Sci Fi TV Power Rankings: The 100 and Constantine Are On the Bubble, Resurrection Slips to Likely to Get Cancelled

By | November 3, 2014


the-100-cancelledWe are now a couple of months into the Fall season and the picture is starting to come into focus for at least a few shows.  The CW’s Arrow and Supernatural still look good for renewal and The Flash also looks like a sure thing as well.  But that network’s The 100 had a dubious Season 2 bow and looks to be in trouble at this point.  And taking a big fall is ABC’s Resurrection which slipped the furthest on the list since the last set of Power Rankings came out.  Plus, NBC’s Constantine enters the list toward the bottom and Forever still has a lock on the final spot.  And of course shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story are in the upper rungs of the list with their strong returns and quick renewals.  There are still plenty in the middle trying to hold on to their place on the Prime Time schedule and you can see how all the current shows fall out below.

Note that these rankings only look at shows currently airing or those that are returning at some point this season. New series that have aired one or less episodes will not make it into the rankings yet because I have to have some sort of a sampling to make a determination of their status. And import shows like Syfy’s Lost Girl and Bitten or BBC America’s Doctor Who 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 Fall 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) The Walking Dead (AMC) – This one got the sixth season renewal notice before its fifth season even began, but then that’s not a big surprise.  The show is a ratings juggernaut and looks to stay that way for a while.  Expect it to go out on its own terms rather than ever face cancellation.
StD Rating: 7.8 | Prior Season Rating: 6.8 | Curr Season Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings, Ratings Increase Year over Year, Strong Social Network Presence

2 (2) Game of Thrones (HBO) – While it’s not quite at The Walking Dead levels, this series set new highs in its fourth season (surpassing The Sopranos as HBO’s most watched series ever) and also regularly beat out most programming on the broadcast networks. It  looks  poised for an extended stay in the upper rungs of this list.
Prior Season Rating: 3.7 | Curr Season Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings, Ratings Increase Year over Year, Strong Social Network Presence

american-horror-story-freak-show3 (3) American Horror Story (FX) – This series has not reached TWD or GoT levels, but its numbers have grown each year and it set another ratings record with its fourth season debut (after which it received a quick fifth season renewal).  Even if it were to take an unexpected plunge in the ratings, its anthology format gives it the possibility to rebound each year.  I expect this one to remain a mainstay on these charts for a few more years.
StD Rating: 2.5 | Prior Season Rating: 2.2 | Curr Season Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings, Ratings Increase Year over Year, Strong Social Network Presence

4 (4) Teen Wolf (MTV) – I have this one here because I am assuming the first part of its fifth season will start airing in January like it did last year with the second half of its third.  And MTV should definitely plan on getting it on the early 2015 schedule because it had its best ratings performance during the Winter months followed by a drop-off in the Summer.  In any case, it continues to perform well for its network and likely has a few more seasons ahead of it.
Prior Season Rating Avg: 0.9 | Curr Season Target: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Ratings Increase Year over Year, Relative Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Drop in Summer 2014

5 (5) Star Wars: Rebels (Disney XD) – The renewal was never really in question for this one as it is more about keeping the franchise going and selling Star Wars products.  Consider it likely to stick around as long as Disney wants to keep cranking out episodes.
StD Rating: 0.6 | Prior Season Rating: n/a | Curr Season Target: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Pros: Renewed, Recognized Franchise, Good Debut Ratings

6 (9) Z Nation (Syfy) – The renewal for this show came as no surprise seeing as it is an inexpensive entry and has been pulling a decent ratings average for Syfy.  Now the question is whether it has the staying power to last past a second season.
StD Rating: 0.5 | Prior Season Rating: n/a | Curr Season Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Pros: Renewed, Good Early Ratings, Low Production Costs.

7 (6) Arrow (CW) – This is the one broadcast network series almost guaranteed to get a renewal this season.  For one, it’s a third season season series meaning that a fourth year will get it to the episode count that the syndication market prefers to see.  Also, it airs on the fifth place network which has been known to renew shows even with lagging ratings.  Plus, with The Flash joining The CW’s lineup, Arrow is anchoring a DC multi-series lineup on television that could bring more spin-offs.  Even a ratings collapse (unlikely) may not doom Arrow based on The CW’s renewal of Beauty and the Beast last season.  So you can bank on it still being on the schedule for the 2015-16 season.
StD Rating: 0.9 | Prior Season Rating: 0.9 | Curr Season Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Third Season Series

8 (n/a) The Flash (CW) – This show has delivered some of the highest ratings that The CW has seen in years and quickly received a full season pickup.  Its numbers have slipped since its season premiere, but it is still the highest rated show on its network and looks like it will be racing into a second season.
StD Rating: 1.6 | Prior Season Rating: n/a | Curr Season Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Full Season Pickup

9 (7) Supernatural (CW) – This show returned for its tenth season with good numbers for The CW and looks to deliver another solid season ratings-wise.  I guess this one will keep going as long as the show’s creative team can continue to find new (or recycle old) stories for the Winchester brothers, and any decision to end the show will likely be a planned one.  And an eleventh season simply pads out the syndication package that much more and also gets it the record as the longest running sci fi / fantasy show in the U.S. (current record holders are Stargate: SG-1 and Smallville, both at ten seasons).
StD Rating: 1.0 | Prior Season Rating: 1.0 | Curr Season Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Consistent Performer

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Likely to Get Renewed:

once-upon-a-time-s410 (8) Once Upon A Time (ABC) – Those two year high ratings this show saw at the beginning of the season have tapered off (and were partially inflated by that Nielsen glitch), but it is still doing well enough for ABC and is the top rated scripted show on the broadcast nets on Sundays.  It still looks good to coast into a fifth season as long as it doesn’t hit a ratings slump.
StD Rating: 3.0 | Prior Season Rating: 2.2 | Curr Season Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Top 25 Based on Ratings, Ratings Improvement Year over Year

11 (10) Gotham (FOX) – As expected, the ratings for this show have dropped off from its premiere, but they are still quite good for FOX these days.  It looks like it is starting to level off, so if it can keep from dropping much further then it should be looking good for a second season nod.
StD Rating: 2.6 | Prior Season Rating Avg: 2.0 | Curr Season Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Strong Early Ratings, Recognized Franchise, Top 25 Based on Ratings

12 (13) From Dusk Till Dawn (El Rey) – It didn’t make a dent in the cable ratings during its first season, but it was on a new network that was more concerned about establishing its brand than waving Nielsen numbers around. This season they may expect better ratings, but I am guessing that El Rey will show some patience and prop it up for a third season run.
Prior Season Rating Avg: 0.2 | Curr Season Target: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Low Ratings Expectations, New Network

Renewal Possible:

13 (14) Vampire Diaries (CW) – This has definitely been this show’s worst season yet ratings-wise, but they aren’t at the disastrous level yet.  At this point I’m thinking it is looking at a shortened seventh season to wrap up all its storylines because that’s the way The CW usually rolls.
StD Rating: 0.8 | Prior Season Rating: 1.0 | Curr Season Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year, Ratings Decline in Season

the-originals-cancelled14 (15) The Originals (CW) – It’s numbers haven’t been great this season, but it’s definitely pulling more viewers to Monday nights than The CW has seen in a while.  I think it is in good shape at this point.
StD Rating: 0.7 | Prior Season Rating: 0.9 | Curr Season Target: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series

15 (11) Person of Interest (CBS) – This show is at it lowest ratings levels in four years and it’s down to the bottom rungs of the Top 25 based on total viewers.  Still, CBS tends to keep veteran shows like this around if they sufficiently plug up a 10 PM EST hour timeslot across the week.  I’m thinking if it can hold where it is now, then it should get a fifth season nod.
StD Rating: 1.6 | Prior Season Rating: 2.0 | Curr Season Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: High Total Viewership, Top 25 Based on Viewership
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year

16 (12) Grimm (NBC) – Its Season 4 debut numbers weren’t great and it took a big drop with its second episode of the year.  But that may have been a Halloween trick, so I want to see if it rebounds over the next few episodes.  And I don’t believe NBC will demand too much from the fourth season show if they think it is sufficiently plugging up its hour on low viewership Fridays and padding out its syndication package.
StD Rating: 1.3 | Prior Season Rating: 1.4 | Curr Season Target: 1.2 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year, Ratings Decline in Season

17 (17) Sleepy Hollow (FOX) – This show’s numbers are definitely down in its second season, but FOX in general has been struggling since last season.  Based on the relative numbers, it looks okay for now.  And The Following received a renewal last season after posting similar ratings. Sleepy Hollow has definitely generated some good buzz thus far this season, so it still may get a shot at another year.
StD Rating: 1.8 | Prior Season Rating: 2.6 | Curr Season Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season

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On the Bubble:

18 (16) Agents of SHIELD (ABC) – This show has seen some slight improvements the last week or so, but its numbers are still pretty low.  If it survives, it’s because Disney is pulling for due to its connection to the the Avengers franchise.  If not, there’s a chance the Netflix could take a flyer on it.
StD Rating: 1.8 | Prior Season Rating: 2.4 | Curr Season Target: 2.2 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Pros: Recognized Franchise
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year, Decline in Season, High Production Costs

19 (20) Helix (Syfy, Returning for a 2nd Season) – It got the second season renewal last year, but that was far from a sure thing. The fact that it fits in with Syfy’s move back to more science fiction oriented scripted programming probably helped it, and its ratings average was about the same as what Haven had in the Fall before that one got renewed. But I am thinking that Helix will have to build on its current numbers when it returns if it hopes to live beyond its second year.
Prior Season Rating Avg: 0.4 | Curr Season Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Pros: Strong Early Buzz
Cons: Mediocre Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season

20 (19) The 100 (CW) – It got the renewal nod last season despite pretty tepid numbers, but it did not improve upon its Season 2 return.  Fan engagement is high as demonstrated by our Sci Fi TV Pulse polls, and that might be a factor for the fifth place network.  But then they have several shows waiting in the wings for mid-season, so does The CW keep this struggling series going if it thinks it might have a better chance with one of those?
StD Rating: 0.5 | Prior Season Rating Avg: 0.6 | Curr Season Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Pros: Decent Debut Ratings, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series
Cons: Ratings Declines in Season

constantine-nbc-cancelled21 (n/a) Constantine (NBC) – The debut numbers for this show were not bad, but not great either.  But for its second episode it dropped to below the level that Dracula averaged last year and that one got cancelled.  And Dracula was a less expensive series for NBC because of international partnerships.  Maybe Constantine gets a mulligan for last week because it was Halloween, but if those numbers don’t come back up right away then this one moves to Likely to Get Cancelled.
StD Rating: 1.2 | Prior Season Rating Avg: n/a | Curr Season Target: 1.2 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Pros: Relative Ratings
Cons: Ratings Declines in Season

22 (21) Haven (Syfy) – This show has pulled all-time lows in its fifth season, dropping as low as a 0.2 rating in the 18-49 demo based on the overnights.  The Thursday night scheduling may have been a factor, but Syfy did it no favors by then shifting it to 7 PM EST on Fridays, outside of the traditional Prime Time hours.  I’m not sure if this amounts to a burn-off run and the second half of its planned 26 episode fifth season may be in doubt at this point.  It has shown a high degree of fan engagement as demonstrated by our Sci Fi TV Pulse polls, so maybe that will help it some.
StD Rating: 0.2 | Prior Season Rating: 0.4 | Curr Season Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Medium
Pros: Low Production Costs, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Low Ratings, Ratings Decline Year over Year

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Likely to Get Cancelled:

23 (16) Resurrection (ABC) – This show started out with decent numbers for its second season, but it has dropped fast and far.  Feel free to insert your own snide remarks about how it can’t look forward to a resurrection based on its current numbers . . .
StD Rating: 1.7 | Prior Season Rating: 2.5 | Curr Season Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Elevated
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season

24 (22) Forever (ABC) – This Freshman series debuted with decent, if not spectacular, ratings for its timeslot. But those dropped quickly and now it finds itself in trouble. At this point it looks likely that Forever will air out its initial thirteen episode order than fade into TV obscurity.
StD Rating: 1.3 | Prior Season Rating: n/a | Curr Season Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Elevated
Pros: Decent Debut Ratings
Cons: Low Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season

Unrankable:

Both of these shows were renewed last year despite a ratings performance that would have led to the cancellation of most other series (in fact, Hannibal pulled lower numbers than Dracula in the same timeslot yet the latter series was cancelled).  So other factors are apparently driving their fates and I will elect to pass on making any predictions on their renewal/cancellation prospects.

Hannibal (NBC, Returning for a 3rd Season) – It appears that NBC has made a long-term deal with this show’s studio and its international production arrangement means that it comes to the network at a lower cost. It sufficiently plugs up the difficult late Friday timeslot and the show has plenty of good buzz from the critics, so maybe it will coast through that seven year run that showrunner Bryan Fuller envisions.
Prior Season Rating Avg: 0.9 | Curr Season Target: n/a | Cancellation Alert: No Guess
Pros: Recognized Franchise, Strong Social Network Presence, Good Buzz from Critics
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season

Beauty and the Beast (CW, Returning for a 3rd Season) – Is its international audience really that good? Is it the CBS/WB balance of shows theory that the TV by the Numbers guys have theorized? Or do the execs at The CW just not give a damn and want to thumb their noses at the old-school model of renewing and cancelling television shows (if so, you have to give them props for that at least). All I know is that fans of The Tomorrow People, Star-Crossed, The Secret Circle, Cult, and other cancelled CW shows would like to have words with those network executives.
Prior Season Rating Avg: 0.3 | Curr Season Target: n/a | Cancellation Alert: No Guess
Pros: Recognized Franchise? Good International Audience?
Cons: Abysmal Ratings

Last Season’s Sci Fi / Fantasy Shows on Blu-ray and DVD:

 

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