S.W.A.T. season 7 gets a clarifying update from creator Shawn Ryan, who explains why the drama has yet to be renewed. Since its debut in 2017, S.W.A.T has joined several police procedurals at CBS that have garnered a faithful following. The show, which centers around Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant Daniel Harrelson and his unit, is finishing its sixth installment. But despite its dependable ratings, the series is one of several scripted series at CBS that face an uncertain future.
While promoting The Night Agent, Ryan’s new series for Netflix, he touched on the status of S.W.A.T season 7 in an interview with TV’s Top 5. The executive producer is candid when asked about the way that broadcast television has changed, using the question as an opportunity to discuss the difficulties that face S.W.A.T. Ryan mentions that “the economics are completely different” and notes that it’s unclear whether the police show will get to return for future episodes. Ryan says that it’s not a question of ratings and that CBS will have to figure out how to proceed with Sony Pictures Television Studios, which helps to produce the series:
It’s not the same place; the economics are completely different. Right now, it’s up in the air whether S.W.A.T. will get picked up for a seventh season and that has nothing to do with ratings. You would never see that situation 15 years ago. S.W.A.T. is third in the demo at CBS; there’s no reason why the show shouldn’t be picked up other than the economics of the business are changing. CBS and Sony will or will not figure out a way to economically make a season seven work.
The S.W.A.T Situation Proves How Much TV Has Changed
Per TVLine, S.W.A.T season 6 has actually rebounded in the ratings. The show has been averaging 6.8 million total viewers, with 0.7 in the demo when taking into account the Live+7 playback. That’s up in the overall ratings and barely any lower in the demo compared to S.W.A.T season 5. Of the 14 dramas that CBS has, the series is in a five-way tie for third in the demo. It’s just behind Fire Country and FBI, both of which have been renewed.
The changing economics of TV, as Ryan indicates, means that solid and reliable ratings for episodes of S.W.A.T are not the only, or even at times the primary factor that indicates if a show is renewed. A relatively low-rated series, with a low price tag, could get renewed over a long-running drama with a considerable budget. That is currently the case with Blue Bloods, another CBS show that stars Tom Selleck. If it does return for season 14, it could be with a smaller budget.
Renewals, and the question of which programs have a chance to grow and evolve, have been questions asked of streamers like Netflix that have gained a reputation for their cancelations. But traditional broadcast networks, with dramas like S.W.A.T, are dealing with their own financial realities that aren’t as cut and dry as they once might’ve been.
Source: TV’s Top 5/TV Line