That’s the eternal question. And my official answer is “Who knows…”
I explained a lot of this in a comment, but I thought it was worth a post and a bit of an expanded answer based on some new information.
TVLine implies a minor cliffhanger
Today TVLine posted an “Ask Matt” which included a question about CSI:
Anything on CSI: Vegas? Has it been renewed, or is Wednesday it forever? –Jeri
You’d better hope it gets renewed, given the tantalizing tease for longtime fans at the very end of Wednesday’s finale.TV Line: Inside Line: Scoop on The Flash, CSI, FBI: International, Nancy Drew, Chicago Fire, NCIS: Hawai’i, Vampirina and More
Now that caught a lot of our attention. A tease at the very end? Maybe it’s that the case isn’t quite over, or maybe that it’s due to all the crazy COVID stuff, and people not believing science, that it’s getting worse, or maybe … maybe someone contracts COVID. We don’t know yet, and trust me, getting CBS screeners is harder than network coming up with a new idea instead of a reboot (I said what I said).
It’s all about them ratings
This is where my ‘other’ side-gig comes in handy. I do press for queer TV and via that I have access to ratings and can get in-depth Nielsen stuff. It also means I’m currently up-to-date with what ratings mean.
Back when CSI was on the air the first time, it was getting 17 million viewers on a Friday night, when it was basically given the ‘death slot.’ By the second season, on Thursdays solid now, it was getting up to 27 million viewers. Even reruns netted 14 million! At season five, we crested around 30 million a week which is positively nutter. While things ‘dipped’ at season 8, CSI remained in the top 10 for most of its run.
But that was a long time ago. This year, the week CSI: Vegas aired, the top show got just over 6 million viewers. CSI got 4.1 million. Comparatively, that’s actually pretty good! And the good news, the show is very stable:
Now, at first a lot of us had a moment of “Oh shit, the show’s doing crap!” And if you wanted to compare to ye olde days, yes it is crap. But what if I told you that compared to the show CSI is up against (A Million Little Things), it’s kicking ass? Every week, CSI has double the viewers, and a half-again chunk of the 18-49 age demo.
If you add it all up, CSI averages a 0.40 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 3.71 million viewers in the live+same day ratings (including DVR playback through 3:00 AM).
This means CSI is stable as all get out (which it’s always been). The only show it looses to in the time slot is Chicago PD and frankly that’s fair. The Chicago Trifecta is basically a 3 hour movie every week they’re on, so they wipe the floor with a 6.2 average per show when they’re new.
That rating, by the way, is pretty much the tops of new shows. And for us dinos out there, CSI used to go logger heads with Grey’s Anatomy which is averaging a 0.66 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 4.28 million viewers. CSI isn’t much behind.
The Odds? Roll the dice.
This is a crapshoot. In my opinion, the series has benefited massively by being short. It’s less work on the actors, it let them do a series long plot with a tighter storyline. That’s all to CSI‘s benefit. On top of that, while I hate that it’s on late, it means it’s a fighting chance against Chicago PD. If it had a better lead in (no knock to Tough as Nails but it’s not a a good lead in) then the ratings might be on-par with Grey’s.
I think, if the actors and the writers are on board, they should do another short season like this. It is clearly well received, and CSI is hovering right on the bubble of top 10. If it has a better, more related lead in, I think it might even challenge Grey’s.
But I don’t run CBS.
What do you think?