CW Predictions: What Is “CBS Studios Affirmative Action” The Reaper Keeps Writing About?

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See all the Reaper’s CW predictions here.


TV Grim Reaper predicts potential renewal or cancellation for scripted broadcast primetime shows by the end of the 2015-16 season in May, 2016. (The Reaper Index includes ratings from Sept. 21, 2015 – Nov 15, 2015)

ProgramStatusReaper Index
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CBS)😳0.43
Reign (F) (CBS)🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂0.46
Jane The Virgin (CBS)😐 😐 😐0.58
The Originals (WB):mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:0.63
The Vampire Diaries (WB)🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂0.89
iZombie (WB)🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂0.89
Supernatural (WB):mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:1.12
Arrow (WB):mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:1.50
The Flash (WB):mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:2.26

When referring to several CW shows’ renewal prospects, the reaper often mentions “CBS Studios Affirmative Action”.

What the heck is he talking about?

The CW is a 50/50 joint venture of CBS and Warner Brothers, and all scripted shows on the CW are produced by either CBS Studios or Warner Brothers (unlike other English broadcast networks, which have shows from outside studios as well as their own).

For this week’s table, the reaper has noted which studio produces each show. See a pattern?

The lowest rated shows on the CW are all produced by CBS. That’s been a consistent pattern in recent years.

In the recent past, CW shows produced by CBS have been renewed even though they were much lower rated than typical renewals, and some were lower rated than WB shows that were canceled. (Beauty And The Beast is a prime example, but Reign is the most recent)

Reasonable people can assume different causes for such outcomes. The one the reaper has settled on is that given the joint venture, it’s “politically” (and perhaps economically) impossible for WB produced shows to fill the CW schedule, even if they’re the highest rated, so some CBS shows must be renewed, no matter how low rated they may be.

This season, Jane the Virgin looks to be the beneficiary of that particular affirmative action. The reaper currently has it as a “toss up” pending spring CW ratings. However, unless those spring show ratings surprise to the upside, expect it to be “likely renewed” by March.

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*shows no longer on the air have their Reaper Index “frozen” at the point they left the schedule.


😳certain to be cancelled by May, 2016
😥 😥more likely to be cancelled than renewed by May, 2016
😐 😐 😐toss up between renewal or cancellation by May, 2016
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂more likely to be renewed than cancelled by May, 2016
:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:certain to be renewed by May, 2016

The Reaper Index is the ratio of a scripted show’s new episode adults 18-49 ratings relative to the new episode ratings of the other scripted shows on its own network. It’s calculated by dividing a show’s new episode Live+Same Day adults 18-49 average rating by the Live+Same Day new episode average of all the new scripted show episodes on the show’s own network. The network’s average ratings in the calculation are not time weighted (ex. hour long shows are not weighted twice what 30 minute shows are).

(F) -Fridays: Shows airing on Fridays were renewed with significantly lower than average Indexes.

How good have TV Grim Reaper’s predictions been in past seasons? See his past prediction record here.