Cancellation Watch/The Charts: Showtime’s Penny Dreadful Gets Renewed for a Second Season, Plus the Week’s Numbers

By | June 6, 2014

penny-dreadful-cancelledRenewal Announcement: This week, Showtime announced that their freshman horror series Penny Dreadful would be returning for a second season. That’s not too much of a surprise, though the pickup was definitely not a foregone conclusion like with Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. Penny Dreadful has had pretty miniscule numbers thus far in its first season, only averaging about a 0.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic based on the overnights. That’s quite a contrast from the current average of a 3.6 rating for Game of Thrones, but the premium cable channels do not put as much influence on those numbers (though they will wave them about if they are in their favor). Instead, they count the numbers for all of the broadcasts of a new episode across its first week including delayed viewing, and I would bet that they factor in internet viewing as well. The premium channels aren’t focused on selling advertising for these shows, but look at them as a means to attract subscribers to their service. Apparently Showtime felt this series was succeeding at that and gave it the greenlight for a second season. It makes it harder to gauge the likelihood that a show on these channels will get cancelled or renewed, but they also tend to be more patient and give new entries some time to build an audience. My guess is that Showtime will want to see Penny Dreadful’s numbers improve in its second season, but it is definitely safe for now and starting to get some good buzz across the fan community and with critics.

Ratings Results: It was another slow week as the Summer season has yet to kick into high gear (though it will be ramping up over the next few weeks), but a few shows still had some ratings to report. On Sunday, HBO’s Game of Thrones returned strong from its one week break with a 3.9 rating in the 18-49 demo with and 7.2 million total viewers. That show has two more episodes left in its current season and has been renewed for two more years. On Showtime, Penny Dreadful pulled another 0.3 rating with 730k total viewers which appears to be good enough to get it to s second season. On FOX, Cosmos pulled a 1.3 rating with 3.5 million total viewers. NBC’s cancelled Believe pulled a 0.9 rating with 4.2 million total viewers, but it goes MIA again this coming Sunday as the network will apparently burn off its remaining episodes when it has nothing better to air in the 9 PM EST timeslot for that night. On Monday, The CW’s Beauty and the Beast returned to the schedule to finish up its second season and it pulled a 0.4 rating with 1.1 million total viewers. Those are the best numbers that show has seen in a while–sad to say–and it’s especially notable considering it improved its numbers in a Summer timeslot (where viewership is typically down). Maybe its network will consider airing this show’s third season during the Summer next year. Syfy’s new talk show series The Wil Wheaton Project could only eke out a 0.1 rating with 320k total viewers on Tuesday night, which is a pretty low tally. I’m sure that one is a low cost entry, but with numbers like that will the network decide it is better off airing repeats of something else that might pull more viewers? And on Wednesday, The CW’s The 100 remained steady with a 0.6 rating and 1.6 million total viewers. That one has its season finale next week and returns in Fall for its second season.

The Charts: Game of Thrones was back on the air during the week of May 26th through June 1st and it landed in the Number 3 slot for cable shows based on total viewership, topped only by two of the NBC conference finals games. GoT also returned to the Nielsen Twitter Top 10 for that week at the Number 2 spot. FOX’s Cosmos made an appearance in the broadcast network Top 25 based on ratings for the week at the Number 23 spot. It snuck into that chart because most of the rest of the broadcast network schedule is dominated with repeats.

And Nielsen released their overall Top 10 Twitter rankings for the year which included no broadcast network genre shows, but four entries from the cable channels. Those are The Walking Dead (Number 2), Game of Thrones (Number 5), Teen Wolf (Number 6), American Horror Story (Number 7). MTV’s Teen Wolf averaged only a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo for the second half of its third season, but it regularly generated large amounts of Twitter activity and is considered a big hit for its network.

The ratings results will continue to be sparse over the next few with with not too many shows airing new eps at the moment.  But I will continue to post the numbers as I get them at the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter site and recap them here once per week.  And I have more special columns and analyses of this past season on the way, so keep an eye open for those.  And for a complete rundown of this past season’s shows go to the Cancellation Watch page.

Ratings Source: TV by the Numbers and The Futon Critic

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2014 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

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