As the broadcast networks unveil their fall schedules this week, it’s becoming clear that ratings weren’t the be-all and end-all this season, reports EW.com’s Inside TV.
Just take a look at Fox, which renewed "Fringe" with only 4.2 million viewers but canceled "Terra Nova," which drew more than 10 million viewers. In that case, one obvious issue was the expense of producing "Terra Nova." But other issues have come into play, including how passionate fans are about a series, a difficult time period and even if network executives like the show.
Among the top-rated canceled shows this season are:
"Rob." The CBS comedy drew 12 million viewers and a 3.7 rating among viewers 18-49 to earn the title of the season’s top-rated cancellation, managing to get only eight episodes on the air. "If NBC had a freshman comedy with a 3.7 average, it would run the show five nights a week this fall," the story says. "The issue here was Rob Schneider’s comedy was shedding too much of its massive ‘Big Bang Theory’ lead-in, and was trending the wrong direction."
"Terra Nova." The Fox drama drew 10.1 million viewers and had a demo rating of 3.6. EW reports: "Cost was a factor, but so was the network’s belief that midseason addition ‘Touch’ would be the network’s next big hit. (It wasn’t.)"
"Alcatraz." The show drew 9.6 million viewers and a 3.4 rating among 18-49. "The ratings on ‘Alcatraz’ keep sinking while the show, unlike other J.J. Abrams-produced dramas, wasn’t hugely engaging for viewers,” the story observes. “A second season would have likely seen a ratings drop into serious red-line territory."
"House" (Fox) and "Desperate Housewives" (ABC). They earned 8.7 million viewers (with a 3.3 rating in 18-49) and 10.4 million (3.5), respectively. The story notes: “Their conclusions were more like dignified retirements than cancellations. Both respected long-serving solid veterans of the broadcast game whose cost/benefit scale finally tipped."
"How to Be a Gentleman." This CBS show drew 8.7 million viewers and a 2.8 rating. "Short-lived. Critics didn’t like it, and it didn’t pull its weight."
Also noteworthy: CBS’s unmemorable “Unforgettable” matched “Rob’s” 12 million total viewers, but pulled only a 2.5 average rating in viewers 18-49, while CBS’s long-running “CSI: Miami” got the plug pulled despite 10.8 million viewers and a 2.5 demo average.