The ballot box is now open for USA TODAY’s 26th annual Save Our Shows poll.
This year, 21 endangered network series are vying for your support, and the list ranges from long-running dramas like ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” Fox’s “9-1-1” and CBS’ “S.W.A.T.” to yet-unproven new series such as Milo Ventimiglia’s ABC caper “The Company You Keep,” “Alaska Daily,” starring Hilary Swank as a newspaper reporter, and CBS cop show “East New York.”
Eight of the series are comedies, including NBC’s “American Auto” and “Young Rock” and Fox’s Mayim Bialik sitcom “Call Me Kat,” all of which had spots on last year’s poll but ultimately survived. (ABC’s remake of “The Wonder Years” is not included; its second season debuts June 14.)
The poll gives viewers a voice in whether TV series hovering “on the bubble” between renewal and cancellation get another lease on life: a slot on the networks’ 2023-2024 schedules, which they’ll announce in mid-May.
The lists aren’t mere speculation; they’re based on reports from top executives about prime-time series’ status. Streaming and cable shows and unscripted reality series aren’t included because they don’t adhere to the broadcast networks’ ad-driven calendars and are renewed or canceled year-round.
Fan support can sometimes demonstrate loyalty to a show that Nielsen ratings don’t. NBC, which renewed low-rated “Timeless” and “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” after strong results in earlier Save Our Shows polls, also rescued “Magnum, P.I.,” which won last year’s poll, after CBS canceled the remake of the 1980s Tom Selleck series. (It didn’t hurt that NBC’s corporate sibling, Universal Studios, produces the show.)
But many more factors go into renewal decisions in an increasingly fractured viewing environment where mass hit shows are rare and the economics of Hollywood are challenged. CBS picked up a 13th season of “Blue Bloods” last week, but only after securing 25% pay cuts by the show’s cast and crew.
Apart from creative considerations, decisions about each show’s fate require a calculus: How much does the network pay to air it compared to its ad revenue? Is digital and delayed viewership strong, and does it extend for weeks or even months, especially on streaming platforms battling for new subscribers? And ownership of a program is a key factor: “East New York” and “Call Me Kat” are produced by Warner Bros. Television, not CBS and Fox, which have fewer ways to profit from the shows.
Make your voice heard: Choose whether the five major networks should keep or drop each of those series. The poll remains open until late April when results will be tallied. Who leads the crop? Check back and find out in early May.