Cancellation Watch: The Walking Dead’s Ratings Drop by 22%, Is It Time to Panic? It Is for 12 Monkeys and Helix

By | February 18, 2015

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 Friday Feb 13th thru Monday Feb 16th (analysis and metric definitions below):

Constantine NBC Fri 2/13 8 PM
Rating: 0.8 | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.1 | StD Rating: 0.9 | Target: 1.1 | Cancellation Alert: High

(Numbers based on the Preliminaries) This show went out on a low note and it is almost certainly done on NBC, but there’s still a chance it could move to another venue.

Grimm NBC Fri 2/13 9 PM
Rating: 1.1 | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.7 | StD Rating: 1.2 | Target: 1.2 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

(Numbers based on the Preliminaries) The ratings slump is taking its toll on this show.  How low can it go?

12 Monkeys Syfy Fri 2/13 9 PM
Rating: 0.2 | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.7 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

Syfy’s return to science fiction sure isn’t going well ratings-wise.  And this has been one of the network’s better shows quality-wise with this new direction. (More on this one below)

Helix Syfy Fri 2/13 10 PM
Rating: 0.1 | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.4 | StD Rating: 0.2 | Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Elevated

How much further can this show sink?  Is it possible to get a negative ratings number? (More on this one below)

Once Upon A Time ABC Sun 2/15 8 PM
Rating: On Hiatus | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 2.6 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

On hiatus until March 1st.

The Walking Dead AMC Sun 2/15 9 PM
Rating: 6.2 | Tot Viewers (MM): 12.3 | StD Rating: 7.4 | Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

That’s a pretty big drop from last week’s 8.0 score.  But with the levels this show is at, it can weather a hit like that and not worry. (More on this one below)

The Originals CW Mon 2/16 8 PM
Rating: 0.6 | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.4 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Target: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

(Numbers based on the Preliminaries) This show is back up a tick from last week’s low and I expected to to hold around this level through the rest of the season.

Gotham FOX Mon 2/16 8 PM
Rating: 2.1 | Tot Viewers (MM): 6.2 | StD Rating: 2.3 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

(Numbers based on the Preliminaries) Finally the ratings decline stops for this show.  Can it improve by a few more ticks, or is this as good as it gets amidst the overall slump across the broadcast networks?

Sleepy Hollow FOX Mon 2/16 9 PM
Rating: 1.4 | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.5 | StD Rating: 1.6 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

(Numbers based on the Preliminaries) It was up from last week’s low, but it needs to do even better with next week’s season finale to help its cause.

walking-dead-season-5-artRatings Results:  On Sunday, The Walking Dead saw its numbers slip to a season low of a 6.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 12.3 million total viewers which represents a 22.5% drop from the 8.0 score the show had for its mid-season debut.  A 22.5% drop?!?!  Does that mean the death spiral has set in for this show?  This former ratings juggernaut is now on the verge of collapse and IT COULD POSSIBLY FACE CANCELLATION BY THE END OF THE SEASON?!?!?!

No.  Nothing to worry about here.  It saw a similar slide last year after its mid-season premiere as it went from an 8.2 score to a 6.8, a 17.1% drop.  And even at the 6.2 rating TWD had on Sunday, it easily beat every other scripted show on television.  It did have some pretty stiff competition from the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary special which pulled a whopping 7.8 rating for the night (with those numbers, expect NBC to get SNL Anniversary: The Series on its schedule pretty quickly).  But then it faced some tough competition from NFL football during the Fall and never withered.   I do think it is possible that TWD has finally hit its ceiling and may not set any further ratings records for the rest of its run.  But that doesn’t put it in any danger, especially considering that its current season average of a 7.4 score based on the overnights for the 18-49 demo has it at an all-time high.  This show is performing well enough that a 22% drop is just a blip, and that still has it in the stratosphere compared to most of the broadcast network programming, so no need to fret over it.

On the Hot Seat:  On the other end of the spectrum from The Walking Dead are Syfy’s Friday shows 12 Monkeys and Helix.  The former series pulled only a 0.2 rating in the 18-49 demo with 664k total viewers last week while the latter barely registered at a 0.1 score with 443k total viewers.  In comparison, the 0.2 that 12 Monkeys had was only three one hundredths of TWD‘s season low score.  Syfy surely isn’t making any waves with these shows and both seem almost certainly doomed at this point.  There is a chance still for 12 Monkeys if the network feels strong enough about it and believes it fits in well with their shift back to more science fiction oriented programming.  But I believe it needs to get its numbers up to finish out the season to have any hopes for a renewal.  Helix has seen its numbers drop steadily for a season and a half now and this past Friday had lower ratings than repeats of Spongebob, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Bubble Guppies (actually, so did 12 Monkeys).  If Helix could turn its numbers around to finish out its second season, maybe it would have a slight chance.  But I don’t see that happening and consider it almost certainly a goner at this point.  I’m raising the Cancellation Alert level on Helix to Elevated now and holding 12 Monkeys at Medium, but that one will go higher if its numbers do not improve.

Be sure keep an eye on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for the latest numbers and any breaking news throughout the week.  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.

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