Despite Anemic Ratings, No New TV Shows Have Yet Been Cancelled. Why?


Networks are showing more patience with this fall’s programs 


By Toni Fitzgerald,    October 24, 2014

New shows: ABC's 'Manhattan Love Story' airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.                                                                      ABC’s ‘Manhattan Love Story’ airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.


What does it take for a show to get cancelled these days?

ABC’s “Manhattan” fell to an anemic 0.7 adults 18-49 Nielsen rating earlier this week. It has received an order for three more scripts.

Fox’s “Red Band Society” drew fewer viewers than a Saturday night repeat of “NCIS: Los Angeles.” It received an order for four more scripts.

NBC’s “A to Z” finished 38 percent behind a Univision telenovela in its timeslot. It remains on the air.

Through the first five weeks of the season, not one new show has been canceled. By this time last year, three programs had already been axed.

But this fall the broadcast networks are showing a lot more patience with their new programs.

It’s certainly not because of their ratings. In fact, the 21 new shows that have premiered so far averaged a 1.5 rating last week, compared to a 1.8 for all other broadcast shows.

And only six new programs drew a 2.2 rating or better.

The reason?

Buyers tell Media Life there are two.

First, the networks insist they need time to comb over the shows’ DVR data before making decisions about their future.

If a show has a modest live audience but gets big gains in time-shifted viewing, it could be worth keeping on the air.

But they won’t get a real sense of that until they see the live-plus-seven-day-DVR-playback commercial ratings for those shows, and those C7 ratings take several weeks to process.

Second, the networks’ midseason programs aren’t that strong. Buyers note that a few, including NBC’s “Mission Control” and Fox’s “Hieroglyph,” have already been canceled.

While there are quite a few struggling programs, the networks do not want to cancel them without adequate back-up.

So, for example, if ABC were to cancel “Manhattan,” sticking a subpar midseason show in its place, it would nave not solved any problems and could be even worse off.


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