Cancellation Watch: The Last Man on Earth Has a Decent Debut, and Has Generated Some Good Buzz to Start its Run

By | March 3, 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 27th thru Monday Mar 2nd (analysis and metric definitions below):

[Updated with Sunday and Monday final numbers]

Grimm NBC Fri 2/27 9 PM
Rating: Preempted | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.9 | StD Rating: 1.2 | Target: 1.2 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

Resumes new episodes March 20th

12 Monkeys Syfy Fri 2/27 9 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.7 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

No improvements for this show as it looks ever more doubtful that it will make it to a second season.

Helix Syfy Fri 2/27 10 PM
Rating: 0.1 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.5 | StD Rating: 0.2 | Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Elevated

This one continues to barely register in the ratings and is almost certainly headed to cancellation.

Once Upon A Time ABC Sun 3/1 8 PM
Rating: 2.2 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 6.7 | StD Rating: 2.5 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

A decent return for this show.  It’s not at its early Fall highs, but these are still pretty good numbers considering its two and a half month break.

The Walking Dead AMC Sun 3/1 9 PM
Rating: 7.5 | % Chng PW: 8.7% | Tot Viewers (MM): 14.4 | StD Rating: 7.4 | Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

This show jumped back up as it continues to hold at a record high season to date average.

The Last Man on Earth FOX Sun 3/1 9 PM
Rating: 2.4 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 5.8 | StD Rating: 2.4 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

A decent debut and it is generating a fair amount of buzz.  But it doesn’t have much leeway if the typical downward trend follows.  (More on this one below)

The Originals (R) CW Mon 3/2 8 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.7 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Target: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

Repeat. Resumes new episodes mid-March.

Gotham FOX Mon 3/2 8 PM
Rating: 2.0 | % Chng PW: -13.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 6.1 | StD Rating: 2.3 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

It slipped a bit from last week, but it’s still one of the better performing shows on currently struggling FOX.

Sleepy Hollow FOX Mon 3/2 9 PM
Rating: n/a | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 1.5 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Season ended, renewal in question.

last-man-on-earth-fox-cancelledSeries Premiere:  Fox’s new post-apocalyptic sitcom The Last Man on Earth debuted to decent numbers on Sunday as it pulled a 2.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic based on the overnights with 5.7 million total viewers for its back-to-back episode premiere.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call that a “strong” debut as media outlets like TV by the Numbers and Deadline Hollywood have, but the numbers aren’t bad for a sitcom and it was up directly against ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead (which had a particularly good night on Sunday).  Just as recently as two years ago, a 2.3 score for a show’s debut would be considered moderate at best, but in the current ratings environment that is looked at as a win, especially for FOX.  And with that network struggling–apart from its surprise mid-season hit Empire–it will take any positive ratings news that it can get.  In addition, the show is getting some good buzz from fans and critics and it generated plenty of activity on Twitter Sunday, ending up at Number 2 in the daily Nielsen Twitter Ratings for that night.  I didn’t have much confidence in this one when I was making my predictions for new shows back in January (largely because I did not feel like it was a good fit on broadcast network Prime Time), but it may prove me wrong.  Still, I question its sustainability and starting at a 2.3 rating doesn’t give it much leeway for slippage which generally occurs after a series debuts.  Then again, maybe it will follow Empire‘s counter-trend and see its numbers go up over the next few weeks, especially after all the early buzz surrounding the debut.  The next few weeks will be telling for this show, but for now it is definitely safe.

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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