CBS’ S.W.A.T. may be the “bubble” show that TVLine readers most wanted renewed, and its demo delivery may support a Season 7 renewal, but, ultimately, it will be cold hard cash that determines the procedural’s fate.
Longtime S.W.A.T. executive producer and former day-to-day showrunner Shawn Ryan addressed the series’ in-limbo status as a guest on THR’s latest TV’s Top 5 podcast, where he also discussed his new thriller, Netflix’s The Night Agent, and what to expect from the WGA negotiations as the May 1 deadline inches near.
Comparing his long-ago experiences with broadcast shows such as The Unit, Ryan said that network TV in 2023 “is not the same place, the economics are completely different.
“Right now, it’s up in the air whether S.W.A.T. will get picked up for a seventh season,” he shared, “and that has nothing to do with ratings.”
As TVLine recently reminded you, S.W.A.T. Season 6 has been averaging 6.8 million total viewers and a 0.7 demo rating (with Live+7 playback) — up in viewers and off just a tenth in the demo compared to its Season 5 tallies. Out of the 14 dramas that CBS has aired this TV season, it ranks No. 10 in total audience but is in a five-way tie for third in the demo, trailing only Fire Country and FBI.
“S.W.A.T. right now is the No. 3 show, I think, or tied for third, for CBS in the demo,” Ryan correctly noted during his podcast hit. “There’s no reason why the show shouldn’t be picked up other than the economics of the business are changing, and CBS and [lead producer] Sony [Pictures Television] will or will not figure out a way to economically make a seventh season work.”
Similarly, it was recently reported that another of CBS’ Friday dramas, the Tom Selleck-fronted Blue Bloods, is facing “pretty deep” budget cuts if it is to secure a Season 14 renewal.
Other scripted CBS fare still awaiting word on renewal (or not) include the freshman cop drama East New York and the midseason entry True Lies.
Want scoop on S.W.A.T., or for any other show? Email InsideLine@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.
We need to keep good television on the air despite money issues with shows like Blue Bloods & SWAT. These are solid shows that are not like other ones on networks anymore. We need them and more like them.
Networks are part of large for-profit companies like Disney and Universal. Not sure how you can expect them to stay on the air “despite money issues.” Either the company sees them as profitable or they don’t. Sure, in a perfect world companies would sacrifice profits for the sake of art, but that’s just not realistic. (FWIW, I’m rooting for SWAT to be renewed as much as you are.)
If they were actually focused on making profits, they’d look to their streaming services as being a big driver of their money losses. It’s not cheap running the services and producing endless, expensive shows. The vast majority of their money is still from their network shows via cable/satellite subscriptions and advertising.
Not sure what this has to do with SWAT and rather or not the series is still profitable for CBS. Big picture. Yes the cable bundle is still profitable due to subscriber fees, but as cord cutting increases that amount of the money is decreasing. CBS/Paramount, Disney/ABC, NBC/Universal. The best analogy I have heard in regards to streaming. All those companies are in a car driving towards a cliff. Trying to balance their old traditional profitable business, the cable bundle and broadcast, with this new streaming future. Eventually the profits on the traditional business are going to diminish enough that those companies will be forced to jump out of that moving car and hope that their streaming services will be able to generate enough profit that they wont go out of business. Broadcast television with still exist in some form, but even #1 network CBS is likely going to have only a minimal number of scripted originals.
I said it because they’ve been cutting money from their actual profitable network shows and investing it in a sector that continues having massive losses for just about everyone. That’s not exactly smart business. They could easily drive viewers back to the network instead of their streaming service or completely away from watching any TV at all if they really wanted.
There are so few broadcast and cable viewers who sit through ads compared to even a decade ago that ad revenue needs to come from cord cutters with the cheaper as plans who can’t DVR their shows. That’s where the cash will.be.
A business needs to be profitable. On linear tv the ad dollars generated need to cover costs for the nerwork to justify cost. The studio producing the show may offer a deep discount to the network if it see profits from combined, linear, streaming, syndication and foreign markets sales… but a profit needs to be foreseeable.
Cast typically renegotiate salaries around season 5. In Blue Bloods are, it has a large cast of regulars and its reoccurring characters tend to appear in most episodes, practically making them defacto regulars. It’s likely cost will be reduced by trimming th cast or at least limited their number of appearances moving forward.
Yeah and expect news on blue bloods soon that has been renewed for season 14 as not only the cast taking pay cuts but also the shows producers have taken pay cuts so we might see something soon on blue bloods at worst before the upfronts in may but blue bloods is now pretty much guranteed season 14
Exactly. Like get rid of the stale SURVIVOR which I’m sure it’s expensive considering they film in all these pricey locations. The dumb bachelor bachelorette franchise, 25 men or woman swapping spit and god knows what else during times where diseases are all over the place.🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮
I have to agree. I’ve never watched any of those shows, find them very uninteresting.
TV is a business first and foremost. Also times are changing. Those live ratings are not what they use to be.
Yes! Agreed. I love NCIS. I got into it later after me and mom just happen to watch a re-run. We bought all the seasons prior and have kept up with the DVD sets since then. I didn’t realized how great FBI is. I am a fan of it now. I haven’t watch the spin-offs yet. I haven’t watch Blue Bloods and Swat but I understand how good scripted, acted and all around wholesome these shows are. We need more clean cop dramas that bring us to the edge of our seats from time to time. I watched NCIS New Orleans from beginning to end and felt it was cut short before all characters some just coming into their own in big way like Loretta. I think the extensive showing of the pandemic and its effects is what killed whereas NCIS just didn’t pushed that narrative. I casually like NCIS LA and hope for Hetty to make some kind of appearance for the series finale. It is a great show ending too soon. NCIS Hawai’i just isn’t bring its full potential. Not enough Island vibes be shown. Too weigh down by cop procedural and that one couple just not making sense. You know the one with the blond. She feels to me the odd one out in the show with most of the characters representing Hawaiian heritage except this one FBI liaison officer. CBS will not want to end show too soon and look bad for them so I expect at least 5-7 seasons before the axe as long as it’s not expensive to payroll. So far CBS has been leading including with their comedies Young Sheldon and Ghost. I wish they had a few reality shows not involving celebrities in timeshares and surviving on an island. I want a few more primetime games shows other than Lingo or their own singing competition that isn’t weigh down by rules like on American Idol or The Voice. I could see them doing an American version of BBC’s All Together Now (The 100). I’m just saying CBS has a winning formula so CBS don’t scrape off some of it and continue to build on it. People of the free world deserve quality programming that is on free networks.
I’d love to see SWAT and Blue Bloods picked up for another season. these are 2 of my favorite shows that I look forward to my Friday line-up. Please bring them back. Thank you
I don’t watch SWAT or Blue Blood but I rather have scripted shows on Friday nights than reality tv, wrestling promotion or murder documentaries. CBS please renew SWAT and Blue Bloods keep scripted shows alive on Fridays nights no other broadcast network has scripted shows on Friday nights. Don’t turn your back on your loyal Friday nights viewers.
Don’t be like NBC scripted Friday shows Lopez vs Lopez and Grand Crew.
SWAT and Blue Bloods are two of the best shows on CBS if they let them go like they let Magnum PI go there won’t be too much left other than Basket Ball and Reality shows left I don’t watch too much on CBS now since they keep dropping good shows.They need to pick up some good ones.
“it’s not what you think it is”
I thought money and I was right. It’s always money.
My thoughts exactly.
Exactly. I am not even sure what else we were supposed to be thinking it was?
Low ratings maybe? But that relates to money anyway
I guess if someone hadn’t been paying attention to this year’s ratings, they might think that because it has had lower ratings in the past when it aired on other nights (in relation to other CBS shows). But those that do pay attention to ratings know it’s been doing better on Fridays. It’s doing better than both FBI: Most Wanted and NCIS: Hawai’i, for example.
Right? It’s almost always about the money.
I’d say if it’s a money issue for it to be on network TV just move it over to Paramount Plus where you have more freedom. It seemed to work well with the criminal minds reboot. I think at the same time when it comes to it a lot of shows have huge visual effects such as 911 and 911 lone Star so that’s what makes it a little bit tricky but again for SWAT at least you can move it to Paramount Plus and have a little bit more freedom and possibly more money to work with.
Would probably work, it has for SEAL Team, but at the cost of a lot of episodes. S.W.A.T. (IMO) is at it’s best when it’s been a bit grittier though, E.g. Hondo’s black vs blue dilemmas, Deacon’s mental health or Hicks and the loss of his wife so dropping some of the “filler” episodes would probably work well.
I wonder if it would end up moving to Paramount +, like they did with SEAL Team. That was also supposed to be a very expensive show to produce and I get why that is. Sucks that now we only get 10 episodes of what is a really high quality show, but better than being canceled
Oh no! Hope SWAT n BLUE BLOODS, do get RENEWED!
I watch and love both these shows. I would hate if they didn’t get picked up again. Please work it out & keep these shows on the air for us fans
I wish they had the courage to cancel Blue Bloods to free up all of those Selleck & Co salaries to fund other/more deserving series. Hoping S.W.A.T. moves to Paramount Plus in any case.
Can you say Paramount + ?
Probably wouldn’t hurt for CBS to start throwing more money at network shows that make money instead of continuing to throw money down a well for the money-losing streaming market.
If a renewal was based on ratings, wouldn’t that really also be about money?
Less NCIS spin-off. They just cancelled the best of them.
I assume you wouldn’t want Blue Bloods to have entire episodes where they are just sitting around the table talking. Deep budget cuts could hurt the show to the point the shows becomes unwatchable even for it’s biggest fans.
So they have money to continue to run NCIS after how many years? Watched True Lies, did not like at all. Blue Bloods is one of the few great family shows, why should they be the one to suffer deep budget cuts? Three FBI shows, two NCIS, Fire Country (can’t imagine they have enough story lines to sustain). Find the money for BB!
I would imagine that a big part of the problem is the salaries being demanded by the cast of BB compared to those on the other shows.
The economics really lucked out for NCIS with Mark Harmon and his $600k per episode salary retiring, and NCIS scoring a much cheaper Gary Cole to lead now.
Cole no doubt commands less $ than Selleck, Shemar Moore. I wonder if initially, Cole earns less per episode than his own NCIS co-stars long-serving Sean Murray and “star” wilmer valderrama.
Creatively, Cole is refreshing, stellar and charismatic to watch. I can see NCIS running another 5+ seasons, for the big $ reason that Harmon is no longer on the payroll in a big way.
I hope they realize a smaller salary is better than no salary at all. I do wish they would work it out, Blue Bloods is a great family show. I wonder if NCIS-LA was cancelled because of salaries. It was rare that they had the whole team on one episode. Still think a steady paycheck is better than no paycheck.
we really need a season 7 of swat
I look forward to watching SWAT and Blue Bloods with there entire cast every Friday night. Please keep both of them.
Sure, in broad terms, SWAT’s fate is about exactly what we all think it’s about: Money, but many of the commenters here seem to be forgetting that it’s not about how much the show costs per se, it’s about something much more complex:
Namely, SWAT is produced by an outside studio, Sony, which means moving it to Paramount+ isn’t anywhere near as likely as moving a CBS-owned show like SEAL Team or Criminal Minds to the streamer. Sony is even at this point free to shop it to other streamers. (IIRC, past seasons are even available on Hulu.)
So I infer from Shawn Ryan’s comments that SWAT’s renewal is mostly about exclusivity rights for streaming. This is season 7, which means that most of the principals have two-year contracts through the end of season 7, which is traditionally a major pivot point for the balance of star contracts versus show longevity (think how Paramount kept cancelling Trek series after season 7 between TNG, DS9 and Voyager.) With streaming actually imploding a bit because streaming in and of itself is an expensive business that has yet to turn a profit for most studios, CBS almost certainly wants to pay Sony a lot less for SWAT streaming rights than Sony wants. And CBS might just be in the right here, especially since they *still* need streaming to boost the ratings for new episodes of all broadcast shows. For ongoing broadcast shows, streaming rights are something that probably shouldn’t be sold separately, as an Add-on, as is likely happening here, and Sony needs to realize that without SWAT airing at all, they have not just no streaming revenue, but, more importantly, no much-bigger-pot of broadcast revenue. So yeah, whatever Sony’s asking for SWAT’s streaming rights, they almost certainly need to get much closer to CBS’s number, whatever it is. Pure speculation, of course.
You make some good points but it’s actually season 6. And I think CBS is a co-producer the same way it was on Criminal Minds (which was an ABC co-production the same way this is a Sony co-production). In each case, the non-CBS entity has the international rights, and so Criminal Minds: Evolution actually airs on Disney+ in other countries. So it could air on Paramount+ if Sony agreed to it, with Sony still able to sell it to Disney+, Netflix, or other companies for international.
For clarification, when I said “This is Season Seven,” I meant it in the context of “This is the upcoming season we’re talking about.”
Swat Is An All Time Favorite! I Tune In To Every Week.
I can help out CBS/ Sony with their economic problem. Get rid of East NY and True Lies, both not good and put all that saved money towards SWAT & Blue Bloods. Problem solved!
East New York is an excellent show and awesome cast.
I think the writing is on the wall about shows like S.W.A.T. and Blue Bloods. Seems like they are very likely to be canceled. Budget cuts are abound in the TV world. With NCIS Los Angeles already having fallen to the budget cuts, it just seems like CBS has already decided what’s not coming back in the fall of 2023.
The CW is about to make what looks like major cuts to its scripted programming. With only 2 shows potentially surviving the massacre. Sad day for weekly programming TV shows.
CBS does nothing but hurt themselves anyway just like what they did with Magnum PI letting that show go. NBC did a GREAT job picking them up. It’s a GREAT show.
All they want is Game shows and live shows. Try keeping good shows.
I hope CBS keeps SWAT and Blue Bloods. I know money will always be an issue. With that being said, if CBS is going to axe BB, then it should have a proper ending, considering how long it’s been airing. I saw a comment that suggested having cast members not be in every episode, which I think could work, not only for BB, but SWAT as well. I really dread having to subscribe to another streaming channel, when imo there are too many of them. 🤷♀️🙄
Heralded as slicker than slick, engrossing and thrilling, The Night Agent is a must see and must read for espionage aficionados. Shawn Ryan’s The Night Agent is comfortably a four star production. It’s based on Matthew Quirk’s spy novel of the same name which also has splendid reviews. The book is a suspenseful, cloak and dagger page-turner about an FBI agent on a hazardous mission to uncover a mole in the White House. It’s a chilling nail-biter to the finish, whether watching the ten episodes comprising Series 1 on screen or reading the book. If you liked Bill Fairclough’s epic fact based spy thriller Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series about Pemberton’s People in MI6 you should like this no matter what the format.
Nevertheless, there has been much fiction written about moles in the White House and when compared with the fact based Burlington Files, its plots and characters are not quite as realistic, credible or intriguing despite making Alexi Hawley’s The Recruit look more like kindergarten espionage than the real McCoy. Beyond Enkription is a fact based novel about a real spy called Bill Fairclough (MI6 codename JJ) aka Edward Burlington. He was one of Pemberton’s People in MI6 and worked with the CIA, real SAS Rogue Heroes and other ungentlemanly officers as explained in a news article dated 31 October 2022 available from TheBurlingtonFiles website.
We watch SWAT every week. Love the concept of True Lies, but the “I Love everybody” persona of the wife is hard to take!