Ratings debate: Will ‘Unforgettable’ last on CBS beyond finale?

Does Poppy Montgomery have a chance?

When you are a show airing on TV’s most-watched network in CBS week in and week out, you may as well expect that there is ultimately going to be a battle come renewal time. For “Unforgettable,” that battle is probably especially tough knowing that they would probably be renewed on any other network.

With that in mind, the show is the subject of one of our final ratings debates before the network upfronts next week.

Why it should go – If you look purely at numbers, the Poppy Montgomery drama is the weakest show that airs from Monday-Thursday in the coveted 18-49 demographic. Although it scored a 2.0 rating (or around 2.56 million viewers within the specified age range) for the season finale Tuesday night, this is above the average that the show has been pulling for most of the spring.

In addition to being a show that skews rather old, “Unforgettable” also fails to get much in the way of buzz. It’s not an awards darling, fails to receive many headlines when it comes to guest stars, and is way to early in its run for anyone to be thinking about syndication.

Why it should stay – Sometimes, you need to have consistency, and this show is just that. There’s not too much variation in the ratings from week to week for Montgomery and company, and for most of the season it has demolished everything else in its Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern timeslot (though “Private Practice” has been competitive in recent weeks).

You can also ask this question — will “Unforgettable” fare better than “CSI: Miami” does on Sundays, or than “CSI: NY” on Fridays? Considering that it is a cheaper show to make than either one of these two entries in the franchise, it’s certainly possible that the network could cancel these two shows and then move the subject of this article to one of these nights — though in doing so, you are cutting it off from its “NCIS: Los Angeles” lead-in.

What will happen – We look at the CBS schedule this way. If the network cancels the two aforementioned “CSI” shows, that means that it will have two hours in the fall for new programming (that is unless a current shows moves to midseason 2013 for its premiere). If they decide to fill one hour with comedies (as has been reported), then this number drops and there is room for only one new drama.

It’s not looking great for “Unforgettable,” and the fact that the show is co-produced by CBS means that it’s unlikely to land a spot on another network if canceled. We’ll for now give the show a 20% chance at sticking around — whether it be as a midseason replacement or an entry in the fall schedule. There’s just so much competition, and the network is developing so many drama pilots that they will want to give some a chance.

Photo: CBS

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