Broadcast TV Ratings Continue Declining, But Paramount's New Boss Still Has Big Expectations For CBS' Future

Broadcast TV Ratings Continue Declining, But Paramount's New Boss Still Has Big Expectations For CBS' Future

CBS has definitely been making news lately, but not all of it has to do with the number of shows the network has canceled or set to end at some point during the 2024 TV schedule. For several months we’ve known that those behind the channel’s parent company, Paramount, were in the process of attempting to negotiate a sale, and that finally came to fruition when Paramount Global sold to Skydance Media earlier in July. But, even with broadcast ratings continuing to decline, the new boss still has big expectations for the future of CBS.

What Did Paramount’s New Boss Say About Future Expectations For CBS?

As fans of the many crime procedurals, comedies and dramas on the eye network know, the past few months have been rough. The cancellation of shows like NCIS: Hawai’i blindsided cast and crew and angered fans, with millions of others also mourning the loss of CSI: Vegas, the wonderful legal comedy So Help Me Todd, and other series that didn’t make it out of the 2023-2024 television season alive. Jeff Shell has been appointed as the new president of Paramount, and when he spoke to reporters recently The Wrap noted that he still has strong hopes for CBS’ prospects going forward. Shell said:

We believe in the business, and really, the reach of CBS is very important to us. There’s really no change in the overall vision for the asset, other than we believe in it. It’s going to be actually part of all of our plans going forward. I think if there’s going to be a change for CBS, we’re going to probably manage it a bit more aggressively for cash flow, meaning making some harder decisions on time periods and things like that going forward, which you have to when you have a declining business.

Though to the casual observer it might not seem like the TV business is “declining,” as there are certainly more shows to watch than ever before, he’s specifically talking about the business of network television. With each passing year, more and more people find shows on streaming that they spend their time on, leaving series on stations like CBS with fewer overall eyeballs as a result.

Shell’s talk of “making some harder decisions” really rings true after digging a bit deeper into many of those cancellations from just a few weeks ago. Shortly after So Help Me Todd was relieved of a potential renewal, it was revealed that not only did the sale of Paramount likely factor into cancellation, but the ratings weren’t really that bad (something that had an NCIS: Hawai’i star troll CBS over that series being axed), and some of the issue was scheduling for the fall season, and simply not having space for a show that wasn’t basically a blockbuster hit.

Paramount’s president continued, and added that he’s still very committed to the network and feels it will be important to the company as time goes on:

I personally think that the linear business is going to be a strong business for decades to come. I think we’ll be sitting here in 10, 20 years talking about a significant amount of viewership on CBS network, but it’s going to become part of the equation, as opposed to the driving part of the equation, which is why you’ve got to be in both sides. But we think it’s going to continue. We don’t think it’s going to worsen, but we don’t actually think it’s going to get better either.

I suppose it’s a sign of hope that it appears they’ll be looking for a “no news is good news" situation when it comes to how much money CBS can bring in over the coming years and how popular they expect it to remain, despite "linear" television programming not being the biggest game in town anymore. But, as he said before, this will mean that there will probably be even tougher cuts to the schedule moving forward, with more upstart shows not having much of an opportunity to really gain traction before being tossed aside. We’ll just have to wait and see what that’ll mean as we get through the fall TV season and beyond.