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Midseason Network TV Odds: Are Your Favorite Shows Getting Canceled?

by Robert David, posted Mar 7th 2011 4:15PM
Fox's 'Raising Hope'Don't let anyone fool you ... there is plenty of entertaining TV to go around on broadcast and cable. But if this TV season has seemed a bit underwhelming, well, you're not alone.

Sure, Fox has already renewed sitcom 'Raising Hope'; freshman CBS trio 'Mike & Molly,' 'Hawaii Five-O' and 'Blue Bloods' are safe bets to return next season; low-rated The CW might even be 2-2 with 'Hellcats' and 'Nikita'; and if ABC picks up modest-rated comedy 'Better with You' (unlikely) and NBC decides to renew troubled 'Law & Order: Los Angeles' to keep creator Dick Wolf happy (probably not), eight out of the 22 new shows (or 36 percent) may be back in 2011-12. Not so bad, right?

Not so great either. If buzz around the proverbial water cooler is a true indication of the freshman class of 2010-11, the silence is deafening. Here's a breakdown by network of new series survival odds.

'M.r Sunshine'ABC
Yes, it is good to have Matthew Perry back in prime time. But what I loved about 'Friends' was the easy relatability of the characters. There is no one on ABC's 'Mr. Sunshine' that I care to get to know. The latest drama from Shonda Rhimes, 'Off the Map,' is nothing more than a diluted version of 'Grey's Anatomy' in the jungle. Since ABC is known for renewing one struggling freshman drama every season (remember 'What About Brian' and 'October Road'?), it could be back. But the return of already renewed 'Cougar Town' to the Wed. 9:30PM slot on April 20 is an obstacle 'Mr. Sunshine' must face.

Odds of Returning on ABC Next Season (based on 1-1, the best, to 10-1, the worst):
'Mr. Sunshine': 5-1 'Off the Map': 7-1

Coming Up:
'Body of Proof': Tue., March 29, 10PM ET
'Happy Endings': Wed., April 13 at 10PM ET

'Mad Love'CBS
Fox already axed Paula Abdul's 'Live to Dance.' I could also criticize the house of hits for introducing yet another new comedy – 'Mad Love' -- about young'uns looking for relationships in New York City; and spinning off generic 'Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior' out of underrated 'Criminal Minds.' 'Suspect Behavior' does make sense, of course, because of how well 'NCIS: Los Angeles' works out of parent 'NCIS.' But noticeable audience losses in week two could mean the traditional CBS viewer is finally tiring of all the damn crime. 'Mad Love,' meanwhile, is actually not half bad; the four leads (Jason Biggs, Sarah Chalke, Judy Greer and Tyler Labine) have a definite chemistry. And the absence of lead-out 'Two and a Half Men' in originals for the remainder of the season (that's a whole other column) could mean CBS will give 'Mad Love' some time.

But to stay on rock-solid CBS you need to be in good shape. So, the next few weeks will be pivotal for 'Mad Love' and 'Suspect Behavior.' Given the few Eye net time periods in need of repair, both are 50-50 at best.

Odds of Returning on CBS Next Season:
'Mad Love': 5-1
'Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior': 5-1
'Live to Dance': 10-1

'Harry's Law'NBC
Poor NBC. The place is a complete shambles and has been for years. While drama 'Harry's Law' with Kathy Bates is averaging about 10 million viewers (that's huge for NBC), the audience skew is older. And the networks, sadly, are just not interested in viewers over 50. While the odds for 'Harry's Law' returning is better than anything else new on NBC in midseason, it is still not a given. Dead, of course, is dare-to-be different 'The Cape' (which might have worked on corporate cousin Syfy) and anemic Thursday sitcom 'Perfect Couples.' Word of advice to NBC: give us a comedy with a pair of lovably bickering parents, two or three cute kids, a sassy maid, a whacky neighbor, film it in front of a live audience and you might be "movin' on up."

Odds of Returning on NBC Next Season:
'Harry's Law': 3-1
'The Cape': 10-1
'Perfect Couples': 10-1

'The Chicago Code'FOX
Fox has a bit of dilemma. New Monday drama 'The Chicago Code' is not half bad in terms of quality and ratings. But the same could be said for recent occupant 'Lie to Me.' So, which one – if any – do you renew? With Simon Cowell's 'The X-Factor' and Steven Spielberg's sci-fi drama 'Terra Nova' already confirmed for fall, that's two (or three) less hours of primetime real estate for the network to worry about. If I had to pick one over the other ... roll of the dice, please ... 'The Chicago Code' is a better shot simply because it is newer. Ah, youth.

In the world of comedies, rule of thumb to the networks: Be careful what you call you new shows because it is too easy for someone like me to say 'Traffic Light' on Wednesday has hit a stop sign. It's dead. And animated 'Bob's Burgers' may not have the oomph to eventually stand on its own. But since 'The Cleveland Show' and 'American Dad' actually survive based on what shows they air out of, there could be hope for 'Bob's Burgers.' As for game show 'Million Dollar Money Drop,' the low production cost could certainly warrant a pick-up. Ratings aren't everything you know.

Odds of Returning on Fox Next Season:
'Bob's Burger's': 3-1
'Million Dollar Money Drop': 4-1
'The Chicago Code': 5-1
'Traffic Light': 10-1

Coming Up:
'Breaking In': Wed., April 6 at 9:30PM ET

'Shedding for the Wedding'The CW
The CW, of course, is soooo easy. There is only one new midseason show (there never seems to be money to spend in development there) and its name is 'Shedding for the Wedding.' Out of fading 'America's Next Top Model,' this 'Biggest Loser' clone was DOA with barely 1 million viewers on Feb. 23. Fuggetaboutit!

Odds of Returning on The CW Next Season:
'Shedding for the Wedding': 10-1

The moral of the story: The current TV season will be remembered for the returning hits, which continue to carry the landscape, and not the freshman entries. Unfortunately, no one ever said finding a breakout hit was easy ...

What do you say: Will you be sad to see any of these midseason shows go? Sound off in the comments.

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Will Fox ever expand its programming to 3 hours, as all of the other networks have always done???

May 11 2011 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really enjoy Off the Map. I hope it does not get canceled. . The reason people don't watch new shows is they know when they get invested the show is always canceled. Please leave this show on ABC.

April 01 2011 at 11:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What happen to Chase? That was a greta show? I guess not enough sex and cursing.

March 10 2011 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Need to get some good shws on Sat.night.

March 10 2011 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eva Marie

The quality of the shows the networks and cable give us have become mind-numbingly clonish or inane for the most part.

When a really excellent show finally comes along which has all the best of the best....cast with chemistry and ability to portray the role with perfection....writers of the first order, who click with each other and the viewers....director and production staff and backstage crew that gel....a budget generous enough to keep everyone happy....this is what makes a TV show #1 with the sponsors and viewers, which makes us look forward to tuning in on that certain night of the week at that special time, no matter what else is happening.

There are very few programs offered that WE feel that strongly about. I don't have the capabilities to tape a show for later viewing which I would love to do but DIRECTV is the only thing offered in my hi rise disabled/50+ building and on Social Security, $70.00/month is steep enough and buying a DVR from them is out of the question. So my loyalty to CERTAIN PRORAMS has to be sincere and maintained.

I do give new programs a shot and watch them more than once to form my opinion. A few survive, most don't.. My viewing choices are as follows. The rest are cable programs:

1) CBS 9:00/9:30pm on Monday;
2) CBS 8:00pm Tuesday
3) ABC 8:00-10:00pm Wed
4) CBS 8:00pm Thursday
8:30 when S**t My Dad Says" was on.
5) FOX 7:00pm-9:00pm Sunday
6) CBS 9:00 Sunday

I watch a lot of reruns of Monk, Psych, Law & Order< NCIS, Two and 1/2 Men, Simpsons

When a network is as successful as CBS has been why turn around and play russian roulette with their programming. What started as an argument between Charlie Sheen and Chuck Lorre (well known for being unable to take criticism), they sided with Lorre, even though Charlie had NOT violated his contract and his drug addiction and wild lifestyle had been CONDONED and accepted by CBS, Warner Bros and Lorre from Day 1.
I think the 1.2 million per episode Charlie was getting was the actual root cause for this whole debacle.

So now CBS is cutting off their nose to spite their face, firing Charlie from their flagship #1 show, shutting down the remainder of the season, putting the remainder of the cast and crew out of work and money all because one man, CHUCK LORRE, stamped his little foot and threw a temper tantrum and demanded "it's him or me!" Looking at the variance between 1.2 million and Lorre's salary, is there any doubt who would win?

March 10 2011 at 8:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Lie to Me is an excellent show! We tape every episoed so we don't have to watch the commercials, because we can't wait to see what's going to happen!!!

March 09 2011 at 9:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

"Harry's Law" has got to stay. It has a social conscience for a change.

March 09 2011 at 8:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Off the Map is a great show please don't cancel it.

March 09 2011 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like off the map and Mr sunshine so I hope they both make it

March 09 2011 at 6:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There are some really good shows out there but none
is better than Southland. Can't wait until it returns next

March 09 2011 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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