Cancellation Watch: The Strain Has Okay Premiere, The Leftovers May Be in Trouble

By | July 15, 2014

Unless otherwise noted, the ratings numbers below are based on the final overnights and may vary slightly from the preliminaries reported on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site.

Ratings results for the sci fi / fantasy shows airing Sunday 7/13 and Monday 7/14:

The-Strain-FX-CancelledSeries Premiere:  FX’s The Strain–based on the trilogy of books written by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan–had its series debut on Sunday and pulled okay, if unspectacular, numbers.  The show bowed with a 1.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic and three million total viewers.  That’s decent for a basic cable show, but its on the lower end of what American Horror Story–also an FX entry–saw in its first season and considerably lower than the 2.2 score that AHS averaged this past Fall.  And The Strain looks like a fairly pricey show, so I’m sure that the FX execs would have preferred higher numbers.  Maybe it would have done better if it wasn’t airing on genre-crowded Sundays (though TNT’s Falling Skies and HBO’s The Leftovers both lagged behind it in the 10 PM EST hour).  There’s also a distinct possibility that audiences have grown tired of vampire stories, even if this one does provide a science-based twist on those mythical creatures.  In any case, these numbers should be good enough to keep the series afloat if they do not sink too much.  I’m thinking that if The Strain stays at or above a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demo then it should be good for a second season nod.  Keep an eye on how it tracks in the coming weeks, though.

On the Hot Seat?  In the same hour as The Strain, HBO’s new series The Leftovers could only pull a 0.7 score for a second week in a row, and that has me wondering if it may be in trouble.  True, it’s only one tick behind TNT’s Falling Skies which also shares the same timeslot, but then that one is definitely under-performing this season.  And when you compare the 0.7 score that The Leftovers had to True Blood‘s 1.7 in the prior hour, that means that HBO is losing 59% of the vampire soap’s audience.  That has to sting and it makes me wonder if that network’s execs may put The Leftovers on a short leash.  Of course, the pay channels don’t put as much importance on the overnight ratings as the broadcast or basic cable channels do.  But the numbers do mean something and they do indicate that the series has not built up a sizable audience early in its run.  I’m going to move the show to a Cancellation Alert status of Moderate, but consider it just right on the edge between Moderate and Low at this point.  It can’t afford to sink much lower, though.

Following are the full ratings results* from the last two days with my comments and keep an eye on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for the latest numbers and any breaking news.

True Blood 7/13 HBO Sun 9 PM
Rating: 1.7 | Tot Viewers: 3.2 | StD Rating: 1.8 | Target: 1.5 | Cancellation Alert: Final Season

Looks like this one will hold steady at this level as it wraps up its seven year run.  Expect a boost to its numbers as it gets to the series finale.

Witches of East End 7/13 LIFE Sun 9 PM
Rating: 0.6 | Tot Viewers: 1.5 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Target: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Low

An improvement from last week and decent enough numbers for Lifetime considering the competition in the Sunday 9 PM EST hour.

The Last Ship 7/13 TNT Sun 9 PM
Rating: 1.0 | Tot Viewers: 4.6 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It held steady with last week, but this has to be an expensive show (explosions cost money) so TNT execs are certainly hoping it trends up.

The Leftovers 7/13 HBO Sun 10 PM
Rating: 0.7 | Tot Viewers: 1.4 | StD Rating: 0.7 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Well, would you really expect a large audience to tune into a show where the main characters spend most of the time brooding over the fact that they were left out of the Rapture (or whatever took all those people)?

The Strain 7/13 FX Sun 10 PM
Rating: 1.2 | Tot Viewers: 3.0 | StD Rating: 1.2 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low

An okay debut, but can it hold onto those numbers?  It can’t afford to sink too much.

Falling Skies 7/13 TNT Sun 10 PM
Rating: 0.8 | Tot Viewers: 2.8 | StD Rating: 0.9 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low

That 0.8 score from Sunday is almost half a ratings point below its average from last Summer.  If this one sinks any lower then I’m raising the Cancellation Alert.

Under The Dome 7/14 CBS Mon 10 PM
Rating: 1.9 | Tot Viewers: 7.6 | StD Rating: 1.9 | Target: 1.6 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It improved from last week and its numbers are still good in relation to the other Summer shows airing on the broadcast numbers.  The ratings attrition has definitely had its impact.

Teen Wolf 7/14 MTV Mon 10 PM
Rating: 0.8 | Tot Viewers: 1.7 | StD Rating: 0.8 | Target: 0.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

A slight improvement from last week and still good numbers for MTV.

*Metric Definitions:

Rating: Overnight rating in the 18-49 demographic for same day viewing based on the final numbers unless otherwise noted

Tot Viewers: Estimated total viewers to tune in to the episode for same day viewing

StD Rating: Season to date average for the rating metric tracked above.

Target: The estimated average rating that the show needs to sustain to get renewed.

Cancellation Alert: My prediction of the likelihood that a show will get cancelled. From least to most likely the statuses are Low, Moderate, Medium, Elevated, and High.

Ratings Source: TV by the Numbers and The Futon Critic

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


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