CBS has found itself a rather consistent performer over the years in “Elementary.” The Jonny Lee Miller series knows what it is, and works hard to deliver to that week in and week out. It’s a whodunnit procedural more so than anything else. It’s funny at times, series at others, and its goal is just to be entertaining popcorn TV every week. Sometimes, procedurals get a bad rep just because of their hesitancy to tell larger stories, but that does not make them any less valuable to viewers at home.
So while this show may be one of the best at giving you cases-of-the-week, its ratings are not always an indicator of that. Is there hope for the show despite an upcoming move to CBS’ Sunday night death-slot? This is something we hope to investigate in our latest Ratings Bubble Report.
The good news – If there was ever a plug-in-anywhere show for CBS, this would be it. “Elementary” is a classic mystery that can probably exit at any time of the week and draw similar ratings, just because it has a devoted following and also because it is not something you have to watch weekly to understand. It’s also still early enough in its run that it is not too expensive, and since CBS owns the show they stand to earn more from it in syndication. Who knows? It certainly possible that it could move to Sundays and fare decently, given that preemptions and NFL football have done it some damage on Thursdays.
The bad news – The ratings are bad; it’s as simple as that. Other than “CSI: Cyber” (which is almost sure to be canceled), there’s not a regularly-scheduled series with a lower 18-49 average. The ratings are also down right now more than 20% from season 3, which in turn was more than 20% down from season 2. This is a show that was heavily promoted for the first two seasons and even got a chance to air after the Super Bowl, so at this point CBS may just feel like they’ve done all they can do to help the show and they are now better off just wiping the slate clean.
Renewal odds – Moderately low. It’s possible that the show could return for a midseason run doubling as a final season, but we feel like the move to Sundays is a pretty clear indicator of what the network’s hopes for the show are: Fairly dim. It’s a shame given that it’s more entertaining than several higher-rated crime shows out there, but for some reason or another it hasn’t clicked with the mainstream.
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