What Matters For The Renewal Or Cancellation Of Your Favorite TV Shows?

If you read the TV media, you’d think the renewal and cancellation decisions for TV shows are complicated and shrouded in mystery. That’s nonsense.

Predicting the renewal and cancellation of TV shows isn’t as hard as the clueless TV media would have you believe.

What matters:

  • Current season adults 18-49 ratings relative to other scripted shows on the same network. Shows as much as 20% below the networks scripted average rating are still likely to be renewed. Shows above the average rating are virtually a lock for renewal. Shows airing on Friday have typically been renewed with ratings as much as 30% below Sunday-Thursday.
  • Syndication status, How many episodes has the show generated? 2nd-4th season shows often have powerful incentives to generate more episodes for the secondary market. Old (s5+ shows) get less and less benefit as they get older/more expensive.
  • Who produces the show. Shows produced by the network’s in-house studio have a survival advantage over shows produced by a third party studio. That has become increasingly important to decisions in recent years.

What doesn’t matter:

  • Ratings vs. shows on other networks
  • Total viewership

Fans wanting to see the status of their favorite broadcast scripted shows can read TV Grim Reaper’s predictions every Monday during the US broadcast TV season (late Sept – late May). TV Grim Reaper will have new posts every week with updated renewal and cancellation predictions.

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Also published on Medium.