Cancellation Watch Power Rankings: Ranking the Sci Fi / Fantasy Shows from Least to Most Likely to Get Cancelled

By | January 3, 2014

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This kicks off a new companion piece to my Cancellation Watch column which will be ranking the current sci fi and fantasy shows from strongest to weakest based on where I believe they stand as far as their renewal or cancellation prospects.  My Power Rankings follow my Cancellation Alerts pretty closely, but they expand on those and show all the factors that I believe should be taken into consideration.  This is the mid-season edition of the Power Rankings which looks at the returning Fall shows plus the other returning genre shows that will have their debuts over the next few months like Being Human, Teen Wolf, and Game of Thrones.  I look at the prospects of the new mid-season shows at this link.  And I will be updating the Power Rankings every week to two weeks as new ratings information is tabulated.  The rankings order the shows by those least likely to get cancelled to those most likely.  Any non-cancelled show in its final season will be addressed separately at the bottom. You can see the full schedule for the mid-season shows at this link.

Cancellation Alert statuses from least likely to be cancelled to most likely: Low, Moderate, Medium, Elevated, High

Renewed or Sure to Get Renewed

the-walking-dead-s4b1. The Walking Dead (AMC) – This show’s numbers may have dropped some by the end of Fall, but that just meant it was coming down some from the stratosphere.  It is still the topped rated scripted show on all of television and almost assuredly locked in for several more years.
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a Fifth Season

2. Game of Thrones (HBO) – This series has grown its ratings and status each season and now rivals the numbers of many broadcast network shows.  Should stick around for the long haul
Pros: Strong Ratings
Status: Returning for a Fourth Season

3. American Horror Story (FX) – In its third season, this one has delivered its highest ratings numbers yet and has regularly scored well in the social media ranking of TV shows.  It has become a huge hit for its network and has outpaced quite a number of broadcast network shows.
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a Fourth Season

4. Vampire Diaries (CW) – Still the top rated series on the fifth place broadcast network, and it has topped its competition on the other broadcast channels in its timeslot several times this year.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Declining Year over Year Ratings
Cancellation Alert: Low

5. Supernatural (CW) – This one may be in its ninth season, but it keeps performing well for the fifth place network.  Expect a tenth season and counting.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cancellation Alert: Low

6. Arrow (CW) – It’s numbers looked a bit shaky early in its second season, but it came on strong toward the end of Fall.  This one could anchor a whole line of DC comics related shows at some point.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Fluctuations
Cancellation Alert: Low

7. The Originals (CW) – This spin-off series helped The CW retake Tuesdays (relatively speaking) and looks set to coast into a second season.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cancellation Alert: Low

8. Person of Interest (CBS) – The move to Tuesday at 10 PM EST hurt this show’s ratings in the 18-49 demographic, but it is still one of the most watched shows on the broadcast networks based on total viewership which holds more weight with older-skewing CBS.  Plus it is a third season show.
Pros: High Total Viewership, Third Season Series
Cons: Decline in Year over Year Ratings
Cancellation Alert: Low

9. Teen Wolf (MTV) – The first half of this show’s third season–which aired in Summer–delivered its best ratings yet prompting MTV to give it a fourth Season nod.
Pros: Renewed, Ratings Increase Year over Year, Relative Ratings
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

10. Grimm (NBC) – It went up and down in the ratings all Fall, but it never dropped enough to cause concern.  It’s still doing well for a Friday series and its a third season show as well, so it looks to be safe.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Third Season Series
Cons: Ratings Fluctuations
Cancellation Alert: Low

11. Sleepy Hollow (FOX) – A surprise hit early in the season, this one slipped notably in the ratings by the end of Fall.  But FOX still felt confident enough to give it a second season nod, though I’m sure the network hopes it ends its thirteen episode initial run on an up-note to go into its second year with some momentum.
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings Early, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

12. The Witches of East End (Lifetime) – It’s numbers were okay for a basic cable series and good enough to get a second year nod.  But it’s definitely no Walking Dead ratings juggernaut, or even American Horror Story for that matter.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Likely to Get Renewed:

once-upon-a-time-abc-cancelled13. Once Upon A Time (ABC) – This one has definitely slipped in the ratings this season, but then so have all of the broadcast net Sunday shows.  It’s a third season series, so that helps.  But it needs to avoid dropping off any further during the second half of the season.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Third Season Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: Low

14. Agents of SHIELD (ABC) – Started strong then went on a quick decline then rebounded then ended it’s Fall run weak.  The numbers from it’s first couple of episodes in January will determine pretty quickly if it slips into bubble status.
Pros: Strong Early Ratings, Recognized Franchise, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, High Production Costs
Cancellation Alert: Low

15. Being Human (Syfy) – This one averaged around a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demo last year which is passable for a low cost Syfy series. But if it slips any further during its 5th season, it could find itself in trouble. Does it mean anything that the original BBC version was cancelled after its 5th season.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Low Production Costs
Cons: Mediocre Ratings
Cancellation Alert: Low

On the Bubble:

haven-syfy-cancelled16. Haven (Syfy) – This series averaged a 0.4 rating in the 18-49 demo during its 4th season and numbers like that got Alphas cancelled last year.  I’m guessing the best this one can hope for is a shortened final season to wrap up its story lines similar to what Warehouse 13 is getting.  There is still a chance that the fans could influence Syfy’s decision on this one, though.
Pros: Low Production Costs
Cons: Mediocre Ratings, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: Medium

17. Hannibal (NBC) – This series got a second season despite its low ratings in its first year.  But I’m guessing it’s going to need to improve those if it wants to see a third season.  Or will strong buzz on the social networks keep it alive again?
Pros: Recognized Franchise, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Medium

18. The Tomorrow People (CW) – It has fallen to numbers that are iffy even for the fifth place network.  Does the fact that they are moving it to Mondays in March–a disastrous night for The CW this year–indicate the network is giving up on it?
Pros: Fifth Place Network Series
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Medium

19. Almost Human (FOX) – It had a good debut, but then fell fast. FOX may give it some leeway because of it late season start (airing most of its eps during a typically low viewership time of the year), but the numbers for its first episode in January will be crucial to its future.
Pros: Good early start
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Poor ratings
Cancellation Alert: Medium

Likely to Get Cancelled:

revolution-s220. Revolution (NBC) – The network hurt this one before the season began with their scheduling, but then it was already limping out off its 1st season. Unless it can turn its numbers around quickly, it will air out its remaining episodes then likely disappear.
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

21. The Neighbors (ABC) – If this one could have pulled ratings a few ticks higher, it might have done okay in its Friday night timeslot with low expectations. As it is, it will almost assuredly air out its remaining few episodes and be done with it.
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: High

22. Beauty and the Beast (CW) – This one ended last season with poor ratings, then it’s network moved it to one of their worst nights for its second year.  It arrived basically DOA, but they are letting it air out its episodes.
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: High

23. Dracula (NBC) – This one started strong for a Friday 10 PM EST show, but then fell fast and far.  It had a bit of an uptick at the end of Fall but likely not enough to change its fate.  It was originally billed as a ten episode “event” and will likely not go any further.  Consider it de facto cancelled at this point.
Pros: Good Debut Ratings, Late upsurge
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: High

24. Once Upon A Time in Wonderland (ABC) – This spin-off series had the odds heavily against it before the season began because of scheduling, and it could never overcome that.  It started low and went down from there.  It was originally intend to be a single season show (with the possibility of extending that if the ratings were good), so consider it de facto cancelled, though it will likely be used to pad out the eventually syndication run of its parent series.
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: High

Final Season:

Nikita (CW) – It got a 4th season renewal but not enough eps for a typical domestic syndication package.  That’s probably because it plays better to the overseas markets and they just wanted to give it the chance to wrap up its storylines.


 

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 $1.99 on Kindle from Amazon.com.

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