Cancellation Watch: Premiere Week Had Some Ups and Downs for Sci Fi Shows

By | October 1, 2012

The first official full week of the Fall 2012 season is now in the bag, and the sci fi related shows that have bowed so far have done okay, though at least a couple are looking at grim futures.In its second week, NBC’s Revolution dropped notably from its debut numbers, but it wasn’t too bad and I already looked at its prospects in my Wednesday column last week.

On Tuesday, the much-maligned aliens-in-the-suburbs sitcom The Neighbors debuted on ABC pulling what looks like rather decent numbers.  It scored a 3.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 9.2 million total viewers, which at first blush looks like a rather good opener.  But the fact that it lost 42% of the audience from its lead-in Modern Family (which pulled a 5.5 rating in the 18-49 demo), tells us a different story.  Basically, its numbers were skewed by its lead-in and this week the show moves to its regular timeslot one hour early so expect a significant drop.  And while it may seem rather harsh to have the second highest rated genre show from last week at a Moderate Cancellation Alert status, that’s because of all the extenuating circumstances and the direction I expect the show to go in the coming weeks.  Keep an eye peeled to see if I am off base, though.

Another ABC that did not receive good news from the Nielsens last week was Last Resort which had its debut on Thursday.  That show could only muster a 2.2 rating in the 18-49 demo with its launch, which is a tepid at best bow and doesn’t give it much room to maneuver.  Basically, unless it manages the unlikely and builds up an audience in the coming weeks, it’s chances are not good at all (and here I will let you insert your own puns about this submarine show sinking).  What the show does have in its favor is good buzz among the critics, so maybe ABC will give it a chance and perhaps try to schedule it into a less competitive timeslot.  But if the show starts to fall below a 2.0 rating, which is very likely based on typical trends, consider its chances slim at best and I am starting it off with a Medium Cancellation Alert status.

On CBS, Person of Interest returned with its second season premiere to decent but unspectacular numbers.  It pulled a 2.9 rating in the 18-49 demo and 14.3 million total viewers.  That’s actually higher than where it ended its first season, but it was a distant second from its main timeslot competitor Grey’s Anatomy which pulled a 4.4 rating in the hour.  I wouldn’t think that Person of Interest has to worry at this point, but it would like to see its numbers trend up like it did last season.  And while I don’t consider it a genre show, CBS’s Sherlock Holmes re-imagining Elementary debuted with decent numbers at the 10 PM hour, pulling a 3.1 rating and 13.4 million total viewers.

NBC’s Grimm did well in its first Friday of the Fall season with new episodes.  It pulled a 1.6 rating and 5.3 million total viewers.  As long as it stays in that range, it should be in good shape for this season.  And Fringe premiered on Friday with decent enough numbers, pulling a 1.1 rating and 3.2 million total viewers for the first episode of its final season.

Finally, the early numbers for last night’s premieres show that ABC had one win and one potential misfire.  Once Upon A Time returned strong with a 3.8 rating and eleven million total viewers.  That’s down a little bit from its premiere last year, but up from where it ended its first season.  It was also, once again, the highest rated scripted show for the night and it looks to be in good shape as the season starts out.  Not so fortunate was new entry 666 Park Ave which only scraped up a 2.2 rating and just under seven million total viewers with its debut.  It lost a full 31% of the audience from its lead-in (Revenge which had a 3.2 rating) and while it beat The Mentalist in its timeslot as far as its ratings (though just barely with a 2.2 vs. a 2.1), it was much lower in total viewers (6.97 MM vs. 10.83 MM).  This one is in the same boat at this point as Last Resort, but it doesn’t have as much critical acclaim, so it could find itself in trouble real soon. 

There are still more premieres on the way, and you can check out the full schedule of Fall 2012 genre shows at this link.  And you can see the Cancellation Alert status of all the shows currently airing plus the final results from prior seasons at my Cancellation Watch page.  And you can get the quickest updates on ratings results and breaking announcements by following the Cancellation Watch Twitter Site.

Following are the ratings results for all of the genre shows from this past week. In some cases, the numbers below are based on the preliminary returns and could change slightly when the final results are tallied.

Ratings Results for the Week of Sep 23rd:
Revolution (NBC Mon 10 PM) Rating: 4.1 | Trend: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low
The Neigbors (ABC Wed 9:30 PM) Rating: 3.2 | Trend: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Last Resort (ABC Thu 8 PM) Rating: 2.2 | Trend: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Medium
Person of Interest (CBS Thu 9 PM) Rating: 2.9 | Trend: Up | Cancellation Alert: Low
Grimm (NBC Fri 9 PM) Rating: 1.6 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Low
Fringe (FOX Fri 9 PM) Rating: 1.1 | Trend: Steady | Cancellation Alert: Final Season
Haven (Syfy Fri 10 PM) Rating: Pending | Trend: Steady | Cancellation Alert: Low

Ratings Source: TV by the Numbers

Cancellation Watch Fall 2012 Sci Fi TV Preview: A look at the Fall season’s new and returning genre shows and how they will fare with the Nielsens.

Why Were They Cancelled? 
The Plight of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television in the Face of the Unforgiving Nielsens and Networks

Ever wondered why your favorite science fiction and/or fantasy show disappeared from the television schedule, never to deliver anymore new episodes? The reason why, most likely, is that it was cancelled because its ratings were low. And this book looks at those many cancelled sci fi/fantasy shows as well as the Neilsen ratings and television networks that dictate their fates. Available now for only $2.99 on Kindle from

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