The 9 Highest Rated Shows That Were Still Canceled

CSI: Miami cast just compiled a list of the highest rated shows to not survive the 2011-2012 season, and I figured you guys might be interested in a summary of their findings.

1. Rob - CBS (12 Million Total Viewers, 3.7 18-49 Demos) - This freshman family sitcom starred Rob Schneider, and put up good numbers by any respectable metric. At the same time, its lead in was the ultra-popular Big Bang Theory, and the ratings dropped off considerably when going from BBT to Rob. CBS has now decided to put Two And A Half Men in the post Bang slot this fall.

2. Terra Nova - FOX (10.1 Million Total Viewers, 3.6 18-49 Demos) - As has been mentioned on this very site more than once, the underlying reason this sci-fi drama was canceled had little to do with ratings and everything to do with a high production budget. FOX also thought that the new Kiefer Sutherland vehicle Touch would out-draw Nova, which has since proven to be a mistake.

3. Alcatraz - FOX (9.6 Million Total Viewers, 3.4 18-49 Demos) - While the ratings for this high-concept J.J. Abrams produced drama remained respectable to the end, the network saw nothing but bad omens in the fact that the numbers dipped every single week. A show should not be losing audience with each successive episode, and is a pretty sure indication that the ratings would have really crashed this year.

4. House - FOX (8.7 Million Total Viewers, 3.3 18-49 Demos) - It's true that the end of House was said to be a mutual decision between producers and the network, but these numbers reflect the fact that the show remained one of FOX's most consistent performers right up through the series finale.

5. Desperate Housewives - ABC (10.4 Million Total Viewers, 3.5 18-49 Demos) - You can pretty much copy my House thoughts to this section. Desperate Housewives may have ended on its own terms, but it still had a lot of life left with viewers.

6. How To Be A Gentleman - CBS (8.7 Million Total Viewers, 2.8 18-49 Demos) - Like Rob, this comedy is another example of the fact that when you air on the highest rated broadcast network, you don't have the luxury of just performing decently. You need to knock it out of the park to remain amongst the lions, and this Kevin Dillon fronted comedy just didn't measure up to its colleagues.

7. GCB - ABC (7.4 Million Total Viewers, 2.6 18-49 Demos) - This was another case of a show with respectable ratings, but also a noticeable downward trend from week to week that raised red flags for the network. ABC is said to think that new series like Nashville and Mistresses can fill the same niche, but draw better ratings.

8. CSI: Miami - CBS (10.8 Million Total Viewers, 2.5 18-49 Demos) - In one of the more surprising moves of the year, this crime procedural was axed after a decade long run. Again, it seems to have little to do with ratings, and everything to do with budget. The longer a show remains on the air, the more the producers, and stars tend to make. CBS seemed to want to end one branch of the CSI family tree, and the original series outdraws Miami, while the New York version is younger and costs less. This left David Caruso's series to take the fall.

9. Unforgettable - CBS (12 Million Total Viewers, 2.5 18-49 Demos) - Like a lot of CBS dramas, this crime procedural starring Poppy Montgomery as a woman who can remember every moment of her life, found itself drawing big total viewership, but distressingly low demo numbers. I still fail to understand the logic that says only the 18-49 group matters, but I'm not a network executive.


Writer's note: Sigh, another anonymous commenter with a complaint. I got both this list and the ratings numbers from Entertainment Weekly. They compiled the list, I just offered a summary of their analysis. They included House and DHW, so I did as well. And as far as I can tell those ratings averages are correct. Unless you can prove my source wrong, I stand by my reporting. Thank you and good day.

Note 2: To the second person, its obvious you're just trolling me now. These are not the ratings numbers for the pilot episodes of each show. I've checked. Yawn.

- ¡Rob!
- Unforgettable
- CSI: Miami
- How To Be a Gentleman
- Desperate Housewives
- House
- Alcatraz
- Terra Nova

Written by: msd85
May 16th, 2012, 10:03 am


Message Posted On Jan 6th, 2014, 1:38 am
Some of the shows mentioned here deserved to be cancelled but hey. Still have all those great lol reality shows and let's not forget American Idol, Dancing with the stars. On another note here is the list it has Unforgettable cancelled but on another page here it's been renewed for season 3. Which one is it, cancelled or renewed for another season.

Message Posted On Jul 12th, 2012, 4:50 am
With the rise of satellite and cable TV it is not just the Americans who can receive these shows and it is unfortunate because of their short attention spans and inability to engage with more challenging TV that the rest of the world suffers the loss of what may have been great programmes with Alcatraz as an example of an intriguing concept that did not get to a satisfactory end.

Message Posted On May 20th, 2012, 6:37 pm
I have to say, I never got the appeal of CSI:Miami. Caruso is so wooden, with very little acting skill. If I had his {lack of} ability, I'd spend most of my scenes hiding behind my shades, too.

Level 1 (98%)
Since: 01/Mar/12
Message Posted On May 17th, 2012, 2:07 pm

Keep up the great work Micheal :)


Level 1 (98%)
Since: 01/Mar/12
Message Posted On May 17th, 2012, 2:06 pm

Please remeber - its pointless to feed the trolls. :)


Message Posted On May 17th, 2012, 11:03 am
Stupid article. Why post the pilot episode numbers when the reason most of them were cancelled/ended is because the viewership has dropped?

Level 1
Since: 17/May/12
Message Posted On May 17th, 2012, 10:24 am

I'm so upset about unforgettable GCB and the finder were amazing shows. If they think they can draw me in with nashville or mistress their crazy. All these shows were amazing along with missing. I mean all these shows got great ratings but 18-24 ppl make the difference so stupid!


Level 1 (70%)
Since: 09/Mar/09
Message Posted On May 17th, 2012, 4:28 am

I wish Missing wasn't cancelled. I thought that was a really well made show. You almost thought it  was a movie it was so not low budget like =/


Message Posted On May 17th, 2012, 3:27 am
Hey wheres Arrested development.. Thought it needs a mention here..

Level 2 (91%)
Since: 13/Oct/07
Message Posted On May 17th, 2012, 1:28 am

As usual Michael..good reporting, writing and summarizing. If comments have to be anonymous then maybe they just don't hold much water.

The shows that ended in spite of high numbers were actually smart do so. The phrases "leave while on top" or Leave them wanting more" have been coined for a reason.

On another note DHW left us with a bit of a cliffhanger..any news on whether there may be a spin off or are we just left to draw our own conclusions.

Related news

What's The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons Hiding About The Muppets?

The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons has a secret he’d like to get off..

Do You Know Who the Grammy Nominees Are?

The time has come to support your favorite singers. The 2012 Grammy Award..

Once Upon a Time has Character Roots from Lost

The story for Once Upon a Time was spun eight years ago while Adam..