ABC canceled the highly successful “Roseanne” and the decision could give the network the highest failure rate of the season, among broadcast networks. (© 2017 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.)
ABC reportedly has the highest failure rate of the 2017-18 season so far, but NBC could still finish the season as the biggest loser among major broadcast networks.
According to an in-depth study by TV By The Numbers, ABC had 13 new scripted programs during the 2017-18 season and has already canceled eight of them, while one program’s fate has not yet been decided. The study shows that while ABC decides whether or not to renew “Take Two,” its only show that executives are currently undecided on, the network’s failure rate is currently 61.5 percent.
ABC’s most-watched series, "Roseanne,” was among the network’s programs to get the axe, a rare example of a successful show contributing to the failure rate. Namesake Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet about former President Obama's aide Valerie Jarrett and ABC decided it would not be producing the show's second season as a result.
ABC’s failure rate would balloon to nearly 70 percent if “Take Two” – which debuts June 21 -- doesn’t survive, according to the study. “The network also had one of the weakest new shows of the season in 'Ten Days in the Valley,'” critic Rick Porter wrote, noting that the show only scored a 0.4 rating among adults age 18-49.
NBC could still find itself with a worse season than ABC, but the Peacock Network has yet to decide the fate of three of its eight new programs. TV By The Numbers’ study points out that two of the network’s programs have already been canceled, and if the network passes on the remaining shows in limbo, then NBC will end up with a failure rate of 62.5 percent. Among the undecided programs on NBC is “Law & Order True Crime,” which is on hiatus and will not return for the 2018-19 season but hasn’t officially been canceled.
CBS canceled half of its eight new scripted programs, the TV By The Numbers study indicated. While “Young Sheldon” emerged as a hit, the Tiffany Network dumped “9JKL,” “Wisdom of the Crowd,” “Me, Myself & I” and “Living Biblically” for a failure rate of 50 percent, according to the study.
Fox's new shows were the most successful of the broadcast networks, with TV By The Numbers pointing out that only one of its six new scripted programs was canceled and four were renewed for another season. The network has not made a decision on “Ghosted,” but Fox’s worst-case failure rate is a relatively low 25 percent, according to the study.
If “Ghosted” survives, Fox’s failure rate would only be 16.7 percent which is significantly lower than the industry average of 59.9 percent since the beginning of the 2009-10 season, according to TV By The Numbers. The study also included The CW, which has a failure rate of 50 percent after scrapping two of its four new programs for the current season.
Despite the rise of original content on streaming services, the study shows that fewer programs have been canceled in back-to-back years. So far, 43.6 percent of new programs weren’t asked back this season, coming off an even 50 percent in 2016-17 after nearly 62 percent were scrapped in 2015-16.
Back during the 2010-11 season, a whopping 73 percent of new programs was canceled -- the highest number included in the study, according to TV By The Numbers.
Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.