Summer Sci Fi TV Power Rankings: Extant is On the Bubble, Dominion May Need Help from Its Social Net Followers to Survive

By | August 12, 2014

Not a lot has changed since the last set of Power Rankings, but there have been a few notable shifts.  Upon the news that FX’s The Strain should expect a renewal announcement any day, I have moved it into the Sure to Get Renewed category.  And because of its continued declining ratings, CBS’ Extant is now On the Bubble and at a Medium Cancellation Alert.  And Lifetime’s new series The Lottery enters the rankings On the Bubble seeing as it has barely registered in the ratings, making it into the Cable Top 100 for its night only once so far.  Starz’s new series Outlander is not in the rankings yet because it has only aired one episode.  But the early numbers suggest it is doing quite well for its network and can expect to enter the rankings as Likely to Get Renewed or better.  TNT’s new entry Legends debuts this week (Wednesday August 13th), so we will have to wait and see how the numbers shake out for that one.

Note that these rankings only look at shows currently airing, and new series that have aired one or less episodes will not make it into the list yet because I have to have some sort of a sampling to make a determination of their status.  And import shows like Syfy’s The Almighty Johnsons or the BBC America entries 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 Summer 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) Teen Wolf (MTV) – It’s ratings have slipped a bit from Season 3.5 which aired in early 2014, but it’s still doing well for its network and it also makes it into the Top 10 of the Nielsen Twitter Ratings each week. MTV should consider moving it to the regular season on a permanent basis, though, where it performed much better.
StD Rating: 0.7 | Target: 0.8 | Status: Renewed
Pros: Relative Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence, Renewed
Cons: Year Over Year Ratings Decline

the-last-ship-tnt-cancelled2 (2) The Last Ship (TNT) – It doesn’t count as a major hit for the Summer (despite how TNT’s PR department will try to spin it), but it has done decent enough and it network felt comfortable greenlighting it for a second season.
StD Rating: 1.1 | Target: 1.0 | Status: Renewed
Pros: Renewed, Strong Name Recognition for Producer, Good Total Viewer Numbers, Renewed
Cons: High Production Costs, Moderate Ratings

3 (3) Penny Dreadful (Showtime) – It barely registered in the ratings, but then that’s not as important to the pay channels. It started to develop some buzz as its first season progressed and maybe by next year that will translate into an increase in its audience.
StD Rating: 0.3 | Target: 0.4 | Status: Renewed
Pros: Renewed, Premium Cable Channel Series
Cons: Low Ratings

4 (5) The Strain (FX) – It hasn’t seen the numbers that American Horror Story–also an FX entry–has enjoyed, but it has done well enough with a season to date average of a 1.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic based on the overnights.  Word is that it has received the nod for a second season, though no official announcement yet.  Expect to hear that shortly.
StD Rating: 1.1 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Decent Premiere Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence

5 (4) Falling Skies (TNT) – This one has slipped considerably from its first three seasons and it’s certainly not a cheap show to produce. It got the fifth season nod, but that will be its last, so consider it a preemptive cancellation.
StD Rating: 0.8 | Target: 1.0 | Status: Renewed
Pros: Renewed
Cons: Year Over Year Ratings Decline

Likely to Get Renewed

witches-of-east-end-cancelled6 (6) Witches of East End (Lifetime) – Its numbers may seem low, but they are decent for Lifetime and the show is holding up pretty well in the face of timeslot competition from True Blood and The Last Ship. If it can stay at or above half a ratings point in the demo, then it should be good for a third season.
StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings
Cons: Mediocre Ratings

7 (7) Under the Dome (CBS) – Its numbers have dropped notably from its first season, but that can be attributed to the overall ratings attrition the broadcast networks have experienced this past year. It’s still making it into the Top 10/15 each week and may also benefit from the arrangement Amazon has with CBS concerning Extant (see below), so it’s probably okay for now.
StD Rating: 1.7 | Target: 1.6 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings, Top 10 Show, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Year Over Year Ratings Decline

On the Bubble

8 (9) The Leftovers (HBO) – It’s hard to gauge where this one stands because it is a premium cable show and their fates are not driven as closely by the overnight ratings. But it’s definitely nowhere in the range of True Blood or Game of Thrones numbers-wise and it’s below several of HBO’s other (non-genre) original shows. Of course it’s likely not as expensive a production as say The Last Ship (people brooding costs a lot less than explosions), so perhaps its numbers are okay. And according to General Sentiment it is doing well in the social networks, so consider it only marginally On the Bubble.
StD Rating: 0.8 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Pros: Premium Cable Channel Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Low Ratings

9 (10) Defiance (Syfy) – This show has dropped considerably from its first year and I’m sure Syfy is disappointed with the Season 2 numbers. The 0.4 average in the demo that got Helix and Haven renewed during the regular season will probably not be good enough for this more expensive entry. It has maintained a 0.5 average  in the demo, though, so if it can hold there it might be okay.
StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Cons: Year Over Year Ratings Decline, Mediocre Ratings

Dominion-syfy-cancelled10 (11) Dominion (Syfy) – This one wrapped up its first season after only eight episodes and it averaged a 0.5 rating in the demo just like Defiance.  That seems to be on the low side, but it did generate a fair amount of social network activity based on General Sentiment and what I have seen on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site.  If the fans can keep up the buzz now that it is off the air, maybe Syfy will see fit to greenlight a second season.
StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Pros: Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Moderate Debut Numbers, Mediocre Ratings

11 (8) Extant (CBS) – This one has fallen far considering the high expectations that greeted it when it debuted.  But Amazon is picking up part of the production costs in exchange for exclusive streaming rights (and they get to stream UtD as part of that deal as well), so that has to factor in somewhere.  But I’m thinking CBS will be reluctant to put this on their schedule again next Summer, so the show may have to hope that Amazon will step in as the primary backer to keep it going.
StD Rating: 1.3 | Target: 1.4 | Cancellation Alert: Medium
Pros: Exclusive Amazon Streaming Deal, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Moderate Debut in 18-49 Demo, Declining Ratings

12 (n/a) The Lottery (Lifetime) – This dystopian series hit Lifetime’s schedule with very little notice and has barely registered in the ratings since its debut (nor has it generated much buzz on the social networks).   I’m not certain if its network expected better, but it hasn’t even lived up to the moderate performance of lead-in series Witches of East End.  It may have to win the lottery to earn a second season.
StD Rating: n/a | Target: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Medium
Cons: Poor Debut in 18-49 Demo, Declining Ratings

Final Season

True Blood (HBO) – It’s numbers are down during its final year, but still pretty darn good for a pay channel. I expect those ratings to rise as it gets closer to the series finale, though.
StD Rating: 1.8 | Target: 1.5 | Status: Final Season

Yet to Premiere

Legends (TNT, August 13th)

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