What determines whether or not a show is going to be renewed or canceled? It’s a fairly simple question, but in turn, it’s a fairly complicated answer. There are a lot of different factors that play a role in it one way or another, and it’s certainly something that is worth a little bit more of a discussion.
Obviously, ratings are critical — without them, there is no show at all — but what other stuff matters for a network like a CBS (pictured above), an NBC, or any other major broadcaster? We’ve got five specific things that are worth looking at in this very piece.
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1. The present-day ratings – Is the show performing well in most live+same-day estimates? That is one thing that most major networks do choose to look at before anything else. They want to ensure that the show is performing at a reasonable level in comparison to many of the other shows that they have.
2. Projected future ratings – How well will the show perform down the line? This is also important, mostly because these same networks also want to make sure that their show is going to do reasonably well if it comes back for another season. If a series is down about 30% or more in the 18-49 demographic versus the prior season, that’s an issue.
3. Ownership – Whether or not a network has full ownership of a show through their studio matters significantly in this modern era where ratings for almost everything are down. There’s not a lot of wiggle room anymore and a network will always prefer a show that they own in-house over just about anything else.
4. Budget – If a show costs a significant amount of money, it’s going to be harder to bring it back unless it’s also generating big ratings. That’s a rule that has been in place for years and it’s often why high-concept dramas with enormous casts are often in danger.
5. Other factors – Take, for example, if a show has a great streaming deal, is eligible for syndication, is being sold internationally, or is extremely popular on social media. These things are all valuable, but it does often vary depending on the show. (For example, not every show is going to be a huge performer in syndication, and some shows have more international appeal than others.)
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