TV Ratings: CBS Renewal and Cancellation Pulse Check Without ‘Big Bang Theory’

There are only weeks left for “The Big Bang Theory,” a multi-cam sitcom that has dominated the ratings for years. Right now, it’s farewell season has posted huge numbers. As of last week, it continues to post a 2.3 average rating among the 18-49 age group. If it were solely up to CBS, there’s a real chance they’d be returning for another season. However, with some of the cast looking to move on, it ultimately became untenable to keep it going. There are big questions this raises for CBS moving forward, so let’s check out their cancellations and renewals so far.

TV RATINGS/SCORECARD FOR CBS (March 2019)

Confirmed Renewals

  • “Criminal Minds”
  • “FBI”
  • “God Friended Me”
  • “Magnum P.I.”
  • “Mom”
  • “The Neighborhood”
  • “Young Sheldon”

Led by “Young Sheldon,” four of these shows are posting above a 1 ratings share. “Magnum P.I.” is a mainstay of CBS, and “God Friended Me” was a surprise hit for the network. “Criminal Minds” has the lowest rating with a .76 rating, but it deserved to go out on its own terms after fourteen seasons. CBS will do right by “Criminal Minds” with a condensed ten-episode final season next year.

Very Likely Renewals

  • “NCIS”
  • “Blue Bloods”
  • “Hawaii Five-O”
  • “MacGyver”
  • “NCIS: Los Angeles”
  • “NCIS: New Orleans”

The “NCIS” family continues to carry the network. Each has posted above a .8 this year, with the original “NCIS” leading the way with a 1.28. Of the three, NCIS: New Orleans has the weakest draw, but the other two will see big farewell seasons. There is a possibility that a renewal for “NCIS: Los Angels” could carry a final season designation with its next renewal. It doesn’t have the numbers that the mothership carries to go on forever. It might be wise to spin-off a couple of characters and begin anew.

The Friday night lineup of “Blue Bloods,” “Hawaii-Five-O” and “MacGyver” all post great numbers considering their day of the week. Each also has star power that keeps them relevant and in the discussion. For CBS, this lineup is too good to break up.

Likely Renewals

  • “Fam”
  • “Man With a Plan”
  • “SEAL Team”

Fam” has quietly emerged as a strong Thursday night comedy. It drops about .3 of the ratings share from “Mom” but that’s not terrible. For reference, “Mom” drops .5 of the ratings from “Young Sheldon.” Nina Dobrev gives CBS a good performer with a built-in fanbase. Gathering younger stars should be considered a win. The mid-season replacement looks to have secured its spot in the future lineup of CBS.

Man with the Plan” picked up its ratings a bit, cruising above a 1 in the past few weeks. It’s holding similar ratings to last year, so it should be a shoo-in. However, the cultural impact of the show has left something to be desired. With CBS facing a transition year, and “Man with the Plan” posting strong ratings, this should be fine.

SEAL Team” might be the most obvious CBS show on the books. David Boreanaz continues to be a TV star, and that has drawn a decent audience. However, it performs below most of the “NCIS” franchise that has been on for years. If the numbers are trending in the wrong direction, CBS could make a move.

Bubble Shows

  • “Bull”
  • “Madam Secretary”
  • “S.W.A.T.”

This group could all be based on the flip of a coin. The one that seems like it should go has been “Madam Secretary,” which has posted a paltry 0.59. That makes “Madam Secretary” the lowest rated show on CBS right now. However, it passed the one hundred episode mark this Winter. CBS could roll it out one more time to make it a more attractive series for syndication in the future.

“S.W.A.T.” might have the toughest time getting renewed. It has been inconsistent at best, and while the first season averaged more than 6 million viewers an episode, this one has been closer to 5.5 or so. The biggest issue for “S.W.A.T.” is that CBS Studios does not outright own the property, so they cannot even move it to CBS All-Access. This could be one they decided to let go for that reason alone.

“Bull” posts similar (if not the same) ratings as “S.W.A.T.” but is owned by CBS. That could be the difference in renewal for the psychological/trial drama. However, it does not have a strong case for renewal either, and if it does get picked up, it makes next season’s call even tough as it would be approaching syndication. Right now, you could just as easily bet all three get the ax, or none of them do. It’s a game of roulette for CBS.

Heading for Cancellation

  • “Happy Together”
  • “Murphy Brown”

“Murphy Brown” ending was never a surprise. It did not pull the ratings it wanted to, but when it was announced it would return, it was always rumored to be about thirteen episodes. It posted respectable numbers so while we think it is canceled for now, CBS could always change their minds and bring it back for one more go around.

However, “Happy Together” was puzzling. The Marlon Wayans-led comedy did not get an additional episode order, despite a 0.85 rating. Only two shows freshman shows went without that order, and the other (“I Feel Bad”) posted a 0.49. Something else must be in play that we’re not seeing.

Which shows do you think will survive the ratings at CBS? Which shows will get cut? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below! 

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