Ratings Bubble Report: Can ‘Life in Pieces’ piece together season 2 renewal?

If there is one thing that we’ve learned over time from CBS, it is this: Their attempts at single-camera comedy don’t tend to go over well. As a matter of fact, almost none of them get a second season.

Can “Life in Pieces” be that one show that rises above and manages to break the cycle? It’s at least got a great cast, some decent ratings, and also a family-based audience that may be committed to it at this point. Unfortunately, it also has a great lead-in mystery that will need to be examined at the end of this season. Luckily, weighing the odds for a renewal is what our Ratings Bubble Report series is all about!

The good news – When the show drifted down to a 1.9 rating in the 18-49 demographic all the way back in October, we were feeling very much concerned that we wouldn’t be seeing the show on the air for a whole lot longer. However, since that time there have only been two episodes that have posted a rating that was rounded down to 1.8, and the show is still averaging a 2.0 on the season. If you look at the number of comedies at the moment with that average, it’s not a very big list. Clearly, the show is doing something right to product this sort of amazing consistency night in and night out.

The bad news – How much of it is because of airing after “The Big Bang Theory”? This question was asked of “The Odd Couple” and “The Millers” before, and it should be asked here now. The Jim Parsons comedy always provides a decent lift to whatever airs after it, but until CBS really tries the show out consistently without it as a lead-in, they’re not going to know the strength of this show. One concern already may be that “Life in Pieces” is averaging just over half of what “The Big Bang Theory” is in the demo; in theory, you would want to see them have a little better retention than that.

Renewal odds – Moderately high. While we do worry about the show going downhill fast next season with a different lead-in, we don’t think you can cancel it when its drawing better ratings than the majority of the comedies on network TV. Give it a shot for another season, and you can figure out if it is a self-starter then.

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