the biggest questions going into this season was how negotiations would go between CBS and NBCUniversal, who is the lead studio of the FBI franchise as well as The Equalizer. This past week, CBS handed renewals to all three FBI series, with FBI getting renewed for three seasons and the spinoffs getting renewed for one season each. The Equalizer was left out of the renewal announcement. While it may still be renewed, it was not bundled in with a renewal for the FBIs.

CBS clearly values FBI far more than FBI: International and FBI: Most Wanted, or else they all would have gotten three-season renewals. FBI is one of the highest-rated shows on linear and multi-platform, giving CBS plenty of reason to want to renew it. Plus, if they couldn’t come to an agreement with NBCUniversal, it’s highly likely they’d find FBI as their competition next season. It’s quite possible renewals for FBI: International and/or FBI: Most Wanted bundled in to secure additional seasons of FBI. Ultimately though, it’s tough to envision CBS handing out renewals to shows they don’t want to keep. 

The biggest reason why the FBI spinoffs were predicted as Leans Cancel in this column was that Paramount did not have the full streaming rights. Previous seasons moved to Peacock prior to the current ones beginning. However, with Paramount Global undergoing talks of a sale and Paramount+ on a desperate quest to profitability, perhaps not having the full streaming rights isn’t such a bad thing after all. Only hosting one season of a series is cheaper than hosting several, and the bulk of all viewing likely would come from the current season anyways. With Paramount+ canceling and removing some of their own shows from the platform, it’s a theory worth considering. 

Tuesdays will be uninteresting on CBS’s schedule next fall, but they’ll at least be able to count on solid ratings while they introduce new shows in other time slots. With a handful of new shows already ordered to series, that leaves less space open for yet-to-be-renewed veterans on the rest of the schedule.

The three-season renewal for FBI boosts its Renew/Cancel Power Ranking to #1. FBI: International and FBI: Most Wanted’s new Power Rankings are #8 and #9 respectively. Both could find themselves in trouble next season without FBI also up for renewal. 

NCIS, NCIS: Hawai’i, and CSI: Vegas
Shortly following the renewal announcement for the FBI franchise came the renewals for NCIS and The Neighborhood. They were the two remaining shows predicted in the Certain Renew column, so the renewals themselves were fully expected. However, it’d seemingly make more sense to renew the FBI franchise and the NCIS Monday duo together than the FBI franchise, NCIS, and The Neighborhood. That is, unless NCIS: Hawai’i isn’t actually coming back for a fourth season. 

An NCIS: Hawai’i cancelation would make for the third out of four seasons that CBS would cancel an NCIS spinoff, even as they claim they are focused on expanding the franchise. There’s also presumably plenty of syndication potential in the show, given the success of the franchise overall. However, the ratings are at the lower end of CBS’s crop in linear and around the median in multi-platform, and due to the dual strikes it is still two seasons away from any syndication deal. 

NCIS: Hawai’i’s season premiere was up 1% in Live + 35 Day mulit-platform viewers from the year-ago episode, which ties for the third-worst year-to-year comparison. That may not cut it for a show that just brought in LL Cool J from NCIS: Los Angeles, likely in attempt to boost the ratings. It’s quite possible CBS was not satisfied with NCIS: Hawai’i’s past performance, and its path to renewal laid in a substantial year-to-year ratings increase — not just in Live + Same Day, but overall. If that’s the case, it would go out much like the ill-fated sitcom Kevin Can Wait. While the ratings for the Kevin James-led multi-cam were passable, apparently they were supposed to skyrocket with Kevin James’ on-screen wife being recast with Leah Remini. 

It’s tough to say whether the Hawaii filming location is a benefit or drawback for NCIS: Hawai’i — or possibly both. On one hand, it films on the facilities used by Hawaii Five-0, and CBS seemingly wants at least one show filmed in Hawaii at all times. It’s likely a large part of how NCIS: Hawai’i came to fruition in the first place. However, outside of using the facilities built for another series, Hawaii isn’t the cheapest place to film. NCIS: Origins will be cheaper to film and to host on Paramount+, as will NCIS: Sydney. 
Another issue that could lead to Hawai’i getting canceled is schedule space. Given CBS’s head of programming previously said NCIS: Origins is different than the other NCIS series, a Monday slot seemed unlikely. I had it penciled in Tuesdays at 8 in NCIS’s original time slot, with FBI shifting to 9. With Tuesdays and Fridays now off-limits for new shows, NCIS: Origins will likely get paired up with the NCIS. 

That leaves CSI: Vegas fighting to keep its Sundays at 10pm slot. On one hand, it’s still one of CBS’s lowest-rated shows despite the benefit of airing after Tracker. On the other, CSI still plays well internationally and it might be for the best to keep one CSI show and three NCIS shows over zero CSI shows and four NCIS shows. I could see this going either way, with the edge currently tilting toward CSI: Vegas being the one to come back. Then again, they do have a history of sticking NCIS shows in that Sunday at 10pm time slot toward the end of their runs, and canceling NCIS: Hawai’i would leave them with no Hawaii-based shows. I wouldn’t run it past them to give the NCIS spinoff another year or two on Sundays, get it into syndication, and then replace it with Fire Country: Hawai’i. 

The Equalizer
A lot of things went wrong for The Equalizer this past week. Previously in Tilts Renew, it’s now been downgraded two categories to Leans Cancel. Not being bundled in with a renewal for the FBIs complicates its chances. Having the worst year-to-year comparisons on the network in multi-platform viewership (-7%) doesn’t help either, although the linear ratings are still strong. The biggest challenge for The Equalizer is the lack of time slots open for it. Matlock is highly likely to steal its Sundays at 8 time slot, and I don’t see a way both CSI: Vegas and NCIS: Hawai’i get canceled; one of them will likely close out Sunday nights. Tuesdays, Fridays, and likely Wednesdays are off-limits, and it’d take a big schedule reshuffle for it to fit onto Mondays. That leaves Thursdays, where it will be competing with the other bubble shows as well as likely Watson for a time slot. Negotiations may have fallen through while CBS and NBCUniversal were discussing renewals for the FBI franchise.

If CBS cancels The Equalizer, there could still be hope for fans that it will grab a slot on NBC. It wouldn’t be a bad move on the latter’s part given NBCUniversal is the lead studio and it’s one of CBS’s highest-rated shows in Live + Same Day ratings. 

So Help Me Todd and Elsbeth
All season long, I pretty much figured So Help Me Todd would be safe for a third season. It’s fully owned, and CBS showed a favorability to fully owned series last season. Plus, filming in Vancouver keeps costs down. Saturday Night Live also presumed a third season, joking that CBS was replacing the long-running Blue Bloods with So Help Me Todd. That may not actually be the case.

According to FutonCritic, CBS made a schedule change on May 23. Instead of Elsbeth’s finale airing at 10pm after reruns of Young Sheldon, Ghosts, and Todd, it will air at 9pm followed by a rerun at 10. The sitcom rerun hour has been replaced with a Price Is Right At Night special. 

So Help Me Todd is low-rated in both linear and multi-platform ratings, and unlike many of CBS’s other shows is not part of a franchise or IP. It may have just been one of those shows that got renewed because of the uncertainty regarding the then-potential strike(s). After all, it was developed and ordered by old management. On the other hand, Elsbeth is part of the Good Wife IP and is showing promise by growing out of Todd this past week in total viewers. It does lag behind in the key demo, being one of the oldest-skewing shows on television. 

I don’t think CBS really needs either of these shows next year, but moving Elsbeth to Paramount+ while sliding Todd to 10pm might not be a bad idea. Based on that schedule change, though, it doesn’t look like that’s the way CBS is leaning at the moment. 

CBS Renew/Cancel March Madness and S.W.A.T.

Nearly 165K votes were cast across all rounds of CBS Renew/Cancel March Madness, culminating in a landslide victory for S.W.A.T. It won as a 17 seed, but soars to #6 in the Power Rankings this week after its sudden renewal. Of course, CBS would not renew a show an unprofitable show. Still, if you voted for S.W.A.T. in any of these rounds, or if you were a writer, cast member, or even a series lead bringing attention to these polls on social media, your efforts were not futile. We see you and appreciate you voting in not just the S.W.A.T. matchups, but in the other matchups as well. 

S.W.A.T. had by far the toughest path to a win, having to beat the original NCIS and FBI series before going on to beat Tracker for the championship. That’s not to discount beating Bob Hearts Abishola in the play-in round, which also sees sturdy ratings and is in its final season. S.W.A.T. won all its matchups with ease, and was the highest vote-getter in every round. 

Unlike the un-cancelation and subsequent renewal for a then-final Season 7, S.W.A.T. Season 8 has notably not been announced as a final season. It also reportedly has a 22-episode order, up from the 13-episode order it received for Season 7. That 13-episode order was made even before it was known that the strikes would delay the return of scripted programming. 

S.W.A.T.’s renewal for Season 8 was a surprise, but a welcome one. It’s found a sizable audience on Friday nights, and keeping with the original plan of ending S.W.A.T. this season would have led to a revamped Friday night by this time next season. It’s a safer bet to keep S.W.A.T. where it is as they focus on building Fire Country into a franchise than to move something else there and hope for the same results. 

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