Here’s what you need to know about CBS: they can basically broadcast whatever they want and it’s going to make money. More so than any other network, CBS owns the series they make (that might seem obvious, but most of the broadcasts swap around series that they produce, leasing them out and acquiring others), and they know their audience. So even if you aren’t CBS’s demographic, you have to respect their game, which is printing money.
So it’s not surprising that CBS CEO Les Moonves said at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet, and Telecom Conference this morning that the Eye plans to renew most of its freshman series. As Deadline reports, Moonves (somewhat cryptically) said:
“We have about five new shows on this year,” he says. “Of those five, I believe all five of them will be renewed, and we own four of them.”
Well, that math doesn’t exactly add up. Yes, there were five series (Limitless, Code Black, Life in Pieces, Supergirl and Angel from Hell) that launched this fall, although CBS only owns four of them. One — Angel from Hell — has already been cancelled. If he’s including series that are launching this spring (Rush Hour and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders), that will bring the total to six, with CBS owning a total of four.
So … no, we have no idea what is going on. While some of these others may be more on the bubble (like Code Black), Supergirl is most likely a lock. It’s numbers have been steady (even though they’ve slipped recently), but generally it’s bringing in a respectable 1.8 in the ratings, and a sizable 8 million viewers overall. That puts it, at least, ahead of Limitless and Code Black, though a little behind Life in Pieces.
But back to CBS printing money, because they own most of their series, that helps them massively in syndication (even though cable companies are saying they are buying less reruns these days in favor of their own original series). As Moonves also pointed out,
“Look at the ratings. Look at how often The Big Bang Theory is on [TBS]. It’s on almost every 20 seconds. So when they say, ‘Oh, we’re not buying as much off-network [reruns],’ that’s not exactly the truth. That marketplace is very solid.”
But CBS is also pushing into the digital marketplace by offering CBS All Access, where certain shows — like next year’s Star Trek series — will premiere exclusively. Moonves also said that he ordered a conservative 17 pilots for the fall season, expecting to only pick up “no more than four or five … we don’t need that much.” Apparently not!
As for the new series, Beyond Boarders premieres Wednesday, March 16th, and Rush Hour will make its debut Thursday, March 31st.