CBS Drama Renewal Update: What is Still On the Bubble

CBS today picked up the bulk of its remaining drama series, including two that had been on the bubble, Madam Secretary and MacGyver. That leaves four hourlong series in limbo, sophomore Instinct, freshmen The Code and The Red Line and third-year Canadian import Ransom.

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Neither of the four have finished their newest seasons. Season 2 of crime drama Instinct premieres June 16. The Red Line is half-way through its four-week eight-episode run, while The Code and Ransom has three more episodes to air.

Neither of the shows has been potent ratings performer. I hear The Code is not likely to continue. CBS rebranded The Red Line as event/limited series, airing two back-to-back episodes each week. I hear the network is considering the drama as one-off but is also open to continuing it. The ratings performance so far does not support the latter while the project’s pedigree helps the former. (The drama comes from Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Prods. and stars Noah Wyle.)

A renewal decision on Instinct, headlined by Alan Cummings and Bojana Novakovic, may not come until after the upfronts. The drama’s Season 2 renewal came after so-so Season 1 performance, so it may be a big gamble for CBS to renew the show ahead of its Season 2 premiere. Meanwhile, canceling it now would hurt its ratings as viewers likely won’t be willing to invest in watching a series they know is not continuing,  Additionally, Season 2 is getting a premiere screening at the Split Screens Festival in three weeks, with Cumming and Novakovic attending.

Ransom is a low-cost acquisition, which CBS has been using to keep the lights on Saturdays, so the bar for renewal is pretty low.

CBS tomorrow is expected to unveil its renewal decisions for the slew of bubble comedy series, with Man with a Plan probably the most likely to get a reprieve.

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