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CBS Renew/Cancel Watch: 'CSI: Cyber' Needs Critical Tech Support

CBS

Welcome to the CBS Renew/Cancel Watch. All scripted, primetime shows are included in the prediction table below once they have premiered for the season. An analysis of any new prediction changes or observations follows. My current predictions are as of March 15, 2016. (Please Note: At the time of posting, the final 3/14 ratings for Supergirl, Scorpion, and NCIS: LA were not available. Thus, the 3/14 ratings will be factored into the index table in the next edition.)

The key to the right indicates which colors are associated with each prediction. The data in the table includes season lows, highs, and averages (Adults 18-49 demo), as well as the year-to-year changes for returning shows that have not already been officially renewed or canceled. These are provided for reasoning with and understanding my predictions. The shows are ordered by their season averages against only other scripted CBS shows.

   Rank     
Show Title
    Season Low High /Average     
 Y2Y Change
1
The Big Bang Theory
--
--
2
NCIS
2.0 / 2.7 / 2.27
-5.4%
3
Life in Pieces
1.8 / 2.6 / 2.02
--
4
Scorpion
1.5 / 2.2 / 1.84
-20.0%
5
Supergirl
1.4 / 3.1 / 1.77
--
6
NCIS: New Orleans
1.5 / 2.5 / 1.76
-16.2%
7
Criminal Minds
1.5 / 2.0 / 1.76
-29.6%
8
Mom
1.5 / 1.8 / 1.69
-26.5%
9
2 Broke Girls
1.5 / 1.7 / 1.63
-18.5%
10
Mike & Molly
1.6 / 1.7 / 1.62
-16.9%
11
Angel from Hell
1.3 / 1.6 / 1.42
--
12
Limitless
1.1 / 1.9 / 1.41
--
13
NCIS: LA
1.1 / 1.6 / 1.34
-16.3%
14
Madam Secretary
1.0 / 2.0 / 1.28
-11.1%
15
Code Black
1.0 / 1.5 / 1.26
--
16
Blue Bloods
1.1 / 1.5 / 1.25
-3.8%
17
Hawaii Five-0
1.0 / 1.4 / 1.14
-5.0%
18
The Good Wife
0.9 / 1.4 / 1.06
-11.7%
19
Elementary
0.8 / 1.2 / 1.04
-20.0%
20
CSI: Cyber
0.7 / 1.1 / 0.91
-35.0%

Why is "Life In Pieces" Certain to be Renewed?
Remarkably, the freshman comedy has held up very well through 20 episodes. It has averaged 2.02 so far this season, with a season low of only 1.8. There's an audience for it. It's CBS's #2 comedy and #3 scripted series overall. It doesn't hurt that the show has received critical praise and gives CBS a relatively successful single-cam, which they persistently want to find success with. A second season is guaranteed at this point, but the real test will be how it performs away from the cushy post-Big Bang spot next season.

Why is "Scorpion" Certain to be Renewed?
The sophomore drama has been a reliable performer for CBS since its debut in 2014. Even though it's down 20 percent Y2Y, it's averaging a 1.84 and easily remains the network's #2 drama, #4 show overall, and a staple for CBS Mondays.

Why is "Supergirl" Certain to be Renewed?
Supergirl offers the highest ratings for a CBS freshman drama this season, trumping Limitless and Code Black. Some might look at its 20-episode first season as a detriment (not getting the "full 22" treatment), but it really doesn't matter at this point. CBS won't drop its best-performing new drama, especially when the network appears comfortable with and excited over its potential as an installment in the overarching network TV superhero narrative. Like Life In Pieces, the challenge will be its second season ratings. That's an issue for the 2016-17 CBS Renew/Cancel Watch.

Why is "NCIS: New Orleans" Certain to be Renewed?
The NCIS franchise is thriving. There's no way CBS severs such a lucrative franchise this season with all of the shows that are much worse off.

Why is "Criminal Minds" Certain to be Renewed?
The Y2Y drop of 29.6 percent is CBS's second worst of the season to date. However, the drama can still yield a 2.0 when it wants to. That's got serious value. Should CBS move it to 10pm next season? Probably. The 10pm hour is trouble for CBS, with Stalker, Code Black, and even CSI: Cyber's two-episode stint failing to really make a mark. Anything 1.4+ next season would be relative gold for that timeslot, while allowing a new drama to take shape at 9 after Survivor.

Why is "Mom" Certain to be Renewed?"
It's CBS's #3 comedy and will have three full seasons under its belt. You can't exactly apply the "Chuck Lorre" rule of thumb anymore, what with Mike & Molly thrown to the wolves this season, but it's still a valuable player for CBS and will live on at least through a 4th season, if not several more than that. There are absolutely no signs that this one is being eyed for a surprise cancellation.
 
Why is "2 Broke Girls" Likely to be Renewed?
Can the same reasoning above be applied to 2 Broke Girls? Not exactly. The raunchy comedy is in its 5th season and has been benched and moved repeatedly across CBS's schedule. All things considered, its 1.63 seasonal average isn't so bad, especially compared to Angel From Hell's weak performance in the Thursday at 9:30 timeslot (where 2BG has aired most of its episodes). Plus, it's hard to even entertain The Odd Couple in a comparative sense, seeing as though it'll return a year after it aired, with only 13 episodes for its second season. Nonetheless, The Big Bang Theory, Mom, and Life In Pieces already round out a decent slate of comedies for the network's 2016-2017 season. There's reason to believe Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs are not CBS's top priority anymore as their show continues to age, but there's little reason to believe that it won't at least get a 13-episode sixth (and final) season a la Mike & Molly. If CBS keeps just two comedy hours in the fall, then I suspect 2 Broke Girls will be benched. If CBS tries three comedy hours again, then I suspect 2 Broke Girls will be slotted in the fall. Time will tell, but the comedy will more than likely see a sixth season, even if its a short and final one.

Why is "Limitless" Likely to be Renewed?

This one has been the toughest to call for some time now. It's doing about the same as Code Black in recent months, which isn't a positive thing. However, it's a well-liked procedural that fits the CBS bill, boasts a higher seasonal average, and had the confidence from CBS with 22 episodes compared to Code Black's 18. I'm betting on CBS being generous with another of its freshman dramas, but I don't know that the same generosity can be extended to both Limitless and Code Black.

Why is "NCIS: LA" Certain to be Renewed?

Compared to its sister shows, NCIS: LA appears to be the weakest in face-value ratings. However, it's doing important work in the Monday at 10 timeslot. Not only has it saved that slot from previous failures (namely, Hostages and Intelligence), but it's putting up CBS's best 10pm numbers, often higher than CSI: Cyber, Limitless, Code Black, Elementary, and Blue Bloods. That power is not to be diminished. Again, it's part of an advantageous franchise that CBS isn't going to break up this season with many shows passively failing to push it out of contention.

Why is "Madam Secretary" Likely to be Renewed?

This show has fallen so far under the radar when it comes to talking CBS renewals and cancellations, but that's in the show's ultimate benefit. Sunday's a rough night for CBS, and with the help of football/60 Minutes overrun, Madam Secretary has so far managed to keep a pulse. CBS is already ending The Good Wife on Sundays, and CSI: Cyber, by most accounts, will be joining it at a much faster pace. They can't cancel the entire night, and this one will have two full seasons by May. A four-season run might be a legitimate investment that CBS is willing to make, with Tea Leoni temporarily serving as the new Julianna Margulies.

Why is "Code Black" Likely to be Canceled?
I have my reservations about Code Black that have kept it at a cancellation level for the majority of its run. Its the weakest freshman show for the network with only a 1.26 average after 18 episodes. Traditional renew/cancel reasoning would suggest that both of those data points (1.26 average + 18-episode season) are cause for certain cancellation. However, broadcast television standards are slowly changing, Les Moonves has claimed that "around five" of the network's freshman series will be renewed, and the general ratings bar is slightly lowered every season to account for the expected annual declines. Could Code Black somehow, in some way, pull off a major win and get its second season? Yeah, it could, but it's a real reach if Limitless gets favored first. Also, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders sequel/spinoff series will be premiering this week, which could be a determining factor for Code Black. Keep your eyes on this one in the coming week or so, amidst CBS's annual early announcements (last year was Sunday, March 22) and the arrival of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.

Why is "Blue Bloods" Certain to be Renewed?
Blue Bloods is the staple for CBS Fridays, putting up the best numbers on the night even at the latest hour. It's down a remarkably thin 3.8 percent Y2Y and has time to kill before CBS needs to move new veterans into the Friday Retirement Farm.

Why is "Hawaii Five-0" Likely to be Renewed?
Like Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-0 is a reliable performer on Fridays. It's the third lowest-rated show on the network, but it's a Friday show and gets some slack for that. With CBS's new batch of dramas having varied levels of success, plus one drama already ending and a good two on the foreseeable way out, some veterans with syndication benefits will likely get spared. 

Why is "Elementary" Likely to be Renewed?
Elementary has an incredibly lucrative $3M/episode syndication package with WGN, which is largely what has kept it around for four seasons with the low ratings it consistently has. It's moving to Sundays at 10 this season, which is where it'll have to prove its ultimate value. If it can manage to average ~1.0 in that slot, there's no reason to expect CBS to turn its cheek on its syndication prospects after this season, even for a 13-episode fifth and final run.

Why is "CSI: Cyber" Certain to be Canceled?
It's handily the lowest-rated show on the network and had its season two order cut to 18 episodes. Anyone who predicts a renewal for this one knows something that I don't. It's been said that international sales and the tie-in to the larger CSI universe can help it, but does CBS really have the room or affection for more seasons of a show that has 29 episodes, a network-low 0.91 seasonal average, gained and lost a star in a single season (Ted Danson), aired two episodes out of its timeslot, and got its episode order cut short? CBS might as well bring Medium back if they are interested in keeping Patricia Arquette and a familiar property on television.

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What do you think of my predictions? Feel free to share your thoughts and predictions below.