Our ratings discussion here at CarterMatt today revolves around the fate of a possible Bull season 3 on CBS. Let’s start out by saying this — there’s a lot to be hopeful about if you are a big-time fan of the Michael Weatherly series.
Perhaps more so than any other show on TV, Bull draws big ratings without almost any attention. It’s like Blue Bloods (before Amy Carlson left the show) and everyone discovered there was this great show in Blue Bloods that a lot of people already watch. Bull is (at the moment) the second-most-watched show on CBS behind only NCIS, at least per the ratings for the past few weeks. (This Is Us holds a slight advantage on the season to date, but it’s close.) It is the second-biggest show in its timeslot behind This Is Us in the 18-49 demographic. Because its demo ratings are not through the roof there seems to be this tendency to discount the show and that’s wrong for so many reasons.
For one, this is CBS. This is a network who cares more about the overall viewership than some others do. They recognize the value in viewers of all ages and there is plenty of value in a show like Bull. It can be watched at almost any point with very little context, and if it can make it to the end of season 4 they can syndicate it for more money. It’s also has a star in Michael Weatherly who, (thanks to his NCIS work) is recognized all over the world. This gives the show even more potential appeal.
Also, the hopes for a Bull season 3 are aided significantly just by taking a glance at the year-to-year progression. While the show may be down right now 16% in the demo versus season 1 (you typically want to see declines in the 10-15% range, if you want to see them at all), it’s down only 8% in total viewers. That’s very impressive in an era that is not altogether kind to new series, especially new series with a procedural feel. It hasn’t had any major dips, and we would argue that creatively the show is stronger than it’s ever been. New showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron has made a real effort at expanding the universe and allowing you to get to know some of the other characters better beyond just Bull and Benny (Freddy Rodriguez). There is more work to be done in this department, but the wheels are in motion.
When could a Bull season 3 renewal be announced?
You’re probably going to be left waiting for a while. There’s no real sense of urgency for the network to make an announcement now. CBS likes to renew its series in bulk, so March or April is a good guess. Just don’t mistake the lack of publicity as a sign the show is in danger — so long as more than 10 million people are watching it’s hard to imagine Bull going anywhere in the near future.
How are you feeling about a Bull season 3 renewal right now? Share some of your thoughts on that subject below!