CBS rebooted a classic TV crime drama back in 2017 with S.W.A.T. Starring Shemar Moore as Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson, S.W.A.T. had a lot going for it straight out of the gate, and CBS didn't waste any time in showing support for the new show in Season 1. Now, with only a few episodes left in Season 2, CBS doesn't seem to feel so strongly optimistic about the show anymore. Here's a breakdown of factors that could play into whether or not S.W.A.T. gets a third season.
As is often the case when it comes to broadcast network TV shows, the ratings could make or break S.W.A.T.'s future on the small screen. The show was a ratings winner for CBS when it first premiered in 2017, so much so that the network announced an order for a full season after only three episodes had aired.
From Season 1 to Season 2, TV Series Finale reports the Live+Same day ratings and viewership dropped by 16.7% and 9.9%, respectively. Basically, fewer people in the important 18-49 age demographic are tuning in to watch S.W.A.T. live in Season 2 than they did in Season 1. In 2019 so far, S.W.A.T. averages a 0.81 rating in the 18-49 demographic, with 5.33 million viewers tuning in for Live+Same day calculations.
Those aren't great numbers, and S.W.A.T. fans might have reason to despair the chances for Season 3... if Live+Same day ratings were the only ones that mattered. Numbers from Programming Insider reveal that S.W.A.T. experiences a huge boost once ratings and viewership from a few extra days can be tallied.
From the episodes that have aired in 2019 so far, viewership jumps 52% in Live+3 day tallies, from 5.33 million to 8.12 million people. As for ratings, the number jumps a whopping 73%, from 0.81 to 1.42. S.W.A.T. may not be about to catch up to some of its fellow CBS crime dramas any time soon, but it's doing relatively well for itself.
The boost from delayed viewing is a big deal nowadays, as more and more consumers are choosing to watch their favorite TV shows at their convenience, rather than at the same primetime time slot each week.
We obviously can't say how much or how little delayed viewership plays in the decision about S.W.A.T.'s future unless CBS makes an announcement, but the numbers are proof that fans don't need to panic that only a handful of people are watching. If S.W.A.T. gets the axe, it may not be 100% due to ratings.
What is a bit alarming on the S.W.A.T. front is that CBS has renewed a lot of its other shows by this point, including crime dramas. All three shows in the NCIS franchise scored new seasons, which came as a relief to NCIS: Los Angeles fans who thought the end had to be nigh. The long-running Blue Bloods will be back, along with Dick Wolf's venture into CBS territory. Criminal Minds is returning for a fifteenth and final season.
S.W.A.T. was already renewed for Season 2 at this time last year. Is the lack of a renewal for Season 3 by now a sign that fans should start preparing for the worst kind of news?
The answer to that question is a resounding "maybe." S.W.A.T. isn't the only action-packed crime drama not yet renewed by CBS, as SEAL Team too is waiting for a decision. Unlike SEAL Team, however, S.W.A.T. is half-owned by Sony Pictures Television, according to THR. Although S.W.A.T. is co-produced by CBS, it's possible that the shared ownership will work against the show's renewal chances, especially if it's going to be a close call.
CBS reportedly had limited interest in keeping Criminal Minds going due to the fact that ABC was the lead studio, and the ratings weren't high enough to justify the expense of production. Criminal Minds is indeed coming to an end after a shortened fifteenth season to wrap things up. On the one hand, the downfall of Criminal Minds may be discouraging to S.W.A.T. fans.
On the other hand, perhaps the upcoming end of the long-running crime drama means CBS will be open to filling the slot with another crime drama. The FBI spinoff does have to go somewhere, of course, but there are a lot of variables still in play. Whether or not those variables will work in S.W.A.T.'s favor remains to be seen.
Hey, maybe if S.W.A.T. does get the axe, Shemar Moore would have the time to visit Criminal Minds in its last season. That would be nice for Criminal Minds fans, but not much of a silver lining for S.W.A.T. fans who didn't know Moore from the CBS show that launched his primetime TV career.
Season 2 isn't over yet, and it's entirely possible that CBS won't make -- or at least announce -- a decision about S.W.A.T.'s future until the numbers for the finale are in. Although we're still a few weeks away from the finale, the plot description has been released, and it indicates a pretty wild ride for the final episode of Season 2.
In the Season 2 finale (which hopefully will not wind up doubling as a series finale), the team will head off in pursuit of The Emancipators, a.k.a. a militant and very dangerous group. The bad guys will work to publicly execute city politicians by convicting them in a kangaroo court... on a live stream.
Fittingly called "Kangaroo," the finale airs May 16. It will also see Hondo trying to life Darryl's spirits, Deacon feeling unworthy of an honor, and Street finding new information about his missing mom.
The end of S.W.A.T. Season 2 will be the end of one of primetime's most intense dramas for the season, whether or not it scores a renewal. The good news is that there are plenty of new and returning TV shows hitting the airwaves later this month and beyond that could fill the S.W.A.T. void for fans. For now, you can catch new episodes of S.W.A.T. on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).