Just three episodes into its first season, and CarterMatt is already starting to worry about the SWAT season 2 renewal odds.
Our feeling previously was rather simple — so long as the show managed to stay above a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic, it stood a chance at sticking around for another season. This isn’t a good timeslot for CBS and they’ve struggled with it mightily over the years. On paper, SWAT looked like the sort of show that would be able to turn things around and start to give us a reason to have hope that the network could have a hit here. Like Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver, this is a show based on a familiar property. Meanwhile, it also has a well-known star in Shemar Moore at the center of the cast. It’s action-heavy and features the police — all of these various elements typically make for a successful CBS series.
So, what’s happening here? Last night’s episode fell to a 0.9 rating, and given that we’re only three episodes in that’s troublesome. Sure, this is similar ratings-wise to what MacGyver often gets, but remember that it airs on Friday nights — which often have some different expectations. Also, that show is in its second season and has found its devoted audience. We’re not sure that we’re there yet with SWAT.
One of the things that certainly seems to be hurting this show at the moment is the simple fact that it is airing against Thursday Night Football — while the NFL may not be the ratings monster, especially on Thursdays, that it’s been in the past, there are still millions of people watching who could be potential SWAT viewers. This is a show that could cater to many who love watching elaborate action sequences and the competition may be hurting them more than it would if SWAT were a different kind of show.
Also, the Thursday lead-in really is not as good as you would think just because The Big Bang Theory kicks off CBS Thursday nights. Life in Pieces, which airs right before SWAT, generated just a 1.1 rating in its time-slot. Even though SWAT retained more than 80% of that, that’s still a relatively low rating.
We want to see SWAT succeed — we like the cast and we like executive producer Shawn Ryan a lot. The issue it has now is that it needs to stop the bleeding. With the timing of its premiere, CBS has to make a decision on picking up more episodes soon, let alone a season 2 renewal.
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