CBS Boss: Magnum P.I. Cancellation Was 'One of the Tougher Decisions'

Saying a sad aloha to Magnum P.I. was one of the tougher decisions CBS had to make this renew/cancel time of year, says network chief Kelly Kahl.

The reboot this season averaged 7.3 million total viewers and a 0.7 demo rating (with Live+7 playback), down just a tick from its Season 3 tallies (7.5 mil/0.8). Out of the 14 dramas that CBS has aired this TV season, it ranks No. 9 in both measures — though both CSI: Vegas (6.8 mil/0.8) and S.W.A.T. (6.5 mil/0.8), which drew smaller audiences, earned renewals.

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Our sister site Deadline reported that a mutually agreeable new licensing deal could not be reached with lead Magnum P.I. producer Universal TV, as waning linear ratings drive down what a network is willing to pay.

Speaking with TVLine, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl said, “You have some tough decisions to make and you have lots of factors — and I’m not going to rule [the licensing fee] out as one of them. It was a great team to work with, and one of the tougher decisions we had to make.”

Thus far, there have been no meaningful rumblings that Magnum is being shopped around for a possible Season 5 “save,” though TVLine is keeping its ears open.

Of some note: With Magnum‘s cancellation (and Hawaii Five-0 long gone), CBS for the first time in four years finds itself heading into the fall with only one Aloha State-based drama — NCIS: Hawai’i. As such, is the network perhaps angling to set up a future series there? (Hmm, can Kauai pass for East New York…?)

“We’ll never rule out shooting there,” Kahl said, “because it’s obviously beautiful and they have been a good home to us and our shows for a long time.”

Want scoop on what Magnum Season 5 might have been? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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