Cancellation Watch: As More Preemptions and Repeats are on the Way, Forever’s Status is Looking Ever More Tenuous

By | February 20, 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 Tuesday Feb 17th thru Thursday Feb 19th (analysis and metric definitions below):

The Flash CW Tue 2/17 8 PM
Rating: 1.5 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.0 | StD Rating: 1.5 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

Another strong outing for this show as it and Arrow continue to defy the ratings slump.

Agents of SHIELD ABC Tue 2/17 9 PM
Rating: On Hiatus | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 1.7 | Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

On hiatus until March 3rd.

Agent Carter ABC Tue 2/17 8 PM
Rating: 1.4 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.1 | StD Rating: 1.5 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

It held steady with last week which is a bit of good news.  But I really question whether these numbers (or its delayed viewing gains) will be enough to get this one a second season.

Supernatural CW Tue 2/17 9 PM
Rating: 0.8 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.1 | StD Rating: 0.9 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

This show continues to hold in there with decent by not great numbers.  I’m thinking they should target its eleventh season as its last (or are they shooting for lucky 13?).

Forever ABC Tue 2/17 10 PM
Rating: Preempted | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 1.2 | Target: 1.6 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

ABC appears to be just plugging the schedule with this one, giving it no chance to build up any momentum.  This reminds me of what NBC did with Revolution last year and I am raising its Cancellation Alert level to Medium.  (More on this one below)

Person of Interest CBS Tue 2/17 10 PM
Rating: 1.6 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 9.2 | StD Rating: 1.6 | Target: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This show is back up to decent enough ratings in the 18-49 demo especially when you factor in its total viewership levels.  But now the momentum-killing schedule shenanigans start.  (More on that below)

Arrow CW Wed 2/18 8 PM
Rating: 1.2 | % Chng PW: +9.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.9 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

Like The Flash, this show is still holding strong for The CW.  Maybe next season they add two more DC shows to the schedule, giving them one each night as lead-ins for Monday through Thursday.

The 100 CW Wed 2/18 9 PM
Rating: 0.5 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.4 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

It’s still flying low and its last two episodes of the currently season will not have the Arrow lead-in (that one will be on break, more on that below).  I’m still seeing the possibility that The CW could announce next season as its last.

Vampire Diaries CW Thu 2/19 8 PM
Rating: 0.7 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.4 | StD Rating: 0.8 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

(Numbers based on the Preliminaries) Once the flagship show for The CW, this one is currently at all-time lows.  I see its final season not far on the horizon.

forever-abc-cancelledRatings Slump:  You may think that since the Winter hiatus has come and gone that new episodes for most of the broadcast network shows will run straight through without repeats or preemptions until the season wraps up in late April/early May.  Sorry, that’s not how the old school networks work.  You see, shows on the broadcast nets typically have a full season order of 22 episodes, but the regular season runs close to 34 weeks, so that leaves somewhere around twelve weeks with no new episodes available.  So as we get into the last few months of the season, the networks have to start stretching things out to make the episodes last, meaning preemptions and repeats.  Starting next week, most of The CW’s take an extended break until mid-March.  Arrow will wait one week before taking a break and The 100 will go straight through because it wraps up early on March 11th.  NBC’s Grimm is already on a break until March 20th.  After next week, CBS’ Person of Interest will take a two week break, air one new episode, then take another two week break.  ABC’s Forever looks like it has just become schedule fodder now as it gets random preemptions.  NBC did a similar thing with Revolution last year before cancelling it which has me concerned enough to raise Forever‘s Cancellation Alert level to Medium.  FOX’s Gotham is scheduled for a two week break after next week’s episode (Sleepy Hollow has its season finale then), and expect more preemptions/repeats from that one over the coming months.  ABC’s Once Upon A Time and Agents of SHIELD return to the schedule in March (that timesharing with Galavant and Agent Carter doesn’t look like it worked out too well), and they will run mostly straight through until season end.  But there’s no telling how that two and a half month break will affect their ratings.  Once Upon A Time was on a downward trend as it wrapped up in Fall while Agents of SHIELD was just starting to build some momentum.

And with the ratings slump already setting in, I’m expecting these scheduling shenanigans to make it worse over the next few months.  And the big drop hasn’t even hit yet as typically the ratings take a fall starting the week after we set the clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time. (Why?  People are outside later?  They forgot to change their clocks and missed the show start?  Insert your own explanation here.)   So with the numbers already down from last year, there’s no telling how low they will go by the end of the season.  And the repeats and preemptions definitely are not helping.  The broadcast networks could get away with that back when they were the big game in town, but these days people have too many other viewing options.  The old school networks need to re-think their strategy about how they program the regular season (or whether the regular season is really meaningful anymore) lest the upstart cable networks (which does not include slumping Syfy) and the streaming services send them the way of horse drawn carriages.

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

% Chng PW: The percentage change +/- for this week’s rating vs. last week’s rating.

Tot Viewers: Estimated total viewers (age 2+) 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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