Sci Fi TV Power Rankings: The 100, Haven, and Constantine Join Resurrection as Likely to be Cancelled

By | November 20, 2014


All of the Fall shows have debuted now except for late entries The Librarians (TNT) and Ascension (Syfy) which have their bows next month and I would have liked to have said that we have a clear picture of where all the current shows stand, but I can’t.  In the last set of Power Rankings, I had ABC’s Forever as Likely to be Cancelled, but then it received a full season pickup.  It still could ultimately get cancelled, but that pickup suggests that ABC was paying attention to the DVR numbers, so perhaps those stats need to be factored in going forward.  I am now mentioning in the Pros section the shows that have been posting strong DVR viewing.  Note that this is only for the broadcast networks as I do not consistently see the DVR numbers for cable shows.  And I can’t say for sure how much of a factor this is because I don’t know for certain that is what resulted in Forever‘s full season pickup.  But the networks did claim that would pay more attention to that this year and we appear to be seeing signs of that, so I am including it for now.

I did think that by this point of the season I would have moved more shows out of the new and rather neutral category I added this year: Renewal Possible.  But I still have four shows there (the titles have shifted, though) because I don’t quite feel comfortable enough to move them up or down at this point.  And for this set of rankings, I have four shows as Likely to be Cancelled, but I’m not as firm on them as I have been in the past and you will notice that I have them all at a Medium Cancellation Alert instead of a typically higher level for that category.  With the ratings struggles for all the networks and the increased attention on viewing from DVRs and other platforms, these shows may still have a chance.  Prime Time television is definitely in a state of flux at the moment, and that makes my job more difficult when it comes to predictions.  But never mind the belly-aching and let’s move on to the rankings.

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 The Almighty Johnsons or BBC America’s Atlantis which are not as heavily (or not at all) 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:

the-walking-dead-s51 (1) The Walking Dead (AMC) – So far this year, this shows numbers are even higher than its record setting fourth season.  It has to come back down to Earth at some point, but apparently not anytime soon.  Expect it to go out on its own terms rather than ever face cancellation.
StD Rating: 7.5 | 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

3 (3) American Horror Story (FX) – This season started strong but has since tappered off.  But it is still doing well for a basic cable series and regularly beats much of the competition on the broadcast nets. I expect it to remain a mainstay on these charts for a few more years.
StD Rating: 2.3 | 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: n/a | Prior Season Rating: n/a | Curr Season Target: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed
Pros: Renewed, Recognized Franchise, Good Debut Ratings

z-nation-cancelled6 (6) 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 (7) 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 (do I see a Birds of Prey revival on the horizon?).  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.  Assuming of course that the struggling CW is still in business then.
StD Rating: 1.0 | Prior Season Rating: 0.9 | Curr Season Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Third Season Series

8 (8) 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, Good DVR Gains

9 (9) 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: 0.9 | Prior Season Rating: 1.0 | Curr Season Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Consistent Performer, Good DVR Gains

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Likely to Get Renewed:

10 (10) 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, non-animated 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 severe ratings slump.
StD Rating: 2.8 | Prior Season Rating: 2.2 | Curr Season Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Top 25 Based on Ratings, Ratings Improvement Year over Year, Good DVR Gains

Gotham-FOX-Cancelled11 (11) Gotham (FOX) – The ratings for this show have not looked quite as good the last few weeks, but it is the highest rated, non-animated scripted series on the struggling FOX network.  It’s also pulling good delayed viewing numbers and getting decent buzz among fans and critics, so it looks safe for now.
StD Rating: 2.5 | 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,  Full Season Pickup, Good DVR Gains

12 (12) 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

13 (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 and that’s why I am leap-frogging this above several other shows.  Its relative numbers look good and it has seen decent delayed viewing gains, plus it is still generating some good buzz.  At this point, because it airs on FOX, I believe it is a good candidate for a third season.
StD Rating: 1.7 | Prior Season Rating: 2.6 | Curr Season Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings, Good DVR Gains
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year, Ratings Decline in Season

Renewal Possible:

vampire-diaries-cancelled14 (13) Vampire Diaries (CW) – This has definitely been this show’s weakest season yet ratings-wise, but it’s not at the disastrous levels 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, Good DVR Gains
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year, Ratings Decline in Season

15 (14) The Originals (CW) – It’s numbers may not look 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

16 (15) 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 (and actually fell out last week).  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 to pad out its syndication package.
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

17 (16) Grimm (NBC) – This show is at all-time lows, but it is still performing above my estimated target of a 1.2 ratings average in the 18-49 demographic based on the overnights.  If it can hold there, then I believe that NBC will keep it around because it plugs up that difficult Friday 8 PM EST timeslot.
StD Rating: 1.3 | Prior Season Rating: 1.4 | Curr Season Target: 1.2 | Cancellation Alert: Low
Pros: Relative Ratings, Good DVR Gains
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year, Ratings Decline in Season

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On the Bubble:

agents-of-shield-s2-cancelled18 (18) Agents of SHIELD (ABC) – This show’s ratings average is still down, but it is earning some good gains from delayed viewing and the fact that it is part of the multi-billion dollar Avengers franchise I’m sure help keeps it afloat.  I’m still keeping it On the Bubble, though, because I believe it needs to be performing better based on its high production costs. But if ABC decides not to bring it back for a third season, there is a chance that Netflix could take a flyer on it.
StD Rating: 1.7 | Prior Season Rating: 2.4 | Curr Season Target: 2.2 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Pros: Recognized Franchise, Good DVR Gains
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year, Decline in Season, High Production Costs

19 (19) 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 (24) Forever (ABC) – It got the full season pickup, but was that because of its delayed viewing gains or because ABC just considered it an inexpensive entry that can fill up a difficult hour until the end of the season.  I believe that it needs to get its overnight numbers up in order to get a second season renewal.  If not, then apparently forever will only be twenty two episodes.
StD Rating: 1.3 | Prior Season Rating: n/a | Curr Season Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Elevated
Pros: Decent Debut Ratings, Full Season Pickup, Good DVR Gains
Cons: Low Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season

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Likely to Get Cancelled:

haven-syfy-cancelled21 (22) Haven (Syfy) – This show has pulled all-time lows in its fifth season, currently averaging only a 0.2 rating in the 18-49 demo based on the overnights.  And moving it outside of traditional Prime Time hours can’t be a good sign.  Still, it appears that Syfy is going forward with the planned second half of the fifth season.  This may just be a burn-off run, though, and I have a hard time believing this show will see a sixth season.  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

22 (20) The 100 (CW) – This show definitely has a loyal fanbase as demonstrated by our Sci Fi TV Pulse polls, but it is currently The CW’s second lowest rated scripted series.  And the network has several shows waiting in the wings for mid-season such as iZombie and The Messengers, so I have a hard time seeing them sticking behind this one much further.
StD Rating: 0.5 | Prior Season Rating Avg: 0.6 | Curr Season Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Medium
Pros: Decent Debut Ratings, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series
Cons: Ratings Declines in Season

23 (23) Resurrection (ABC) – This show started out with decent numbers for its second season, but it has dropped fast and far.  And it hasn’t been seeing too much in the way of gains from delayed viewing.  ABC previously ordered one more episode beyond the second season’s original thirteen requested and I’m thinking they are targeting that as a series finale.
StD Rating: 1.6 | Prior Season Rating: 2.5 | Curr Season Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Medium
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season

24 (21) Constantine (NBC) – This series has now slipped below the 1.1 average that Dracula had in the same timeslot last season, and that show got cancelled.  Plus, Dracula was a cheaper entry for NBC because of financing from international partnerships.  It seemed like Constantine would have been a good pairing with Grimm on Fridays, but it also seemed that way for Dracula last year and didn’t work out.  Plus, that veteran series is at all-time lows as well, so Friday nights are turning back into a bit of a mess for NBC.
StD Rating: 1.0 | Prior Season Rating Avg: n/a | Curr Season Target: 1.2 | Cancellation Alert: Medium
Pros: Relative Ratings, Good DVR Gains
Cons: Ratings Declines 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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