“The Amazing Race” constantly alternates around in placement in our personal list of favorite shows of all time. While it may be flawed at times (cab drivers ruining racers’ chances, legs that are too easy or too short), it combines our love of seeing the world with reality TV competition and strategy. It’s been a thrill to watch for well over a decade, and we’ve went on to cover both the Australian and Canadian versions, as well.
Unfortunately, the show finds itself now in a major ratings pickle. It’s one of CBS’ weaker shows both in total viewers and the 18-49 demographic, and it doesn’t show much hope for improvement. Is it work keeping around for a 29th and a 30th season? We hope so, but we’re going to dive further into this in the latest chapter of our Ratings Bubble Report feature.
The good news – If you are looking at retention, you can at least make an argument that the viewers who watch the show are loyal. The average demo rating this fall was down only around 5% compared to the equivalent season from fall 2014, which is an insignificant decline for a long-running show. It barely lost any total viewers, which may suggest just that some viewers are aging out of the demo.
In terms of financials, it has going for it a reasonable price tag compared to scripted series, and also great synergy between “Big Brother” and “Survivor,” the network’s highly-rated reality show stalwarts. While we don’t think it would necessarily be drawing similar ratings to those shows on a better night, you do have to take the timeslot into consideration here and that many young viewers simply aren’t checking out TV Friday night. (The last time it aired away from Fridays, the race averaged almost a 1.8 rating.)
The bad news – It’s all about what a show is doing now versus what a show did years ago. The ultimate reality here is that “The Good Wife,” “CSI: Cyber,” and “Elementary” are the only three CBS shows that are losing “The Amazing Race” by any real margin, and eventually they may think that they have something better that they can plug in here. Also, it is one of the network’s least-watched shows; while total viewers don’t matter as much as the demo, we know that CBS loves to boast to being “America’s Most-Watched Network.” The show is also taking such a huge gamble with its social-media-star season (obviously a ploy to attract young fans) that they could lose a percentage of what they already have if the cast terms out terribly. It’s a risk.
Renewal odds – Moderately high. The reason we’re still optimistic about the show’s future is primarily twofold: Reliability compared to testing a new show in the timeslot, and also the upcoming 30th season. We could see CBS getting the show to that point, and then calling it quits on a milestone like “American Idol” is with season 15.
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