Cancellation Watch: Revolution Rises, Walking Dead Crushes All Competition

By | October 17, 2012

I don’t recall if the Walking Dead TV series was shopped around to any of the broadcast networks, but if they did have the chance to grab the show and passed on it, they are definitely regretting that decision now (though likely that’s best for us, because I’m sure they would have turned this into a lame, teen-angst schlock-fest).  The Season 3 premiere of the zombie series based on the comic book of the same name set all sorts of new records this past Sunday night.  That episode pulled a dizzying 5.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic and a whopping 10.9 million total viewers.  That’s way up from the already record-breaking 4.7 rating the show had for its Season 2 finale and sets all sorts of records for non-sports related cable broadcasts (last season’s finale had previously set the record for a scripted cable series).  Not only that, the show is completely blowing the broadcast networks out of the water.  On Sunday, the closest the networks came with their original programming was the 3.0 rating that Once Upon A Time pulled.  Football on NBC had a higher rating than The Walking Dead at 7.7 (where some might have confused the Houston Texans with the walking dead), but the baseball playoffs fell short with only a 2.1 rating.  And I haven’t gone back and checked all the numbers yet, but I don’t believe any scripted show by any of the networks has come close to that 5.8 rating this season.  Several have topped The Walking Dead‘s premiere in total viewers, but to my knowledge none have in the all important 18-49 demographic.  This series has not just delivered a breakout hit, it has become a phenomenon. 

Sunday night was not too kind to the two genre shows on the broadcast networks, though, as Once Upon A Time slipped yet again to the aforementioned 3.0 rating with only 9.5 million total viewers.  It did hold honors as top scripted show on the broadcast channels for the evening, but you have to wonder if the audience is starting to lose interest in this one.  At the 10 PM EST hour, 666 Park Ave sunk to a 1.5 rating and 4.8 million total viewers.  Most likely at this point, ABC will allow that one to air out its episodes then they will let it drift off into TV Purgatory.

On Monday night, NBC’s Revolution finally turned around its ratings slide.  The most recent episode improved its numbers to a 3.3 rating and 8.6 million total viewers.  And it continues to far outpace its competition from the other broadcast networks in 10 PM EST timeslot.  As I have said before, as long as this one remains above a 3.0 rating, it is safe.  If it resumes its decline, though, and falls into the mid 2’s, then it will be approaching bubble territory.

Syfy’s two scripted shows currently airing continue to take up the rear in the ratings among the current crop of genre shows, but Friday’s Haven did get some good news this last week.  It improved its numbers to a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demo and 1.7 million total viewers.  I still have that one at a Moderate Cancellation Alert status, but if it stays at these levels then I will drop that to Low.  Not so lucky is Monday’s Alphas which pulled another 0.4 rating and slipped to only 1.16 million total viewers.  That show has its Season 2 finale this coming Monday and then we will have to wait and see whether Syfy will keep it around for another year.

Tonight is the Season 2 premiere of FX’s The American Horror Story, and I will post the early returns for that one at the Cancellation Watch Twitter Site either late Thursday or on Friday.  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.  .

Ratings Source: TV by the Numbers


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 Amazon.com.

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