CBS renews ‘Big Bang Theory’ for 3 seasons; but don’t expect Castle to get one too


But don’t expect ABC to show that same love to Castle

CBS announced today that it has renewed its flagship comedy The Big Bang Theory for an additional three seasons. This comes as the network is in talks with the cast to renew their contracts which expires at the end of this season. The renewal means CBS will keep its top-rated comedy around through at least season ten. Of course, the renewal is contingent about the cast resigning. If Jim Parsons (Sheldon) exits, is it still the same show? Hard to say.

But it’s important to point out why CBS renewed the series for three additional seasons. In the official press release, CBS talked up the shows numbers, a nice 6.1 in the key demo with just under 20 million viewers. What the network doesn’t tell you is that those numbers are from the Live +7 ratings. The ratings are slightly higher than its live ratings which are averaging about 5.2 in the demo with about 18 million viewers. And aren’t the determining factor for the show getting the multi-year renewal.

And renewing the show for an additional three seasons is actually smart because it gives the stars incentive to renew their contracts. But the question is, why don’t other shows get the same type of deal.

It comes down to the key demo rating plus the C-3 ratings and for shows like Castle which trend older, getting a multi-year renewal is not feasible. Why? As of March 3, Castle‘s demo is 2.0 which is three points lower than The Big Bang Theory. But comparing those two shows are apples and oranges. So let’s look at a close proxy for the popular ABC crime drama.

We turn to Scandal to look at why Castle‘s chances of a multi-year renewal are unlikely.

In its third season, Scandal has seen almost a 22 percent increase in its key demo and in audience. As a show in its third season, Scandal is benefitting from its slow growth over the past two seasons. Much like another show, Castle which saw growth before peaking with season four before trending back down. But something else can explain Scandal‘s surge in its third season. Watch Good Morning America on Thursdays and you’ll see why. There’s almost always a cast member teasing that night’s episode. Plus, the show’s cast and crew interact with fans on a far more regular basis via Twitter. Cross platform promotion has helped the series.  With a full point more in the key demo, Scandal is within the prime target for advertisers.

But Castle is ABC’s most watched scripted show, people say. Yes and no. Castle‘s lower than average second half has pushed the show into to the second spot as the network’s most watched scripted series. Modern Family now holds a slight lead. And this comes even as the show is down 14 percent in demo  with a 3.7 average  and eight percent in total audience compared to last season at this time. Castle is down 3.6 percent in the demo  at 2 and 1.7% in audience compared this time last year.

Scandal trending up, Castle trending down. Who do you think would get a multi-year renewal? A show that lies within the prime demo or a show that is falling out of favor with advertisers? Scandal is more likely to get a multi-year renewal. But ABC is not known for handing out multi-year renewals so the chances of any of its show getting more than a yearly go-ahead are slim.

A note about the DVR ratings. Networks love those DVR numbers. And why shouldn’t they? I mean, a show that’s getting a 1.9 in live viewing looks bad. But when you add 1.2 to that number making it a 3.1, it looks better, right? It’s a cheery number. And makes fans go crazy. But advertisers? They don’t care about that 3.1. They care about the C-3, which is what networks use to determine how much advertisers pay. They measure the people watching during a commercial minute. And those numbers are often close to the live number. At the end of the day, the DVR numbers are a potential audience for a show and the networks use them for PR purposes only. They don’t determine a show’s renewal status. If networks did use the DVR numbers, then a lot shows would never be canceled.

Castle is a year-to-year show. This is because of its ratings. It’s growth in DVR this season will not increase its chances of a multiyear renewal.




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