Saturday (May 10) morning brought bad news for nearly all of CBS' remaining bubble shows.
In one fell swoop, CBS cancelled five of its six shows-in-limbo, but gave a semi-surprising renewal to the long-running procedural "The Mentalist."
Getting the axe on Saturday morning were comedies "The Crazy Ones," "Friends With Better Lives" and "Bad Teacher," plus dramas "Intelligence" and "Hostages," which delivered similarly weak performances on Monday nights at 10 p.m.
While all of the cancelled shows underperformed and had been considered likely one-and-done candidates, several teased CBS with their potential.
On the comedy side, the big disappointment has to be "The Crazy Ones," which was one of CBS' big fall swings, featuring the TV return of Oscar winner Robin Williams. "The Crazy Ones" launched in September after two episodes of "Big Bang Theory" and drew overall 15.5 million viewers and did an impressive 4.0 rating among adults 18-49. The fall from there was swift and hard as "The Crazy Ones" consistently failed to retain its "Millers" lead-in and also lowered numbers for "Two and a Half Men," causing CBS to reverse "Crazy Ones" and "Men" in the 9 p.m. hour. That resulted in a bump for "Men" and a decline for "Crazy Ones," which was under 6 million viewers and did a 1.5 key demo rating for its April finale. Those numbers don't fly on CBS. [With "Bad Teacher" doing almost those exact numbers in its most recent airing, it was hard to imagine that comedy getting a renewal.]
Also teasing slightly was "Friends with Better Lives," which premiered in March after the "How I Met Your Mother" finale and drew just under 8 million viewers and did a 2.7 key demo rating, only to never approach those numbers in its regular post-"2 Broke Girls" slot.
When it comes to teases, it's hard to fall from grace much quicker than "Intelligence." One week it was drawing 16 million viewers in a post-"NCIS" sneak and the next week it was plummeting to just over 6 million. The funny/sad thing is that when NBC was airing the Olympics, "Intelligence" got a minor bump without "Castle" and "Blacklist" as competition, but facing other procedurals, it went back to getting clobbered.
And as for "Hostages"? Well, CBS aired the whole run. The network didn't have to air the whole run, given that the drama was essentially DOA in the fall, but every episode aired and also got good DVR bumps by CBS standards. But CBS doesn't renew dramas based on DVR growth. That's something other networks do.
Finally, the Season 7 renewal for "The Mentalist" was a minor surprise, but only because media reports had just taken for granted that the Simon Baker drama would be done after this year, even though CBS gave no indications in that direction. Airing in a tough Sunday 10 p.m. slot that frequently pushed episodes to 10:30 or 10:45 starts in the fall, "The Mentalist" has averaged over 12.5 million viewers including Live+7 bumps and 9.4 million live viewers. It's unclear if CBS will air "The Mentalist" in the fall or hold it for midseason, but those are very good numbers to be able to plug into a time slot.
Saddened by any of the cancellations? Psyched about the "Mentalist" renewal?