‘Battle Creek’ Cancelation: Why the CBS Show Failed to Attract Viewers

battle creek

Battle Creek’s cancellation came following its three-month struggle in ratings, it has been revealed. The CBS comedy program, starring Josh Duhamel as Chamberlain and Dean Winters as Agnew, saw its finale episode air last night after it had been announced that the show would not be renewed for another series.

While fans of the show had argued their points over social media, stressing that they needed to give the show a little more time, CBS was said to have become worried over the program’s ratings. Having premiered to an audience of 7.9 million viewers in its Sunday evening time slot, Battle Creek did not do as well as the network had hoped. Nonetheless, executive producers were firm believers that people would pick up with the storyline once its next episode aired.

Unfortunately for them, Battle Creek had a drastic drop in the ratings by the time its second episode was televised. Only 6.9 million people tuned in. CBS would then go on to learn that the program would face a ratings drop for six consecutive weeks. The show failed to make any impact in its 18-49 demo, leaving the network no other choice but to scrap the show in its entirety.

USA Today’s Gary Levin had criticized CBS for not doing enough to promote the show the way it promoted other shows. He argues that the network had done their part to market the program effectively to a broad audience, and that the show could have succeeded. TV writer Mike Hughes agreed with this point, adding: “It started at an OK level and just stayed at an OK level. It never did any better than that, which is disappointing.” Hughes adds that the overall feel of the program was anything but pleasant, compared to other CBS dramas. Battle Creek was canceled because it was set up for failure to begin with, leaving the network at fault as to why viewers tuned out.

Another thing that fans had complained about via social media was the fact that certain plots would not get resolved until a specified date. For example, an episode which airs in April, about two characters and their shocking revelation of evidence regarding someone’s murder, would not be revealed to viewers until the last week of May. Fans argued that they were extremely turned off by the idea of having to wait up to six weeks to see conclusions to certain storylines, insinuating that they may have stopped watching because of it.

Many TV critics had praised the show for its originality, crediting Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan for what appeared to be another solid show with high potential. Not even with House producer David Shore, working to make the program a Sunday evening must-watch drama, CBS could not see themselves going forward as ratings struggled to improve.

The Sunday night time slot for dramas is seemingly appearing to become wider and wider, following the recent cancellation of ABC’s Revenge. The show, which ended in its fourth season, saw a drastic slump in its key demographic, having also failed to attract viewers over the course of the year. Nonetheless, compared to Battle Creek, Revenge was still able to hit a key demo 18-49 past 1.1, which is significantly higher than the 0.7 CBS was able to receive. Battle Creek’s cancellation was due to its failure to attract viewers, but it has given CBS more room for original programming.

By Maurice Cassidy


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Zap2It: CBS Predictions: ‘Battle Creek’ Is Certain To Be Canceled

Photo Courtesy of Insider Monkey’s Flickr page — Creative Commons license

21 Responses to "‘Battle Creek’ Cancelation: Why the CBS Show Failed to Attract Viewers"

  1. D.   February 20, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Never heard of Battle Creek before discovering this gem on Netflix. We were disappointed to learn it was cancelled after only 1 season. What a shame. We absolutely love all the characters. A big thanks to Netflix for airing it!

  2. Ms. B   May 1, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I really enjoyed this show. I cannot believe that CBS dropped it from their line-up. It should have been moved to an earlier time slot where you could get a younger demographic. I told my retired cop friend about this show on Netflix and she loved it. Some of the crap CBS is showing makes me only want to watch Netflix. The interaction of all the characters was so very good. I loved seeing strong woman in a leading role and the fractious interaction of the two main characters was just a hoot. CBS you really messed up this would have a real winner for you if you had just changed the time slot. Sorry for all of us who really enjoyed the show.

  3. brent   February 1, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    I loved it! Maybe Netflix could take it over and possibly give us a season 2??????? I would watch it! The 2 contrasting lead characters made it a joy to watch!

  4. Ian Short   January 14, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Thank God for Netflix or I never would have seen this show! What a little gem. Boo to CBS.

  5. john dakan   June 7, 2015 at 9:46 am

    simply a great show…was getting better each week….problem, horrible promotion by cbs, horrible time slot behind good wife, very different audiences for sure….cbs never realized who they were dealing with in mr gillgan….this show, as I feared, never had a chance…

    • susie   July 4, 2015 at 10:21 pm

      I agree.The first episode was weak, but each week got better and better. By the 3rd episode, we were sold! My husband and I are really disappointed with cbs for terrible promo and for cancellation of a really good (and different) series.

  6. Abby   June 2, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Really liked Battle Creek but because of its bad time slot I watched it later and probably didn’t get into the ratings.

  7. Bryan   June 1, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Gives them more room for another sucky CSI. The first one should have been canceled years ago.

  8. brandy   May 31, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    CBS- canceled battle creek sucks. Battle Creek was a great show lets keep stupid shows like madam secretary tired of women politics shows and I’m a women. Battle Creek had great writing and a great cast this show would of succeed if promoted properly and given time.

  9. Jeff   May 30, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Battle Creek was funny and a great change of pace. I will miss Battle Creek because CBS line up is getting boring with same shows, every night CSI – CBS.

  10. puffpop   May 30, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    One of the best shows on. Why Sunday night…It definitely wasn’t promoted enough. Everyone who has seen the program loved the show. However some hadn’t heard of it until we mentioned.. I smell something fishy. Someone didn’t want this show to succeed. Give it another time slot or put it on another channel.

  11. kevin   May 29, 2015 at 7:39 am

    We liked the show and are sorry to see it go. It wasn’t given enough of a chance. So sick of reality shows and enjoyed watching this.

  12. TomS   May 28, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Very disappointing that the show is being canceled, Battle Creek was getting better each week. Probably should have tried a different time during the week.

  13. Rick   May 28, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    The show was well put together. Unfortunately @ 10 Pm on Sunday nite it didn’t make it. I would have tried it at 8 or 9 Pm on a week nite to give it a chance. Try again on week nite.

  14. Anita H.   May 26, 2015 at 8:09 am

    When such inane shows as Two Broke Girls survive, and those with a bit of intelligence and originality, such as Battle Creek, are cancelled, it’s time to re-evaluate TV priorities. What on earth are they thinking? A few shows, slow start, too much trouble to keep it going, so let’s try something else. Like another reality show. Swell. If something isn’t an instant success, throw it out. That’s the new business model. So sad.

  15. Charlotte Wilks   May 25, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    I was thrilled when CBS decided to take a chance on the “short season” format used effectively by HBO, etc. Battle Creek is/was an intriguing series – great characters, story lines, phenomenal acting, etc. But, unlike many series that took one or two seasons to catch on and become hits, CBS did not give Battle Creek this chance. It started out looking like it was going to try something a little edgy and then got cold feet. The crew from Breaking Bad certainly has a great track record and just needed a little time and support from CBS. So, the network goes back to being formulaic rather than a risk-taking innovator. You’ve lost Letterman, and now Battle Creek. CBS should really consider resurrecting this show. It would be great if another network would see it’s quality and uniqueness and pick it up. Wouldn’t that be great if it became a hit?!

    From one really disappointed viewer.

  16. imo   May 25, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Yeah, they almost canceled M*A*S*H when it “failed in the ratings” in its first season too. Look what happened when they gave that a second chance.

  17. Margy   May 25, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Please reconsider CBS. No more inane reality shows. If CBS isn’t brave enough to air it, perhaps another network can pick it up.

  18. swgresident   May 25, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    This was the only program (other than Masterpiece Theater) that we watched on Sunday nights. We loved the ensemble cast, the two lead characters, scripts – it was terrific. Why not move it to another channel? USA or TNT? We are inundated with inane reality shows – please return this well-written program to the schedule!

  19. A   May 25, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    As usual CBS failed to see the value if a new show and what it could be. They could have tried to move it to a different time and day. Instead they would just rather cancel and leave other shows on that are tired and old….

  20. mjba   May 25, 2015 at 7:00 am

    too bad it had to end just when josh duhamel was finally given a chance to spread his wings and show his acting ability and skills. this would have been the time to continue on and show what the program could be. too bad…….


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