The TV Show Renewal Frenzy

After re-designing my site this past weekend I’m already behind in content and site updates, but what else is new.  Anyway, there are a host of interesting things going on around the world, but this time of year most interesting to me is the TV show renewal debate.   Typically this debate falls into two categories, the Nielsen’s and the Nielsen haters.  Nielsen is the official TV ratings source and for the past million years has been the main criteria for deciding which shows you watch on TV come back for another season or fall by the wayside.  The Nielsen’s are the people that take TV ratings as gospel for dictating which shows come back next season.  The Nielsen haters are usually made up of the fan bases of the shows most likely to be cancelled in the upcoming season.

This year more than ever, however, there has been a lot of chatter over which shows should and should not be renewed with below average ratings.  TVbyTheNumbers has a whole calculation for predicting which shows are in-danger of being canceled based off of ratings, and I usually tend to go with that.  While these numbers point to a very specific group of shows likely to be canceled things just don’t seem so clear cut this year.

Three shows in particular, NBC’s Chuck, and Fox’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Dollhouse, all have below average ratings, but have fans up in arms begging for them to be renewed.  While TTSCC has the lowest ratings (.1 below Dollhouse), it’s season finale left off with a major plot twist that have bloggers across the internet claiming what a mistake Fox would make if they didn’t renew Terminator.  Of course this doesn’t stop rumors, as EW reported an inside source said the show was already canceled here.  Interestingly enough these rumors cause more clamor and other “inside” information a day later found here.

While I personally would love to see TTSCC renewed its hard to argue with the numbers and while we would all like to think TV shows are more than just numbers it’s hard to really do so.  Pilot TV shows are expensive and risky, which is probably why CBS has 3 different versions of CSI and announced plans to release an NCIS spin-off next year.  Take what works, rinse, and repeat.  Fox is apparently known for being hard on its shows and I’m not sure about NBC but I would put more money on Chuck being renewed then Terminator or Dollhouse.  I think more than that, however, we can definitely say one of the two, Terminator or Dollhouse, will be canceled.

Even more interesting is this article that makes a case for abandoning television viewing altogether and watching shows only online so that the networks know exactly how many people are watching.  While this probably sounds like a good idea in theory, I doubt it will ever work simply because TV networks can’t make as much money off online viewership, again boiling down to the numbers game.  Terminator and Dollhouse’s actual viewership is quite high counting in their DVR viewers (Terminator is something like #2 or #3 overall), but networks don’t make enough money, if any, off DVR viewers.

Regardless of all the talk circulating around, there is still a plethora of time left before any formal announcements are made as NBC’s official 2009-2010 schedule is set to be announced May 5th, Fox on May 18th, ABC on May 19th, and CBS on May 20th.  In the meantime, however, I guess we can all continue to troll the internet defending our favorite show.  Even vote in E!Online’s Save one Show poll.  Currently, from what I’ve heard, Terminator is up at 47% and ahead of the pack.  Good news for fans, and if you’re like me, you’ll continue voting for your favorite as well.  Till next time…