Cancellation Watch: American Horror Story Returns Strong, Arrow Has Good Season 3 Debut

By | October 10, 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.

american-horror-story-freak-showSeries Premieres: FX’s American Horror Story continues to perform strong for its network as that show’s fourth season (subtitled Freak Show) debuted to a series high with a 3.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 6.1 million total viewers.  That was one tick higher than the 3.0 score the show had for its Season 3 debut last year and it improved on its total viewers by more than half a million.  Those numbers were good enough to make it the second highest rated broadcast on the cable and broadcast networks for Wednesday night, behind only Modern Family on ABC (which was only a thirty minute sitcom).  And while AHS has not quite achieved The Walking Dead or even Game of Thrones ratings levels, it has proven itself a force for the cable channels and one of several shows that could help break the back of the old school broadcast nets.  Over on The CW, third season series Arrow bowed to decent numbers for the fifth place network as it pulled a 1.0 rating with 2.8 million total viewers.  That’s up from where the series ended last year (when The CW was in the midst of a ratings slump) and looks like a promising start for the show’s third year.

Change to Cancellation Watch Posting Days:  Starting next week, this column will shift to Tuesdays and Fridays for its regular posting days.  The Tuesday column will cover Friday through Monday shows (with late posts on the Monday cable entries) and the Friday column will cover the Tuesday through Thursday shows.  That will even out the shows I am covering in each post seeing as the sci fi / fantasy entries are currently weighted heavily to Sunday through Tuesday nights.

Following are the full ratings results (metric definitions below) for the Wednesday thru Thursday shows 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 how I make my Cancellation Alert assessments, check out the Cancelled Sci Fi FAQ.

Arrow CW Wed 10/8 8 PM
Rating: 1.0 | Tot Viewers: 2.8 | StD Rating: 1.0 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low

A good debut and this one is a third season series, so it is pretty much a lock for a fourth year (assuming The CW can remain viable that long).

Legends TNT Wed 10/8 9 PM
Rating: 0.3 | Tot Viewers: 1.1 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

The last of the Summer shows to wrap up, this one went out with very little fanfare even though it did improve its numbers slightly for its season finale.  Though likely not enough to convince TNT to renew it unless it has an international deal helping to keep it afloat.

American Horror Story FX Wed 10/8 10 PM
Rating: 3.1 | Tot Viewers: 6.1 | StD Rating: 3.1 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low

The broadcast nets would love to have these ratings on their score sheets.  But they never would have greenlit this rather edgy series unless the producers agreed to water it down.  Lesson learned that they probably haven’t learned.

Vampire Diaries CW Thu 10/9 8 PM
Rating: 0.7 | Tot Viewers: 1.7 | StD Rating: 0.8 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low

(Numbers based on the preliminaries) This one dropped from its less than spectacular debut numbers and The CW may be losing its hold on Thursdays now (with non-genre entry Reign performing even worse in the lead-out timeslot).  Vampire Diaries is still not in danger of cancellation, though.

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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