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On the Fence: Which TV Shows the Broadcast Networks Should Keep or Cancel

With ratings down on these 10 shows, is there any real reason to renew?

The upfront season means its decision time. And a perennial question broadcast networks face is what to do with a primetime series that is just not delivering—enough. The primary deciding factor used to be Nielsen ratings, but today many other considerations come to play in determining the fate of a show, including streaming viewership, social media engagement, production costs, off-network and international deals, critical acclaim and the state of the network. So, when ABC, for example, must decide on the future of “Once Upon a Time,” a show that is rapidly declining in the Nielsen ratings but holding steady in social media, a seventh season does not seem out of the question. A potential third season renewal for ABC Friday night sitcom “Dr. Ken,” however, could seem desperate given the poor quality of this half-hour.

As a benchmark, here are 10 shows under review for renewal and my take on whether the networks should pull the plug. For more, click here

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Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of weekly column “Mr. Television” for Campaign US ( Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

2956 posts
  • Move AMAZING RACE to CBS All Access to beef up its programming and compliment the CBS-AA version of BIG BROTHER.

    BLINDSPOT, along with THE BLACKLIST and its REDEMPTION spin-off, need to go. They are pulling in some of the lowest ratings, for dramas, on the network. NBC had other programs helping, including the two-dozen CHICAGO shows. 😉

    Other veteran show that should be axed, DR. KEN, FRESH OFF THE BOAT, CRIMINAL MINDS and the BYOND BORDERS spin-off, THE CATCH, ROSEWOOD, and ONCE UPON A TIME

    • Garebelman

      TVaholic has no mercy! 😛

      I think they may move Blindspot and Blacklist to Friday along with Dateline.

      Since FOX is in dire shape, I think they will leave the Gotham and Lucifer pair on Monday.

    • renamoretti1

      I call what you said a start.

      There’s many more that need to go, including of course every CW scripted show.

  • diego

    Cancel Once Upon Time, The Simpsons ( Even though they have been renewed for several seasons), Law and Order, American Crime, Scream Queens

    • renamoretti1

      You shouldn’t cancel The SImpsons (which actually has syndication value) while keeping the other animated shows that are doing worse like Bob’s Burger, Family Guy, as well as all the Sunday comedies.

  • renamoretti1

    Easy. They should cancel almost everything, make a big show out of it and invite viewers to come back and sample new shows made by different filmmakers.

    They won’t do it of course.

    They’ll renew most of their flops and wonder why their ratings will keep dropping… 🙁

  • Kathleen Gourn

    You’re right the amazing race and survivor or in many ways contributing to the compression in CBS schedule one of the problems I see with CBS they hold to shows like b.b.t. c.m. N.c.i.s

    • renamoretti1

      I’m sorry, but did you actually say that it was a “problem” for CBS to hold onto the two highest-rated scripted shows on TV? The last two scripted hit shows on network TV?


      CBS’ problem has been its inability the last 10 years of making hits (same for the other networks)