Cancellation Watch: Syfy’s Ascension is a Failure to Launch in the Ratings

By | December 19, 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 Tuesday Dec 9th thru Thursday Dec 11th (analysis and metric definitions below):

The Flash CW Tue 12/16 8 PM
Rating: On Hiatus | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 1.5 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low

On hiatus until January 20th

Agents of SHIELD ABC Tue 12/16 9 PM
Rating: On Hiatus | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 1.7 | Target: 2.2 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

On hiatus until March 3rd

Supernatural CW Tue 12/16 9 PM
Rating: On Hiatus | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 0.9 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low

On hiatus until January 20th

Ascension Syfy Mon 12/15 9 PM
Rating: 0.4 | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.3 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

If the first night’s numbers were barely passable, the second night had to count as a flat out disappointment.  (More on this one below)

Forever ABC Tue 12/16 10 PM
Rating: On Hiatus | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 1.2 | Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

On hiatus until January 6th

Person of Interest CBS Tue 12/16 10 PM
Rating: 1.3 | Tot Viewers (MM): 8.9 | StD Rating: 1.6 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It matched its series low, but what do you expect after two weeks of repeats followed by a Fall finale that airs during a typically low viewership week?  It’s still doing okay based on its relative numbers, though.

Arrow CW Wed 12/17 8 PM
Rating: On Hiatus | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 1.0 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low

On hiatus until January 21st

The 100 CW Wed 12/17 9 PM
Rating: 0.5 | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.4 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

It slipped back to a 0.5 rating for its Fall finale, but considering it aired amidst almost all repeats for the week on The CW, that’s actually not that bad.  It’s hanging in there, but just barely.

Ascension Syfy Mon 12/15 9 PM
Rating: 0.5 | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.5 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

It improved slightly for its final night, but not enough to make much of a difference.  (More on this one below)

American Horror Story FX Wed 12/17 10 PM
Rating: 1.5 | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.0 | StD Rating: 2.0 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

It remained at a series low for its Fall finale.  But it’s still doing well for a basic cable series.

Vampire Diaries CW Thu 12/18 8 PM
Rating: On Hiatus | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.8 | StD Rating: 0.8 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Low

On hiatus until January 22nd

Ascension-Syfy-CancelledOn the Hot Seat:  Syfy’s much-hyped mini-series Ascension got off to an unspectacular start on Monday on this week (more on that at this link) and only saw its ratings slip from there.  For its second installment on Tuesday, it dropped down to a 0.4 rating with 1.3 million total viewers and its final night improved slightly to a 0.5 rating with 1.5 million total viewers.  Those actually aren’t bad numbers for Syfy where recent shows like Defiance, Dominion, and Helix have only averaged a 0.4 score based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic.  But after all the build-up and the claims that the network was going back to heavier science fiction programming, I’m sure they were hoping this one would pull somewhere in the 0.8 to 1.0 range.  It didn’t make that level and I didn’t hear Syfy try to put too much spin on the numbers past the first night, so I’m guessing they are not too thrilled with its performance.  Of course, it wasn’t the sfx-heavy production that I’m sure many expected (possibly part of the reason it didn’t attract too many viewers), so maybe averaging a 0.5 score would be enough to convince them to greenlight this to an ongoing series.  But after watching the mini-series (you can read my review at this link), I started to wonder if this might have actually been a still-born series.  If you noticed, they listed separate credits for two episodes each night, and I have to wonder if they went into this intending it as an ongoing series, but lost faith shortly into production.  That might explain that wtf cut-off at the end of night three and maybe Syfy just decided to market it as an “event” mini-series as a bait-and-switch for what was really just a burn-off run.  I haven’t heard anything to confirm that theory, but the show definitely did not live up to the hype nor did it pull anywhere near the Game of Thrones or Walking Dead numbers that the network is looking for (quoting Syfy’s president Dave Howe: “We clearly aspire to those numbers”).  I would have to say at this point that the chances for Ascension to continue into an ongoing series are slim at best.  I’m going to put it a a conservative Medium Cancellation Alert level (assuming the really applies in this case), because you never know what Syfy is going to do these days.  But my gut tells me that those hoping for a resolution to that final cliffhanger may have to start working on some fan fiction to deliver any sort of closure.

That pretty much wraps up the Fall 2014 season.  TNT’s The Librarians will be running without break through December (apparently they want it done before The Walking Dead resumes in February) and I will post those results at the  Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site  as they become available.  I will also be putting up a final Power Rankings post for Fall and and a ratings wrap-up as well, so keep an eye out for those.  You can see the status of all the currently airing sci fi / fantasy shows at the Cancellation Watch page. And for more information on where I get these numbers and how I make my Cancellation Alert assessments, check out the Cancelled Sci Fi FAQ.

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.

One thought on “Cancellation Watch: Syfy’s Ascension is a Failure to Launch in the Ratings

  1. Patricia Hampton

    One must point out that while The 100 slipped just a bit in the ratings, it was up against the big Survivor Season Finale on CBS. That show took nearly 10 million viewers out of pool.

    Reply

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