Cancellation Watch: Bates Motel has Good Debut but Walking Dead Still Rules Television, Plus More Kickstarter Fallout

By | March 20, 2013

AMC’s The Walking Dead pulled a 5.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic this last Sunday with 10.8 million total viewers which was a drop of two ticks in its rating score, but it was still the top ranked show on the cable and broadcast networks over last week’s Monday thru Sunday timeframe.  It beat everything on the broadcast nets including the CBS juggernaut (and geek friendly) The Big Bang Theory and also topped all of the cable broadcasts including the History Channels upstarts The Bible and The Vikings.  The former actually pulled a slightly higher number of total viewers (10.87 MM vs. 10.84), but The Walking Dead was the clear winner in the all important 18-49 demo, almost doubling The Bible‘s 2.8 rating that it pulled in its 8-10 PM EST airing.  And the recap/discussion show The Talking Dead beat the rating that The Vikings pulled on Sunday with a 1.9 score for the former vs. a 1.5 for the latter.  I’m not certain how many seasons The Walking Dead can keep up this momentum (as well as the intensity of its episodes), but expect it to remain a force for at least a few more seasons.

On A&E, their Psycho prequel series Bates Motel had a decent bow with a 1.3 rating and just over three million total viewers.  That’s nowhere near Walking Dead numbers, but still decent for a basic cable series.  It’s possible, though, that the debut attracted a lot of people curious about its connection to the Alfred Hitchcock original, so we will have to see if the show experiences a notable drop off with its second installment.

In other ratings news, ABC’s Once Upon A Time remained steadily low with a 2.3 rating in the 18-49 demo and 7.5 million total viewers this last Sunday.  That night in general has experienced some significant ratings erosion (what with the competition over on AMC and History) and Once Upon A Time is still one of the top rated Sunday shows, so I guess it’s okay for now.  On Monday, FOX’s The Following slipped a bit to a 2.5 rating with 7.3 million total viewers.  That one has already been renewed for a second season.  Over on Syfy, Being Human remained steadily low with a 0.4 rating and about one million total viewers and Lost Girl pulled basically the same numbers.  The Continuum season finale did not make it into the Cable Top 100, but that show has already been renewed in Canada where Season 2 will start airing in April, and U.S. audiences will probably see that in Fall 2013 or mid-season 2014.

As expected, the Kickstarter campaign that successfully funded a Veronica Mars reunion movie (more on that at this link) has set off tremors through the entertainment industry prompting many fans to start clamoring for similar campaigns to bring back their own shows.  Zach Levi has already hinted at the possibility of a Chuck movie and Bryan Fuller has indicated he would like to take this approach to revisit Pushing Daisies and/or Wonderfalls (how about a crossover movie?).  But a couple of creators have made statements claiming that a Kickstarter campaign would not be bringing back their shows any time soon.  Joss Whedon has indicated that his current commitments to Marvel (with Avengers 2 and the SHIELD TV series) would make it impossible for him to focus on a Firefly movie any time soon.  And there’s also the issue of getting the cast together with Nathan Fillion and others committed to other projects.  And Josh Friedman has put the kibosh on a Sarah Connor Chronicles movie citing primarily licensing issues as well as the fact that most sci fi shows would need a much higher budget than what is currently targeted for Veronica Mars.  But still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Kickstarter campaign for one or more genre series in the near future.  Keep an eye on this site for a post looking at some of the most likely candidates. 

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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