Cancellation Watch: Hannibal Debut Doesn’t Have Much Bite, But It’s Not All Bad News

By | April 8, 2013

NBC’s latest (horror) genre entry Hannibal–from Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller–had it’s late season debut this last Thursday and delivered underwhelming, though not disastrous, Nielsen results.  The series opener pulled a 1.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 4.4 million total viewers.  The good news is that was the best rating that NBC has pulled in that hour in over a year (when Awake crossed that threshold on its way to cancellation).  The bad news is that if this show follows the typical trend, it’s numbers will only go down from here.  But then a bit more good news, it’s airing on fourth place NBC which is grasping at straws these days for any sort of ratings victories.  So if Hannibal doesn’t sink too much, it may still have a chance.  The fact is, though, that the network already stacked the deck against this one.  The 10 PM EST Thursday night timeslot has been a brutal one for NBC for quite some time and it already sunk the Jekyll and Hyde series Do No Harm in record time earlier this year.  Plus the late season start almost never work’s in a show’s favor.  Why they scheduled such a promising–and high-profile–series in this hour is beyond me, but I think they need to make a schedule adjustment pretty quickly to keep it from sinking too far.  Seems like this would be a good one to pair up with Grimm on Friday nights, but then the switch to that timeslot at this point would likely be perceived as the network giving up on the show because that is often looked upon as a burn-off night.  But Hannibal shows promise and has name recognition, so they need to act to keep it from tanking like so many other shows have for this network in this timeslot.  Keep a close eye on its numbers over the coming weeks, but I am unfortunately starting this one off at a Moderate Cancellation Alert level.

On Wednesday night, The CW’s Arrow and Supernatural continue to whither against strong competition from American Idol over on FOX.  The former pulled only a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo with 2.9 million total viewers and the latter sunk to a 0.8 rating with 1.9 million total viewers.  Both have already been renewed, though, but they have to hope that their network can keep its doors long enough for their next seasons to come to fruition.  On Thursday, both CW shows were in repeats and CBS’ Person of Interest returned from two weeks off (because of NCAA basketball) to post a 2.7 rating with 14.6 million total viewers.

On Friday, NBC’s Grimm pulled back up to a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demo with right at five million total viewers.  The other genre shows for that evening continued to languish though, with Touch pulling a 0.6 rating and 2.4 million total viewers, Nikita sinking to a 0.3 rating with 1.3 million total viewers, and Cult at the edge of the abyss with a 0.2 rating and only about 600k total viewers.

Below are the full ratings results for last week’s shows, and I already covered the early week shows in my previous mid-week column.  And you can keep an eye on the Cancellation Watch Twitter Site for the early returns from Sunday thru Monday shows from this week.  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 Results for the Week of March 31:
Once Upon A Time (R) (ABC Sun 8 PM) Rating: 0.6 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Low
The Walking Dead (AMC Sun 9 PM) Rating: 6.4 | Trend: Up | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Game of Thrones (HBO Sun 9 PM) Rating: 2.4 | Trend: Up | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
The Following (FOX Mon 9 PM) Rating: 2.2 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Being Human (Syfy Mon 9 PM) Rating: 0.5 | Trend: Steady | Cancellation Alert: Low
Bates Motel (A&E Mon 10 PM) Rating: 1.2 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Low
Arrow (CW Wed 8 PM) Rating: 0.9 | Trend: Steady | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Supernatural (CW Wed 9 PM) Rating: 0.8 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Vampire Diaries (R) (CW Thu 8 PM) Rating: 0.3 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Person of Interest (CBS Thu 9 PM) Rating: 2.7 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Beauty and the Beast (R) (CW Thu 9 PM) Rating: 0.2 | Trend: Steady | Cancellation Alert: Medium
Hannibal (NBC Thu 10 PM) Rating: 1.6 | Trend: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Nikita (CW Fri 8 PM) Rating: 0.3 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Cult (CW Tue 9 PM) Rating: 0.2 | Trend: Steady | Cancellation Alert: High
Touch (FOX Fri 9 PM) Rating: 0.6 | Trend: Up | Cancellation Alert: High
Grimm (NBC Fri 9 PM) Rating: 1.5 | Trend: Up | Cancellation Alert: Low
Lost Girl and Continuum not as heavily tied to U.S. ratings

Ratings Source: TV by the Numbers

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


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

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