Cancellation Watch: iZombie Has an Okay Debut as The Flash and Arrow Drop. Is the Ratings Slump Catching Up to The CW?

By | March 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 Monday Mar 16th thru Thursday Mar 19th (analysis and metric definitions below):

Note: The Monday broadcast network shows were covered in the previous Cancellation Watch post.

The Returned A&E Mon 3/16 10 PM
Rating: 0.4 | % Chng PW: -33.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.1 | StD Rating: 0.8 | Target: 0.8 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

This one dropped to only half the ratings score of its Bates Motel lead-in for its second episode.  Unless it has some strong international financing backing it, I’m thinking its prospects look pretty grim at this point.

The Flash CW Tue 3/17 8 PM
Rating: 1.3 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.7 | StD Rating: 1.5 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

It matched its season low after returning from several weeks of repeats.  When will these networks ever learn? (More on this one below)

Agents of SHIELD ABC Tue 3/17 9 PM
Rating: 1.6 | % Chng PW: +6.7% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.3 | StD Rating: 1.7 | Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

It improved from last week.  An upward trend in the ratings as it wraps up its second season could help its cause.

iZombie CW Tue 3/17 9 PM
Rating: 0.8 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.3 | StD Rating: 0.8 | Target: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

It’s numbers were not bad for a CW show, but we know it will trend down after its debut.  How far will it go?  (More on this one below)

Forever (R) ABC Tue 3/17 10 PM
Rating: 0.4 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.8 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Target: 1.6 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

Repeat. Resumes new episodes next week.

Person of Interest (R) CBS Tue 3/17 10 PM
Rating: 0.5 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 5.8 | StD Rating: 1.6 | Target: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

Repeat.  It returns for a new episode next week followed by another repeat.  That’ll be good for its ratings . . .

Arrow CW Wed 3/18 8 PM
Rating: 0.9 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.6 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

This one returned from repeats at near a series low.  The ratings slump and poor scheduling are taking their toll.  (More on this one below)

Supernatural CW Wed 3/18 9 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.7 | StD Rating: 0.9 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

This one returned from repeats at the lowest numbers I remember seeing since it aired on Fridays.  Do we detect a trend here?  (More on this one below)

Vampire Diaries CW Thu 3/19 8 PM
Rating: 0.7 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.6 | StD Rating: 0.8 | Target: 0.9 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

(Numbers based on the Preliminaries)  It improved in its second week back on the air proving that if you keep it on with new episodes, people will watch.  (More on this one below)

izombie-cw-cancelledSeries Premiere:  The CW’s new entry iZombie debuted to decent numbers on Tuesday as it pulled a 0.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic based on the overnights with 2.3 million total views.  Those are not bad numbers by the fifth place network’s standards, especially for total viewers, but I won’t go so far is to call it a “strong” debut as some in the entertainment media have.  We know that the typical trend for a show after its debut is downward, though there is the chance that the repeat cycle for The CW’s regular shows that preceded this week and caused some ratings slippage (see below) hampered iZombie‘s premiere.  But remember that The 100 debuted right about this time last year with a 0.9 score and it was down to a 0.5 by the end of the season.  I expect to see iZombie follow that same track and that may not be a good thing.  The CW has shown a willingness of late to hold onto lower rated shows like The 100 (as well as non-genre entries Reign and Jane the Virgin), but how many of those can their schedule handle?  That network has shown some life this season and last, but mostly from the surge it is getting from its superhero shows.  The network is likely adding one more DC superhero entry next season, but they need other shows to step up as well.  Will The CW really want to take one more lagger into next season or would it prefer to gamble on what’s in the pipeline, some of which looks quite promising.  If iZombie can hold close to where it is at now, then I think it will be safe.  But if it slips to the 0.5 level (or lower), then it may have trouble finding its way to next season’s schedule.

Ratings Results:  Most of The CW’s shows took a second extended break over the last few weeks which resulted in all of them slipping to season lows or pretty close.  Last week, The Originals and Vampire Diaries returned at season/series lows, and this week that network’s golden child The Flash matched its season low while Supernatural sunk to the lowest levels that I remember since it aired on Fridays and Arrow was near its season low.  And all of that could have impacted the debut of new series iZombie (see above) which pulled decent but not spectacular numbers for its bow.  The other broadcast networks have definitely been experiencing a ratings slump this mid-season, but the fifth place network had mostly avoided that prior to the point that it kicked in with repeats.  Which again points out that the scheduling the old school networks insist on sticking with is just not working.  Running 22 episodes across a close to 40 week regular season is just stretching things too thin.  And while The CW has managed to see some gains as the Big Four continue to slide, they may need to start breaking away from the old patterns if they want to keep improving and not fall into the rut that the other nets have found themselves in.  On the bright side, The Originals and Vampire Diaries both saw slight improvements in their second week back from repeats, so perhaps that scheduling will not take too much of a toll.  But I do believe that this pattern of constantly interspersing repeats (or preemptions) with new episodes is doing the broadcast networks no favors as more and more viewing choices emerge among the cable channels, streaming services, internet, and more.  And I do believe that some major shakeups could hit those nets within the next few years.

I will post the results for Dig when they are 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.

2 thoughts on “Cancellation Watch: iZombie Has an Okay Debut as The Flash and Arrow Drop. Is the Ratings Slump Catching Up to The CW?

  1. Patricia Hampton

    The CW has alienated a good number of viewers by treating fans with utter disdain. I am associated with the with fans of Star-Crossed in the Twitterverse called Stargazers. We fought long and hard to get The CW to reconsider the cancellation of Star-Crossed. The arrogance with which they dismissed our valiant efforts, and there were many has caused many people to just stop watching The CW. Personally, I still watch The 100 and will to the end because it is a truly exceptional show. I will not watch any new CW shows. There are so many entertainment choices that I want nothing to do with a network that doesn’t treat viewers like they are of any value.
    I will give The CW credit for coming out with a few really good shows last year. Star-Crossed, The 100, The Tomorrow People and even Reign were all different from the usual CW kid’s stuff. All four actually appealed to teens through seniors with good stories, good acting and good production. All four deserved to be developed and promoted. Because they were not the usual CW nonsense, too many people didn’t find them and aren’t finding the two survivors. It’s a shame that the CW doesn’t care about its audience and cultivate them. When they alienate people like me and the entire Stargazer community, they lose potential support for all their shows and new projects. Had they chosen to show us that they hear and care, maybe their numbers would be growing.

  2. Ann

    Star Crossed was an incredible and exciting show it shows that even though people are different we can still come together. This show never had a proper chance. Someone truly needs to hear the plee of the fans because the numbers are growing all the time something as good as this deserves another season and to be honest many more it will only get bigger with the right promotion because before it had none.


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