What’s ratings got to do with it? Well, when it comes to the down-to-the-wire renewal of shows that are on the proverbial “bubble,” not nearly as much as one might think. Which is precisely why, in anticipation of next week’s annual UpFronts in New York City that will see each of the five major Networks (along with a handful of Cable outlets) officially unveil their 2012-13 schedule, theTVaddict.com thought we’d take this opportunity to remind fans fretting over the fates of their personal favorites of a few of the factors outside of ratings that may-or-may-not save (or sink!) a show. See for yourself, after the jump.
What’s in the development pipeline?
For the better part of a year now, Network executives have been keeping themselves busy by shepherding a season’s worth of new shows from page to pilot. Complete with months of meetings, mountains of notes, and countless casting sessions, the whittling down of hundreds of scripts have resulted in a handful of very pricey and hopefully promising pilots. Many of which will make it to air in lieu of what’s currently on, not so much because they’re funnier, more dramatic, or even better, but rather because that’s simply the way this bizarre business we affectionally refer to as show works.
Does the network own the show?
One question television fans should be asking themselves when it comes to factoring in their favorite show’s renewal chances is who exactly owns the show in question? Case in point, the survival of Bill Lawrence’s recent efforts can be directly attributed to the fact that the ABC Television Network licensed his shows from producing partner ABC Studios. Which, for fans of the low-rated albeit critically acclaimed comedies meant that ratings for both COUGAR TOWN and SCRUBS were almost inconsequential since parent company Disney would eventually benefit from the ancillary revenue that come from foreigns sales, DVD and digital.
Who greenlit the show?
Since it’s somewhat safe to assume that one doesn’t get to the top of the Hollywood food chain without having a fairly healthy ego, one factor that doesn’t get taken into account nearly enough is which Network President originally gave the greenlight to a particular show. Take newly minted CW Head Honcho Mark Pedowitz and the big decisions he has to make between now and the Network’s May 17th UpFront. Does he give NIKITA — a show developed under former President Dawn Ostroff’s watch — a third season, or does he opt to renew THE SECRET CIRCLE, one of the few shows that was developed under his first few months as President of the Network?
What’s a show’s profit margin?
As much as we like to pretend otherwise, it’s called show business for a reason. And often, whether or not a Network can offset the cost of licensing a show with advertising dollars means about as much as ratings. Just ask the cast and creative team of CHUCK, a show that arguably lasted three more seasons than their numbers warranted based solely on the fact that NBC was able to profit thanks to the rock-bottom price-tag at which producing partner Warner Bros. Television was licensing them the show.
The X Factor!
Despite the fact that one can pretty much make the case for any show based on concrete numbers such as ratings and profitability, at the end of the day a show’s survival often comes down to the unpredictable whim of a Network President. Which is to say, how a President feels about a particular show, whether they’re fans (See the surprisingly fifth and final season renewal of FRINGE) or not (RIP: TERRA NOVA), has almost as much to do with a show’s renewal chances as anything.