Shows dumped despite better ratings than some survivors
Here's some bittersweet news for Robin Williams: His CBS sitcom “Crazy Ones” got better ratings than any other canceled show in the 2013-14 season.
“Crazy Ones” averaged a 2.7 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, based on the most recent available numbers. It tied Fox's “Almost Human,” another canceled show that may also have been a victim of high expectations. Despite considerable hype and a two-night premiere, it wasn't the big-event show Fox wanted it to be. (Fox chief Kevin Reilly announced his resignation Thursday, but said it wasn't about ratings.)
It's not much comfort to be the best of the worst. But the cancellations show just how complicated the decision to end a show can be. Despite cracking broadcast television's top 30 shows last year, “Crazy Ones” didn't live up to CBS's hopes for Williams’ return to television. And the show lost much of its lead-in from “The Millers,” which had a massive lead-in from “The Big Bang Theory.”
Among the other highest-rated canceled shows were ABC's”Super Fun Night” (which averaged a 2.3), NBC's “Revolution,” Fox's “X Factor” and CBS's “Intelligence” and “We Are Men” (which all averaged a 2.2), CBS's “Friends With Better Lives” (2.1), and CBS's “Hostages and ABC's “Back in the Game (which each had a 2.0).
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CBS has stringent standards for its shows, which may explain why it was responsible for so many of the cancellations. It slipped in 2013-14 to No. 3 in the key 18-49 demographic, down from first-place the season before. So the network was ruthless in getting rid of what wasn't working.
NBC also made tough decisions, perhaps for the opposite reason: It finished the season in first, and didn't want to give any ground.
The producers of “Crazy Ones,” which aired on Thursdays, can look with envy on shows like “Mom” (2.4) and “The Mentalist” (2.0) which survived despite lower ratings. But the situations for those shows weren't the same: “Mom” earns its 2.4 on a weaker night, Monday. And “The Mentalist” is a drama, not a comedy, and has been an enduring hit for CBS.
J.J. Abrams and his fellow “Almost Human” producers may also wonder why “Bones” (2.4) got another chance when their higher-rated show didn't. But again, it's an enduring show that has proven its value to the network. And it aired on Fridays, one of television's toughest nights.
Some networks have higher standards than others, based on how well they're doing overall. The CW, less established than its broadcast rivals, doesn't have a single show that cracked a 1.3 average last season. But it also makes decisions that aren't entirely by the numbers: “The Tomorrow People” was canceled with a 0.7, but “Reign,” which had the same rating, survived. So did “Who's Line Is It, Anyway?” and “Hart of Dixie,” which averaged a 0.6.
Here's an expanded chart of broadcast's highest-rated canceled shows, based on the most recent available numbers: