Cancellation Watch Preview: How Will the New Mid-Season Entries 12 Monkeys, Agent Carter, Galavant, iZombie and More Fare in the Ratings? UPDATED

By | January 14, 2015


This is an updated version of my previous preview post with my thoughts on how the new sci fi / fantasy mid-season entries will perform in the ratings (I covered the returning shows in the Fall Finale Power Rankings).  At that point, we were still waiting to see when several shows would be hitting the schedule and now we have heard on all but one that I know about (ABC’s The Whispers).  So I have added entries below for The CW’s iZombie and The Messengers as well as A&E’s The Returned.  If the next few weeks brings news about any more shows hitting the schedule, I will try to get entries added for them here as well (It’s still looking like NBC’s Heroes Reborn will be put off to next season).

The Cancellation Alert levels I give below from least to most likely to get cancelled are Low, Moderate, Medium, Elevated, and High.  Note that for predictions on new shows, I rarely go with the lowest or highest levels because it is usually too hard to make those assessments without actually having numbers to look at.  And in this case I resisted breaking that rule with any of the mid-season entries as I have in the past.  Also note that three of these shows–Agent Carter, Galavant, and Wayward Pines–are considered limited-run “event” series, but the networks always keep them open-ended in case ratings returns are favorable.  So I am making the assumption that any and all of these could continue if they pull decent numbers.  So on to the predictions and be sure to keep an eye on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for the latest numbers and my Cancellation Watch column for my analysis of those numbers.  (And you can see the full mid-season schedule with premiere/return dates at this link):

12-monkeys-syfy-cancelled12 Monkeys (Syfy, Airs Fridays 9 PM EST, Debuts Janary 16th) – This adaptation of the Terry Gilliam feature film is the second entry in Syfy’s new direction to focus more on science fiction oriented scripted programming, so there is a lot of anticipation around it (though the first one–Ascensiondidn’t do so well).  It won’t be as expensive as their upcoming space opera entries like The Expanse and Killjoys, so they are probably not expecting huge ratings returns from it.  If it can hold the line around Syfy’s typical 0.4/0.5 rating in the 18-49 demo based on the overnights, then it should be okay for that network.
Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Agent Carter (ABC, Airs Tuesdays 9 PM EST, Debuts January 6th) – This spin-off from the Captain America feature films seems to have piqued the interest of genre fans and developed some good early buzz.  And while it initially seemed like a good idea to have a timeslot timeshare with Agents of SHIELD in order to have new episodes airing in place of repeats, I’m wondering if the ratings struggles for AoS will carry over to Agent Carter.  I expect it to debut well because of the early anticipation, but whether it can hold onto its audience will determine if this one could return as either and ongoing or limited series next year.
Cancellation Alert: Medium

Galavant (ABC, Airs Sundays 8 PM EST, Debuts January 4th) – This fantasy musical comedy which will be timesharing with Once Upon A Time looks like great fun based on the promos.  The episodes are thirty minutes each and they will be doubling up for its four week run, so maybe it can get in and out before the ratings attrition sets in.  Its premiere will set the tone, if it does well with its bow then it has a chance, otherwise expect it to disappear into the cancelled TV wasteland.
Cancellation Alert: Medium

izombie-cw-cancellediZombie (CW, Airs Tuesdays 9 PM EST, Debuts March 17th) – This zombie dramedy (!?) based on the DC comic book series has already picked up some decent buzz going into its first season and it will be receiving  the plum Tuesday 9 PM EST timeslot with The CW’s biggest hit in years–The Flash–as its lead-in (Supernatural shifts to Wednesdays beginning March 18th).  With all that going for it plus the recent round of renewals by The CW, I was tempted to put this one at a Low Cancellation Alert level.  I’m staying conservative and keeping it at Moderate, but consider it borderline Low and the mid-season entry that I believe has the best chance for renewal.
Cancellation Alert: Moderate

The Last Man on Earth (FOX, Airs Sundays 9 PM EST, Debuts March 1st) – This is a comedy series from SNL‘s Will Forte about, well, the last man on Earth.  Unfortunately, though, sci fi and sitcoms have rarely been a good mix so this show has that working against it going into its first season.  And this also seems like somewhat of an odd premise for a broadcast network series.  Maybe this one will do okay with FOX’s venerable animated entries as its lead-in, but I’m not putting too much money on it surviving too long.
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

The Messengers (CW, Airs Fridays 9 PM EST, Debuts April 10th) – This show is getting a late season start (first knock against it) and a low-viewership hour on Fridays (strike two) and makes you wonder if The CW might not have high hopes for it.  The network seemed to do a similar move last year when they scheduled new and unproven Star-Crossed on Mondays at 8 PM EST, a consistently bad-performing hour before The Originals took up the slot.  Star-Crossed premiered to poor ratings and was subsequently cancelled and it seems The Messengers could be headed down that same path.  Still, after the blanket renewals the network made with its Fall shows (and the surprising renewal of Beauty and the Beast last season), anything could happen with The CW.  It seems like it might have made more sense to give The Messengers the Wednesday post-Arrow timeslot and move Supernatural to Fridays because that show’s fans will follow it to any night.  But we will see how this plays out with the knowledge that low ratings do not necessarily doom a show on The CW (and yes I know that fans of Star-Crossed, The Tomorrow People, and The Secret Circle will take issue with that statement).
Cancellation Alert: Medium

TheReturned_ae_cancelledThe Returned (A&E, Airs Mondays 10 PM EST, Debuts March 9th) – ABC’s Resurrection–which has a similar premise to this show–has not done well in its second season and is almost certainly headed to cancellation.  Perhaps A&E can do a better spin on the concept and their show is based on the well-regarded French TV series Les Revenants.  The ratings expectations for the network are not too high, so The Returned has a decent chance.
Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Wayward Pines (FOX, Airs Thursdays 9 PM EST, Debuts May 14th) – This Twin Peaks-like series comes from M. Night Shyamalan and is yet another of those limited run “event” series, which just means the network wants you to believe it is close-ended but they always leave them open for continuation.  It’s hard to tell if the May start means that FOX does not have much confidence in this show or if it believes Shyamalan’s name will bring in enough viewers to help this one perform well as a “bridge” series (filling the gap between the regular and Summer seasons).  It will be getting the jump on the Twin Peaks revival from Showtime (scheduled for late 2015/early 2016), so maybe it can benefit from some of the anticipation leading up to that.
Cancellation Alert: Medium

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