Cancellation Watch: Agents of SHIELD Gets a Full Season Order Despite Ratings Declines, American Horror Story Scares Up a Big Ratings Win

By | October 11, 2013
A lot a news from the last two days, so strap in and get ready . . .

First off, ABC announced a full season pickup for Agents of SHIELD meaning that they greenlighted the “Back 9” episodes to give it a full season order of 22.  That despite the fact that the show dropped in the Nielsens for a third week in a row, this time to a 2.9 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 7.9 million total viewers.  It seems that both ABC and FOX are under the assumption that a renewal (which Sleepy Hollow received last week) or a full season pickup will ward off the ratings declines.  But then again, I guess we have to give them credit for sticking by these shows.  And SHIELD is definitely not in the danger zone yet (neither is Sleepy Hollow), though quickly heading in that direction.  It’s an expensive show, so my guess is that it needs to stay above a 2.5 rating to survive into a second season and/or to stave off any network directed retooling.  This week’s drop was not nearly as dramatic as the one we saw from the first to second episode, though, so maybe it will level off pretty soon.

Also on Tuesday, The CW aired its first two new episodes for that night for the season and did surprisingly well.  The second installment of The Originals (it premiere last Thursday after Vampire Diaries) pulled a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo with 1.9 million total viewers in the highly competitive (nay, treacherous) 8 PM EST timeslot.  The network executives have to be jumping for joy with those numbers considering the ratings powerhouses CBS, NBC, and ABC have airing in that hour.  Then at 9 PM, Supernatural pulled its best numbers since 2010 as its Season 9 debut delivered a 1.2 rating with 2.6 million total viewers.  These two shows represent quite a win for the fifth place network as it was barely scraping up half a ratings point on that night as recently as last Spring.

Also on Tuesday, Person of Interest quietly scored a 2.0 rating with 11.7 million total viewers.  Not a great rating, but its total viewers continue to look good and that counts more on older-skewing CBS than the other broadcast networks.

On Wednesday night, FX’s American Horror Story returned for its third season (subtitled Coven) and pulled its best ratings yet.  The premiere episode grabbed an amazing 3.0 rating in the 18-49 demo with 5.5 million total viewers.  Last year, the show debuted with a 2.2 rating which means the Season 3 bow improved on those numbers by a whopping 36%!  Not only that, the series left the broadcast networks in the dust in that hour with the closest competition coming from the aging CSI pulling only a 1.9 rating.  American Horror Story is one of several cable shows that are really giving the old school broadcast networks a run for their money and helping to change the landscape of Prime Time television.

Not so lucky on Wednesday night was NBC’s Revolution which sunk in the ratings yet again.  That show could only muster a 1.5 score in the 18-49 demo with a paltry 5.5 million total viewers and it ranked fourth among the broadcast networks in that hour.  That’s less than half the 3.2 rating the series pulled for its third episode of its first season and a 34 % drop off in total viewers, and it also dominated its timeslot back in those days.  NBC tried to put some spin on the numbers claiming that the show did better in that hour than the comedies they aired there last year.  But sitcoms typically have lower ratings expectations anyway because they are cheaper to produce.  This series is officially in a death spiral and it’s likely only a matter now of when the network will pull the plug unless they try to salvage it with a schedule shift.

The CW had two more debuts for the week on Wednesday night as Arrow returned for its second season and The Tomorrow People had its bow in the lead-out slot.  The former series scored a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo with 2.7 million total viewers which is right about where it ended its first season.  I’m sure the execs over at The CW would have preferred that number to be a few ticks higher for the premiere, but that still counts as a decent rating for that network.  The Tomorrow People pulled the same ratings score with slightly less viewers at 2.3 million.  But that’s a pretty good debut for a new show on the fifth place broadcast net and they will count it as a win for now.

The CW also announced that they had ordered more scripts for The Originals and The Tomorrow People, though that’s nothing unusual for that network.  It means that they like what they see so far and based on the early ratings, expect both of these to get full season orders.

Out of breath yet?  Because I sure am.  Last night ABC’s Once Upon A Time in Wonderland had its bow in the precarious 8 PM EST timeslot that killed off both Last Resort and Zero Hour last season, so keep an eye on the Cancellation Watch Twitter Site today for those numbers and the ratings for the latest episode of Vampire Diaries.  And believe it or not but there are still more premieres on the way, so check out the Fall schedule at this link. You can see the status of all the current, upcoming, and recently ended shows over at the Cancellation Watch page.

Ratings Source: TV by the Numbers

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

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