The Biased Nature of Renewals

The Biased Nature of Renewals

It’s been a long week since we all found out that the CW had renewed seven of their shows, but not two of our (LezWatch) favourites.

The CW is a unique network, in that 99% of their scripted dramas have queer regular or recurring characters. The one that doesn’t, or at least doesn’t normally, is The Flash. Yes, even Superman introduced a bisexual student (currently interested in one of the SuperSons).

What’s Renewed

All American5Coop, Patience
The Flash9N/A
Kung-Fu3Ryan, Sebastian
Nancy Drew4Bess, Addy
Riverdale7Cheryl, Toni, Kevin, Fangs
Superman & Lois3Sarah
Walker3Liam, Bret

The first thing I noticed with that list is that it doesn’t have any shows where the queer is the lead. The closest you get is Riverdale, but even then the ‘real’ leads are Betty, Ronnie, Archie, and Jughead. Cheryl, while the primary antagonist (… sometimes) is not the lead-lead character.

Waiting in the Wings

Here are the shows not yet renewed.

44001Andre, Noah, Mariah, Keisha,
Soraya, Jessica
Yes (2022)
All American: Homecoming1Nathaniel, KeishaNo
Batwoman4Ryan, SophieYes (2022)
Charmed3Mel, KaelaNo
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow7Sara, Ava, SpoonerYes (2022)
DC’s Stargirl2N/AYes
Dynasty5Amanda, KirbyNo
In The Dark3JessYes
Legacies4Ben, Finch, Jade, Jed, Josie,
Maya, Penelope
Roswell, New Mexico3Isobel, CharlieYes (2021)

Now. Looking at those, we have the shows where queers are very much leads (4400, Batwoman, Charmed, and Legends) and the others where they are core regulars.

The second you list them like that, it kind of jumps out at you.

The shows that are not yet renewed are the ones with queer leads.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this, though. Back when Stumptown was canceled, I pointed out that shows like Dexter got a revival as NCIS got a renewal which was indicative of an unbalanced market.

Statistics Don’t Make Sense

Let’s look at this differently, with regards to the coveted 18-49 demographic per the Nielsen Ratings, shall we?

Year to Year
Year to Year
Superman & Lois *0.19-18.89%0.904-13.84%
All American *0.18-24.57%0.590-17.29%
The Flash *0.15-28.57%0.664-19.02%
All American: Homecoming0.12N/A0.422N/A
Walker *0.09-41.25%0.953-28.37%
Kung Fu *0.09-30.77%0.579-39.80%
Legends of Tomorrow0.0910.58%0.52827.03%
Riverdale *0.07-38.96%0.276-40.22%
Nancy Drew *0.05-34.62%0.356-23.64%

I put asterisks by each renewed show so you could make the face I did when writing this, which is “How the hell did they pick those renewals?!”

All American: Homecoming ranks fourth but isn’t finished it’s first season, sure. But Legends is the ONLY show to be fully increasing metrics! The shows with the least losses? Dynasty and Charmed.

That looks weird, right? Well here’s the ‘sorted by total viewers list:

  1. Walker *
  2. Superman & Lois *
  3. The Flash *
  4. All American *
  5. Kung Fu *
  6. Naomi
  7. Legends of Tomorrow
  8. Batwoman
  9. All American: Homecoming
  10. Charmed
  11. 4400
  12. Nancy Drew *
  13. Legacies
  14. Dynasty
  15. Riverdale *

Quite honestly, I cannot explain how it is that Riverdale got renewed.

Is it a Bias? Or is it Money?

I wanted to argue that maybe this was because superhero shows are spendy … That’s true. Also long running shows are expensive to produce since everyone gets raises. But that really makes a weird argument when you look at Riverdale again, doesn’t it?

The most logical explanation is the one that stands out at you. There is a bias, possibly unconscious, against queer and female led shows.

At least, I sure hope it’s unconscious.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.

2 thoughts on “The Biased Nature of Renewals

  • hey really interesting i just noticed a few errors. You spelled Sara and Kaela’s names wrong and you forgot Gwyn in the Legends section. Also how are you countingthe queers? Is it just series regulars? Also the Legacies section does not match your Legacies page here where you only list Josie, Finch, Maya and Penelope. I’m so confused. Sorry to nitpick.

    • Serves me right for letting Autocorrect in for the spelling. I was trying to just count the series regulars/mains, and I admit I do not watch Legacies so I was trying to figure out who was still around and active.

      But even so! There’s yet another queer female heavy show that is not renewed yet…

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