Sci Fi TV Power Rankings: Resurrection Enters as Likely to be Renewed, Believe as Likely to be Cancelled, and The 100 is On the Bubble

By | March 31, 2014



resurrection-abc-cancelledFour sci fi / fantasy shows have debuted since the last set of Power Rankings (which includes upstart El Rey’s From Dusk Till Dawn), and these have met with mixed success.  ABC’s Resurrection saw surprisingly high ratings when it debuted and both NBC’s Believe and The CW’s The 100 did pretty decent with their bows as well.  But all of them have seen drops in there numbers, which raise some questions.  Resurrection still looks okay, but I can’t say the same for Believe and The 100 is iffy at this point.  I go into more detail on each of these in their entries below.  As far as El Rey’s From Dusk Till Dawn, that one is airing on a new network which is more interested in establishing a brand than immediate ratings success.  And thus it has has already been renewed based on the favorable buzz from those who have had a chance to see the series thus far.

Three shows have received renewal notices since the last set of Power Rankings: NBC’s Grimm, CBS’ Person of Interest, and Syfy’s Helix (with that news just breaking on Friday).  Those first two I have been predicting those all season, so no big surprises there.  Helix was definitely no sure thing, but it apparently fit in with its network’s move back to more science fiction oriented programming.  As far as movement on the list, the entry of four new shows as well as the renewals has caused some ranking changes since last time.  Based on Once Upon A Time‘s strong return from hiatus, I have moved it to Sure to be Renewed.  I have lowered the Cancellation Alert status for Dracula to Elevated and it leapfrogged over few shows based on how Hannibal has been doing in the same timeslot.  I still have Dracula as Likely to be Cancelled, just a little less likely at this point.

Everything should be determined by mid-May when the networks present their schedules to the advertisers at the upfronts.  If a series has not already received its renewal/cancel notice, then we should know by the dates that the networks have set for their presentations (see below).  It’s possible that some announcements could be delayed like Hannibal was last year, but the sponsors prefer that the networks have nice tidy schedules by then.

Upfront Presentation Dates:

NBC – Monday, May 12
FOX – Monday, May 12
ABC – Tuesday, May 13
CBS – Wednesday, May 14
CW – Thursday, May 15

So now on to the Power Rankings.  Note that these rankings only look at shows currently airing (some could be on hiatus, though) or those that are returning. New series that have aired one or less episodes will not make it into the rankings yet because I have to have some sort of a sampling to make a determination of their status. And import shows like Syfy’s Lost Girl and Bitten or BBC America’s Orphan Black which are not as heavily impacted by their ratings in the States are not included here either. The rankings order the shows by those least likely to get cancelled to those most likely. The number in parenthesis is the show’s prior rank. 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

1 (1) The Walking Dead (AMC) – This show continues to top all scripted programming on the broadcast and cable networks and even has beat out some high profile sports coverage like the Olympics. Consider it a lock for AMC for several more years (with a spin-off on the way).
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a Fifth Season

2 (2) Game of Thrones (HBO) – This series has grown its ratings and prestige 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 (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 as well.
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a Fourth Season

4 (4) Teen Wolf (MTV) – This show already grew its numbers last Summer and now it has continued to hold strong against regular season competition as it ended its third year with some of its best numbers yet. Season 4 is just around the corner as it is set to begin in June.
Pros: Renewed, Ratings Increase Year over Year, Relative Ratings
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

5 (5) Vampire Diaries (CW) – Still the top rated series on the fifth place broadcast network, and it has beaten out some of its timeslot competition from the Big Four networks several times this year.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Declining Year over Year Ratings
Status: Renewed for a 6th Season

6 (6) Supernatural (CW) – This one may be in its ninth season, but it keeps performing well for the fifth place network. It’s tenth season is now a lock and a spin-off could be coming as well.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a 10th Season

7 (7) Arrow (CW) – It’s numbers looked a bit shaky early in its second season, but it came on strong toward the end of Fall and has done decent since its mid-season return. With a Flash spin-off potentially on the way, Arrow could anchor a whole line of DC comics related shows on The CW at some point.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Fluctuations
Status: Renewed for a 3rd Season

8 (8) The Originals (CW) – This spin-off series helped The CW retake Tuesdays (relatively speaking) and and is now set to coast into a second season.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

person-of-interest-cancelled9 (9) 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 the fact that it is a third season show helped it win a fourth season renewal.
Pros: Renewed, High Total Viewership, Third Season Series
Cons: Decline in Year over Year Ratings
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

10 (10) Grimm (NBC) – It has gone up and down all season, but never dropped enough to cause concern. It’s still doing well for a Friday series and its a third season show as well, thus its fourth season renewal came as no surprise.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Third Season Series
Cons: Ratings Fluctuations
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

11 (11) Haven (Syfy) – Not only did this show get renewed, but it received twice its usual order of episodes for a season (26 instead of 13). Probably indicates that the series is low cost enough that Syfy would pony up the money for that many more episodes to make it more attractive to the syndication market. But then kudos to the fanbase for their strong online presence that brought attention to the show and likely helped it get renewed. Looks like the social networks could be in the process helping to change the way that network execs gauge the success of their programming.
Pros: Renewed, Low Production Costs, Renewed
Cons: Mediocre Ratings, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Status: Renewed for a 5th Season

12 (12) Sleepy Hollow (FOX) – A surprise hit early in the season, this one slipped notably in the ratings by the end of Fall. Its exit at mid-season didn’t deliver spectacular numbers either (though they weren’t terrible) so we will have to wait until next year to see if it can reclaim any sort of momentum.  The overall ratings struggles for its network’s scripted programming will bear keeping an eye on for the rest of this season and into next.
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings Early, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

13 (13) 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 Teen Wolf for that matter.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

once-upon-a-time-cancelled14 (14) Once Upon A Time (ABC) – So much for the thoughts it would be hurt by that long mid-season hiatus.  The show returned strong (helped by wicked witches and flying monkeys) even if it did slip a bit a few episodes after its return.  Throw in the fact that it is a third season series, and I am bumping this to the upper tier of Sure to be Renewed.  Expect an announcement on this one at any time.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Third Season Series, Strong Social Network Presence, Ratings Improvement Late in Season
Cons: Ratings Decline Early in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year, Extended Mid-Season Hiatus
Cancellation Alert: Low

15 (n/a) From Dusk Till Dawn (El Rey) – It hasn’t made a dent in the cable ratings yet, but it’s on a new network that is more concerned about establishing its brand than waving Nielsen numbers around.   That helped it get its second season renewal pretty quickly, but then the pressure will probably be applied a bit harder when it returns for next year.
Pros: Low Ratings Expectations, New Network
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

16 (17) Helix (Syfy) – It got the second season renewal, but that was far from a sure thing.  The fact that it fits in with Syfy’s move back to more science fiction oriented scripted programming probably helped it, and its ratings average was about the same as what Haven had in the Fall before it got renewed.  But I am thinking that Helix will have to build on its current numbers when it returns if it hopes to live beyond its second year.
Pros: Strong Early Buzz
Cons: Mediocre Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Medium

Likely to Get Renewed:

17 (n/a) Resurrection (ABC) – This one came out of the gate strong, but then cooled pretty quickly.  Still, it has ranked in the Top 10 based on its rating every week so far, which is quite an accomplishment.  It has to level off its decline, but at this point it looks to be okay if it doesn’t drop too much further.
Pros: Strong Debut Ratings, Relative Ratings
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Low

On the Bubble:

18 (15) Agents of SHIELD (ABC) – I should probably bump this one back up to Likely to be Renewed, but I haven’t seen enough yet to give me that warm and fuzzy feeling.  The preemptions and reruns sure aren’t helping it at this point, but if it keeps from dropping as the season winds down, then it should be okay.
Pros: Strong Early Ratings, Recognized Franchise, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Fluctuations, High Production Costs
Cancellation Alert: Moderate

cw_the_100_cancelled19 (n/a) The 100 (CBS) – With only two episodes, it’s hard to get a good feel for this one.  Its debut numbers were good for a CW show and the second episode drop-off was not too bad.  But it’s following almost the exact same trend as The Tomorrow People which I currently have as Likely to be Cancelled.  If The 100 drops much more, will The CW keep it around for another season when they have several strong pilots waiting in the wings?  I need to see the numbers for a couple more episodes to get a better gauge of its chances.
Pros: Decent Debut Ratings, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series
Cons: Ratings Declines in Season
Cancellation Alert: Moderate

20 (16) Hannibal (NBC) – It had a modest bow with its Seas0n 2 premiere, but dropped to pretty low numbers after that. However, apparently the financing for this one makes it cheaper for NBC and the show has strong name recognition. Too many variables make it hard to predict this one so I’m keeping it On the Bubble and at a Moderate Cancellation Alert and will probably not touch it until the final word comes in at the end of the season (or later).
Pros: Recognized Franchise, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Moderate

21 (18) Almost Human (FOX) – FOX should renew this one seeing as they are struggling with all of their scripted shows during the second half of the season.  Almost Human had decent early numbers and showed some momentum in January before it got booted multiple times for any of a number of reasons.  Their scheduling hurdles hurt it more than anything else and its ratings were no worse than where The Following is now and that one got renewed.  But will FOX’s network execs see it that way?
Pros: Good Early Start, Ratings Surges, Relative Ratings
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Poor Ratings, Poor Scheduling
Cancellation Alert: Medium

Likely to Get Cancelled:

22 (19) Revolution (NBC) – Things are looking grimmer and grimmer for this show.  Upcoming episodes are getting pulled for repeats of other shows, and that’s never a good sign.  It definitely has a devoted fanbase, but will that be enough? (I have written an open letter to the network suggesting that they reach out to those fans to find a way to keep the series alive.)  One thing is for certain, if Revolution gets cancelled then NBC will have a war on its hands.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

nbc-believe-cancelled23 (n/a) Believe (NBC) – When this series debuted in the post-Voice timeslot, its numbers looked quite good.  But then it moved to its regular Sunday 9 PM EST hour (where it has to compete with ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead as well as ABC’s Resurrection) and its numbers plummeted.  There was still a slight bit of hope after that first Sunday because the show did better than anything else NBC has had in the timeslot in a while.  But then it dropped close to the point of no return with its third episode.  Will the pedigree of J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón alone be enough to keep it alive?  I wouldn’t believe in it at this point.
Pros: Decent Debut Ratings, All Star Production Team
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

24 (25) Dracula (NBC) – This one is getting boosted up above a few other shows and I’m dropping its Cancellation Alert to Elevated based on the numbers we have seen thus far from Hannibal‘s second season.  Dracula‘s  numbers were no worse than that series in the same timeslot and it is an international production as well that comes at a cheaper cost to NBC.  The network may look at shows like this as decent enough filler for a difficult late week timeslot meaning this one may have still have a chance at a second season.
Pros: Good Debut Ratings
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

25 (20) Intelligence (CBS) – This series started to show a little bit of life after its initial ratings drop, but then fell off again.  And the fact that it was left out of the mass renewal announcements from its network a few weeks ago seems somewhat telling.  It deserves a chance, but I don’t believe that genre-averse CBS will give it one.  Maybe these characters could crossover to Person of Interest in that show’s upcoming fourth season?
Pros: Good Debut Ratings
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season, Sci Fi Averse Network
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

26 (21) The Tomorrow People (CW) – As expected, this show’s numbers dropped even further with its move to Monday.  Why would the CW keep it going when it has strong pilots in development such as Flash, iZombie, and the Supernatural spin-off?  Consider its Monday night move to be a burn-off run as it heads to sure cancellation.
Pros: Fifth Place Network Series
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Mediocre Ratings
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

27 (22) Star-Crossed (CW) – This show seemed to be arriving essentially DOA since The CW scheduled it on Mondays which have been a disaster for that network of late. I’ve seen no indication that they might give it a shot in another timeslot so it’s almost certainly a goner at this point.
Cons: Poor Ratings
Cancellation Alert: High

28 (23) The Neighbors (ABC) – Its ratings average has come up slightly since its mid-season return. And its timeslot is a tough one to draw viewers to anyway. Could ABC keep it running just to fill in a slot on the schedule on a low viewership night?  Don’t count on it.
Pros: Low Ratings Expectations
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: High

29 (24) Beauty and the Beast (CW) – This one returns in May to finish out its second season episodes, but consider that basically its burn-off run.
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: High

Cancelled:

x (30) Once Upon A Time in Wonderland (ABC) – This one’s cancellation seemed almost a sure thing from the point that ABC scheduled it in the Thursday 8 PM EST hour which has been a deathslot for them for several years.  On a positive note, it will likely get tacked on to Once Upon A Time‘s eventual syndication run and its characters could crossover in upcoming seasons of the parent show.
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: High

X (15) Being Human (Syfy) – The cancellation for this one came as a surprise especially considering the fact that Syfy’s Haven was renewed after averaging lower numbers. Series star Sam Witwer claimed that the decision to end the show was for artistic reasons and this was always planned as the final season. But then when did television networks ever do anything for artistic reasons? Other factors were surely involved as well, but then it did produce more episodes that the BBC version that inspired it.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Low Production Costs
Cons: Cancelled, Mediocre Ratings
Status: Cancelled

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.

New shows that have aired one or less episodes: The 100 (CW, Debuts Mar 19th), Believe (NBC, Debuts Mar 10th), From Dusk Till Dawn (El Ray, Debuts Mar 11th), Penny Dreadful (Showtime, Debuts May 11th), Resurrection (ABC, Debuts Mar 9th)

Import shows not included in the rankings: Atlantis (UK, Airs on BBC America), Bitten (Canada, Airs on Syfy), Lost Girl (Canada, Airs on Syfy), Orphan Black (UK, Airs on BBC America)

Sci Fi TV in Comics:

Battlestar-Galactica-AnnualBattlestar Galactica Annual 2014

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