Cancellation Watch: USA’s Dig Has Okay Premiere, The Last Man on Earth Drops

By | March 10, 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 Thursday Mar 5th thru Monday Mar 9th (analysis and metric definitions below):

[Updated: Monday final number plus ratings for results for Helix]:

Vampire Diaries (R) CW Thu 3/5 8 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.7 | StD Rating: 0.7 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

Repeat.  Resumes new episodes March 12th.

Dig USA Thu 3/5 10 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.8 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low

An okay debut for this show, but after all the promotion I’m betting the USA expected better.  (More on this one below)

Grimm NBC Fri 3/6 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 3/6 9 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.8 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

This show actually improved by one tick on Friday.  If it can trend up as it wraps up its season then it may still have a chance.

Helix Syfy Fri 3/6 10 PM
Rating: 0.1 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.5 | StD Rating: 0.1 | Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Elevated

No change for this show as it continues to track toward likely cancellation.

Once Upon A Time ABC Sun 3/8 8 PM
Rating: 2.1 | % Chng PW: -4.5% | Tot Viewers (MM): 6.6 | StD Rating: 2.5 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It dropped slightly from last week, but is still doing well for ABC on Sundays.

The Walking Dead AMC Sun 3/8 9 PM
Rating: 7.3 | % Chng PW: -2.7% | Tot Viewers (MM): 14.5 | StD Rating: 7.4 | Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

It dropped a couple of ticks in its ratings point, but actually improved on total viewers.  And it also blew away almost everything else on television.

The Last Man on Earth FOX Sun 3/8 9 PM
Rating: 1.9 | % Chng PW: -20.8% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.4 | StD Rating: 2.2 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

Don’t panic over the drop from last week.  That is expected after a show’s premiere.  (More on this one below)

The Originals CW Mon 3/9 8 PM
Rating: 0.5 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.4 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Target: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

It slipped from its last new episode, but The CW has no one but themselves to blame.  They are running their late season repeats and people don’t know when new episodes will air (I thought this week was a repeat and indicated such in the last set of Prime Time Sci Fi TV listings).  The broadcast nets have to figure out a better way to space out their seasons.

Gotham (R) FOX Mon 3/9 8 PM
Rating: 0.7 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.5 | StD Rating: 2.3 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

Repeat.  Resumes new episodes April 13th.

dig-usa-cancelledSeries Premiere:  USA’s new conspiracy series Dig (from Heroes creator Tim Kring) premiered to okay but not spectacular numbers last Thursday night.  The first episode of that “limited-run event” series had a 0.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic based on the overnights with 1.8 million total viewers.  That’s not a terrible number for a basic cable series, but I believe that USA’s original entries have typically been seeing higher than that and I’m sure they would have preferred that it pull closer to a 1.0 rating in the demo for its premiere, especially considering the heavy promotion they put into the series.  That of course did not prevent them from spinning the numbers and including Live+3 viewing as well as total viewing (including encore timeslots and airings on sister networks) to make the premiere look like a big win.  But the advertisers are mostly focused on those overnights (and they’ll take the encore runs as well), so the Live+3 stats are mostly just padding.  I was tempted to put this one at a Moderate Cancellation Alert status based on its overnights, but I will keep it at Low for now.  If those numbers start trending down, though, that will rise.  And for those wondering why a Cancellation Alert status would apply to a “limited run” series, you obviously have not been paying attention to the network hi-jinks the last season or two.  They want you to believe that it is closed-ended and will resolve its storylines by season end, but they always build in a continuation plan and could still leave it hanging on a big cliffhanger.

Ratings Drop:  FOX’s new entry entry The Last Man on Earth saw a notable drop from its premiere as it slipped to a 1.9 rating in the 18-49 demo with 4.4 million total viewers for its second week.  That represents a 21% fall from its debut ratings, but it’s not reason to panic.  The numbers decline from a show’s premiere is pretty much to be expected and this show is still at a relatively decent level for a sitcom.  It’s ratings look similar to FOX’s animation entries that act as its lead-in and it only slipped by 14% from Family Guy which holds the half hour preceding it.  If it can remain in this range, then I believe the show will be safe, especially considering the good buzz it has been getting.  But if it continues to fall, that may change.  The next few weeks will be key, but I’m not too worried about this one just yet.

A&E’s The Returned had its debut last night and those numbers will be available later today or early tomorrow.  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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