Cancellation Watch: Gotham Has Strong Debut, Forever Bows Okay, Agents of SHIELD and Sleepy Hollow Return Down

By | September 24, 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 Friday 9/19 thru Tuesday 9/23:

Gotham-FOX-CancelledFall Premieres: The Fall season officially started this week and we have had five genre show premieres over the last few days.  On Monday, FOX’s Gotham got off to a strong start with a 3.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 8.2 million total viewers.  That counts as a hit for the premiere, but now we have to see if it was mostly from curious onlookers or if the audience will stay with the show.  Last season, ABC’s Agents of SHIELD had a superheroic debut which pulled a 4.7 rating from the overnights, but it saw its numbers quickly decline to the point that it flirted with bubble status by the end of the season (and into the current one, more on that below).  I’m thinking that Gotham has a good chance, though, and while its numbers may edge down to the mid 2’s in the coming weeks that should be good enough to keep it on the air these days.  That show’s lead-out series, Sleepy Hollow, didn’t do so well, though, as it could only muster a 2.0 rating with 5.5 million total viewers.  That’s down considerably from the 3.5 rating the show debuted with last year and also down from the 2.2 score it had for its Season 1 finale.  FOX’s The Following returned with similar numbers in this timeslot during the second half of last season and still got a renewal, so Sleepy Hollow may yet be okay.  I will have to see how FOX’s shows in general are doing to get a better idea on how SH stands, but for now I am leaving it at a Low Cancellation Alert.  Also on Monday, ABC’s Forever had its debut and pulled a 1.7 rating with 8.6 million total viewers.  Then on Tuesday it aired its second episode and pulled the same ratings score (based on the preliminaries) and 6.5 million total viewers.  If it can hold at that ratings level, it might be okay.  But then shows typically trend down after their premieres and it doesn’t have much leeway at this point.  We will have to see the numbers for the next few weeks to get a better feel for where it stands.

For the Tuesday night premieres, ABC’s Agents of SHIELD had its debut in its new 9 PM EST timeslot, but the hour shift did not help its numbers.  The show could only manage a 1.9 rating in the 18-49 demo (based on the preliminaries) with 5.6 million total viewers.  That’s some of the worst numbers that show as seen and it is seems like quite a long time now since that 4.7 rating the show hit with for its Season 1 debut.  Whereas for most of the broadcast net shows I am targeting a 2.0 average score as good enough to get them a renewal this season, I believe Agents of SHIELD needs to do better (around a 2.2 or higher) because of its high production costs, and its debut points to struggles ahead.  In addition, shows typically trend down after their debuts, so the SHIELD agents may need to reach into their bag of tricks to keep this one alive.  I’m not raising the Cancellation Alert level yet, but if there is no improvement next week then it goes up.  Also returning down is Person of Interest on CBS which had a 1.8 rating (based on the preliminaries) and 10.7 million total viewers for its Season 4 debut.  That’s not too bad on the rating (and right in line with the target I had for it) and its total viewers still look good which counts more for older-skewing CBS.  Also, Person of Interest has typically not trended down as much during the season, so it appears safe for now.

There are more debuts coming next week as the Fall season continues to ramp up (and you can see the full schedule at this link).  Following are the full ratings results* for the Friday through Tuesday with my comments. And keep an eye on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for the latest numbers and any breaking news.  For more information on where I get these numbers and make my Cancellation Alert assessments, check out the Cancelled Sci Fi FAQ.

Z Nation Syfy Fri 9/19 10 PM

Rating: 0.5 | Tot Viewers: 1.6 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Low

Based on how little Syfy likely pays for this show, that 0.5 rating almost counts it as a hit.

Outlander Starz Sat 9/20 9 PM
Rating: 0.3 | Tot Viewers: 1.6 | StD Rating: n/a | Target: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

This show’s ratings and total viewers continue to rise.  Starz has to be happy with its performance thus far.

Witches of East End LIFE Sun 9/21 9 PM
Rating: 0.5 | Tot Viewers: 1.2 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Low

Still holding in there despite increased competition from Fall premieres and Sunday night football.  It would seem like a third season would be a safe bet.

The Strain FX Sun 9/21 10 PM
Rating: 1.1 | Tot Viewers: 2.3 | StD Rating: 1.0 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

This series improved its numbers despite increased competition.  TNT’s smiling about renewing this one right now.

The Lottery LIFE Sun 9/21 10 PM
Rating: 0.2 | Tot Viewers: 0.6 | StD Rating: n/a | Target: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

This show continues to barely register with the Nielsens and will likely be done after its season finale on September 28th.

Gotham FOX Mon 9/22 8 PM
Rating: 3.2 | Tot Viewers: 8.2 | StD Rating: 3.2 | Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low

A great debut for this one.  Now if it can just hold on to those numbers unlike Agents of SHIELD did last year.

Sleepy Hollow FOX Mon 9/22 9 PM
Rating: 2.0 | Tot Viewers: 5.5 | StD Rating: 2.0 | Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low

That 2.0 rating is not a good place to start is second season.  Or is FOX in general just struggling that much?  The next few weeks will be key for this one.

Agents of SHIELD ABC Tue 9/23 9 PM

Rating: 1.9 | Tot Viewers: 5.6 | StD Rating: 1.9 | Target: 2.2 | Cancellation Alert: Low

If these numbers don’t move up quick, then Agent Coulson and his team will face the greatest television supervillain of them all: The Network Executioner.

Forever ABC Tue 9/23 10 PM
Rating: 1.7 | Tot Viewers: 6.5 | StD Rating: 1.7 | Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low

Are these good numbers?  Hard to tell for its network and timeslot.  But if it doesn’t drop too much, the show just might make it through the season.

Person of Interest CBS Tue 9/23 10 PM
Rating: 1.8 | Tot Viewers: 10.7 | StD Rating: 0.0 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It returns down from last season, but not by much.  And it’s still doing well in total viewers which had it in the Top 15 for that metric for most of last year.

*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 ShowBuzzDaily

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

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