Cancellation Watch: The Following Gets Renewed, The Walking Dead Slays The Bible and The Vikings

By | March 6, 2013

FOX announced the renewal of most of its top rated shows on Monday which included mid-season entry The Following (to keep up with these breaking announcements, follow the Cancellation Watch Twitter Site).  The Kevin Bacon starring show from Kevin Williamson started out strong with its January debut before going on a bit of a ratings slide, but it turned that around and now ranks as the network’s top rated scripted show.  This past Monday, the series pulled a 2.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 8.8 million total viewers.  I haven’t seen any word yet on whether it will return for a twenty two episode run or if they will stick with the thirteen ep order like this season and air those straight through.  The Following is so far the only mid-season genre entry (and it’s really a stretch to call it a genre show) that has had any success this year.  Do No Harm (NBC), Zero Hour (ABC), Touch (FOX), and Cult (The CW) have all debuted to disastrous ratings over the last couple of months with the first two already getting their cancellation notices and the second two certain to get the axe at some point.

On Sunday night, the History Channel made some major waves with the premieres of its two new shows The Bible and The Vikings and you’ll so all sorts of headlines flitting about how these were the “Number 1 Cable Entertainment Telecast of the Year” or the “Number 1 Cable Series Premiere” and other hoopla like that.  That’s all just spin, though, because the fact is that the zombies kicked butt on both of these shows on Sunday night as The Walking Dead pulled a lofty 5.7 rating in the 18-49 demo that advertisers covet with 11.3 million total viewers.  The Bible had more total viewers with 13.1 million, but a much lower rating with a 3.3 (though any of the broadcast networks would love to get “just” a 3.3 score from one of their shows these days).  And Dead walked all over The Vikings which had a 2.0 rating and 6.2 million total viewers (still pretty darn good ratings for a cable show).  In addition, The Walking Dead was leaps and bounds above anything on the broadcast networks last week as the highest rated shows there were Modern Family (3.9 rating) and the Wednesday broadcast of American Idol (3.9 rating).  The Big Bang Theory, which usually tops the ratings for the week, was in repeats last week.

And speaking of the now highly competitive Sunday night, ABC’s Once Upon A Time seems to be fading fast in the face of some pretty strong contenders over on the cable networks.  That show sunk to a series low of a 2.2 rating in the 18-49 demo and 7.4 million total viewers continuing the ratings slump it has experienced since returning from its Winter hiatus.  It’s had some pretty stiff competition with sports and awards shows and now The Bible, but the network will only give it so much room for excuses.  Sunday in general has been a down night for the broadcast networks of late, so maybe that should be factored in.  But if Once Upon A Time doesn’t get its numbers back up at least to the mid 2’s, it could be slipping into bubble status as the season winds down.

Over on Syfy, Being Human pulled a 0.4 rating and less than a million viewers this last Monday.  And that network has announced that they have picked up Lost Girl for a fourth season (which I originally tweeted on the Cancellation Watch Twitter Site on Friday).  I believe that effectively means that they have agreed to air another season of the Canadian Showcase series unless they have more of a financial stake in the show than I realize.  But it has only sporadically made it into the Cable Top 100 so far during its third season run, so I think Syfy is getting the show pretty cheap from our Canadian neighbors.  No word on Continuum which has already been renewed for a second season up north.  That one has actually outperformed Lost Girl (just slightly) so far this season in its Syfy run. 

Keep an eye on the Cancellation Watch Twitter Site for the early returns from the rest of this week’s shows 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 for questions on how the ratings work and my Cancellation Alert statuses, you can see the Cancellation Watch FAQ.

Ratings Source: TV by the Numbers

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2013 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

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