One Third Commercials, Two Thirds Failures - The Whole Truth About the New Seaso

TV Arts

The 10 Things You Need to Know About the New Season: #1 - 69% of New Shows  
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Welcome once again to "The 10 Things You Need to Know About the New  
Season," our annual feature about, well... the 10 things you need to know  
about the new season. The goal of this venture is to address not only  
common questions people have about television but to also demystify (or  
potentially reaffirm) stigmas out there about certain networks, time  
periods, genres and so forth. So with that in mind let us put on our  
journalistic caps and give you the cold hard truth about what's  
potentially ahead for some of your favorite new and returning shows...

1. Only 31% of new network shows make it to a second season.

The CW's "The Beautiful Life" will eventually have a lot of company: in  
the past 10 seasons, only 31% of new shows on average made it to a second  
season. Last season it was even worse: just 11 of the 44 new shows (or  
25%) made the cut for a sophomore run. The best survival rate? 35% during  
the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 seasons. In other words, for better or worse,  
between 29-34 of this season's 45 (and counting) newcomers will be axed by  
May 2010. Don't believe us? Check out the hard data:
This figure looks optimistic, since the trend is headed down.  The above
average renewal %'s are from 10 years ago -- last season was 25%. The
"weighted moving average" would be more like 27-28%.

Any stock trader would predict a high likelihood of 23-28% renewals, not

So why are they moving down?  Are networks expectations living in the
past.  That is, should they be keeping more shows with numbers that would
have warranted cancellation 5 years ago?

Or should they find a better new metric -- the On Demand, without allowing
fast forward, looks as good to me as a show watched live.

Or are networks execs/producers just worse than ever?
I would think that there is some ebb and flow to the percentage renewal 
average, though.  At some point, the percentage will likely swing to the 
high side because the overly aged shows like the three CSIs, Grey's Anatomy, 
Desperate Housewives, etc... will have to be cut loose and, as a result, the 
networks will have to keep a higher percentage of a freshman season around 
for a second year.  Whether that happens with the 2011-2012 season or a year 
or two farther down the road, who knows.
"The trend is your friend!"
I'm a contrarian.