While we’re certainly grateful that there is an “Elementary” season 5, we admit that we were somewhat surprised to see the show not only renewed, but at a point that was so early that it was never really in an extreme amount of danger. This was the lowest-rated scripted show on CBS to get a renewal, and this happened while at the same time other shows like “Person of Interest” ended up getting renewed.
Ultimately, this is an interesting case of how sometimes, renewals really are all about money first and foremost. Speaking per The Hollywood Reporter, CBS CEO Les Moonves made it clear that the show starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu made a profit of $80 million (!) this past year, which can be attributed to one important thing: This show is firmly earned by CBS. Therefore, when this show is sold internationally or when it enters syndication moving forward, the network will recoup much more money than they would be with a show that is coming from an outside studio or one that is a co-production.
As for “Person of Interest,” Moonves made it clear that effectively the network broke even on the show, saying that “Warner Bros got all that additional revenue.” This studio was the one profiting more on keeping the show around, and negotiations on this are so much harder.
Ultimately, this is just a peek behind the curtain at something that many diehard TV fans know already: Ownership really matters in the modern-day TV climate. If you are a series coming from an outside studio like Warner Bros. TV or Sony, you better either be a runaway success or have a really sweet licensing deal for a network to be attracted to promoting you and keeping you around.