The Jan 2024 Renewals, Cancellations, Un-Orders and Removals Update

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(Welcome to the Entertainment Strategy Guy, a newsletter on the entertainment industry and business strategy. I write a weekly Streaming Ratings Report and a bi-weekly strategy column, along with occasional deep dives into other topics, like today’s article. Please subscribe.)

Every two months or so, I like to do a report card on streaming renewals and cancellations, answering the question, should this show have been renewed? Or cancelled? As I’ve covered before, I can’t explain the exact reason why a show either got the axe or got more episodes, since there’s some many factors involved in this decision (budget, talent, creative), and only some of those factors are public. 

But I can show what the data says. And the data is a really good guide to what shows get renewed and why. (This edition goes through 30-January-2024 this time around.)

Just look at Netflix’s big data drop last month as proof for why. Deadline looked at the ratings for every cancelled Netflix show, and they mostly match the predictions and analysis we had from the Nielsen charts. The headline is that Shadow and Bone had the best ratings for a cancelled show, but it’s budget looked big, if not huge. Conversely, I was puzzled before that Unstable got renewed for another season, and looking at its total hours viewed, I’m still puzzled!

Meanwhile, people are constantly telling me that adult animation is a red hot genre, but just looking at the total, global ratings for Agent Elvis: 5.5 million hours viewed. And it stars Matthew McConaughey. Yikes!

Okay, with all of that out of the way, let’s start with some good news: shows that got renewed!

Popular Shows That Got Renewed

Netflix renewed Black Mirror for a seventh season. As I wrote at the time, “Black Mirror is definitely a successful series for Netflix, but not quite a monster hit. I’d guess that it’s firmly in the realm of ‘depending on the budget, we’ll make more seasons’ territory.” After I wrote that, Black Mirror continued to put up good ratings, so this renewal feels like a no-brainer. I’m more curious to see if Netflix follows the data and releases this buzzy TV show weekly, instead of binge-releasing future seasons. As I wrote last time, “The first episode had 1.1 million households (again according to Samba TV), whereas the last had only 416K in that first week.”

In Netflix reality show news, Netflix unsurprisingly renewed Squid Game: The Challenge, one of their most successful debuts of all time, for another season, along with their most successful reality show, Love is Blind for seasons six and seven. Even though Love is Blind’s last season’s ratings were down a bit, Netflix needs long-running TV shows!

(I’ve read—or more accurately, read a lot of headlines—about the horrible working conditions on both of these shows, but those headlines haven’t seemed to impact the ratings.)

My Life With the Walter Boys isn’t in the same league with these other Netflix shows, but with nearly 40 million hours in its first three weeks, I’m guessing that this show more than justified its budget.

While it’s not officially confirmed yet, a new season of Ahsoka is “in development” according to Variety. Like Black Mirror, this show wasn’t a smash hit, but it did more than well enough to earn a second season. 

Prime Video renewed Reacher even before its second season streamed in December, but that bet more than paid off, since Reacher is “clearly one of Prime Video’s biggest hits”.

In “hot off the presses” renewal news, Apple TV+ just renewed Hijack for another season. This is both one of Apple Studios’ biggest hits and my biggest misses, since I pegged it as a “Miss” since it only made TV Time and had a so-so Samba TV datecdote. Then it made the Samba TV weekly charts. Then it made Nielsen! It’s one of the biggest comeback stories of all time on streaming, as I wrote here. 

Since Hijack is only the second Apple TV+ show to ever make the Nielsen charts, I’m not surprised…though I’m really curious how this show about a one-off event has a second season without jumping the shark. 

Even though it’s not a streaming show, I want to note that HBO renewed Last Week Tonight With John Oliver for three more seasons. This show regularly appears on the ShowLabs charts, which is really impressive for a weekly late-night talk show. (And a sign that people still like watching talk shows on streaming?) 

Max renewed Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake. While not a huge hit, it made the Showlabs charts with nearly 2 million viewers, which I’m guessing more than justifies this show’s budget.

Finally, Netflix renewed one of their rare foreign-language success stories, Criminal Code, which made the Nielsen charts in November with 5.6 million hours. IMDb has the poster with the original Portuguese title as “DNA Do Crime”. (If I were Netflix, I’d have tried to get IMDb to use a different poster in America.) Here’s the original poster:

Bonus: A Talk Show and Special Renewals

Despite a ton of negative headlines this past fall—after Drew Barrymore restarted her show, then stopped it again, then her writers quit—CBS has renewed The Drew Barrymore Show for another season. Two things surprised me about this renewal. First, the show averaged 1 million viewers per episode this fall. (Perhaps its time to remind everyone that social media isn’t real life, and there’s an audience out there for talk shows.) Second, there wasn’t much controversy when the show got renewed, making me think people are moving past the anger of the strikes. 

ABC renewed Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve through to 2029. As I wrote last week, the NYE special had over 20 million viewers watch the Times Square ball drop, and averaged over 7 million viewers throughout the evening. 

Again, people like watching live events like sports, the Oscars, the Macy’s Day Parade and this telecast. 

Shows That Are Ending After Long Runs

If a show is ending after a long run, that doesn’t really count as a “cancellation” since it did well enough to run for multiple seasons, which is more than most shows get. (Five or more seasons is my personal line between “cancelled” versus “ending”.) Most of these will come to streaming (though they head to a streamer “day-after-air” in most cases) and possibly switch streamers in the future.

  • On CBS, Blue Bloods is ending after its upcoming 14th season, and Bob Hearts Abishola after its fifth season. 
  • On ABC, both The Good Doctor and Station 19 are ending after their seventh seasons.
  • On FX, What We Do In the Shadows is coming to an end after season six, which is an utter travesty. Colin Robinson is a gift to us all.
  • On HBO, Curb Your Enthusiasm is ending after twelve seasons.

Unsurprising Cancellations

The rest of this article is for paid subscribers of the Entertainment Strategy Guy, so if you’d like to find out…

  • All the flops, bombs and misses that got cancelled…
  • Or renewed for second seasons…
  • What author has hit shows on Netflix, but not Prime Video…
  • What semi-famous actor is upset that his Apple TV+ show got cancelled…
  • What controversial TV show host’s reality show got renewed…
  • How many streaming “spinoffs” are coming your way…
  • and a “Netflix un-order” that no one is talking about…

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The Entertainment Strategy Guy

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

Former strategy and business development guy at a major streaming company. But I like writing more than sending email, so I launched this website to share what I know.


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