Cancellation Watch: No Ratings Slump Worries for The Walking Dead as It Sets a Season Finale Record

By | March 31, 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 26th thru Monday Mar 30th (analysis and metric definitions below):

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

Dig USA Thu 3/19 10 PM
Rating: 0.4 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.3 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Still no improvement for this one.  But I will probably keep it at the Moderate Cancellation Alert level because of the possibility that international financing can keep it aloft.

Grimm NBC Fri 3/27 9 PM
Rating: 1.0 | % Chng PW: -9.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.9 | StD Rating: 1.2 | Target: 1.2 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

It dropped to a season low, but it doesn’t have to worry this year because it has already been renewed.  But it needs to get these numbers up in its fifth season if it wants to make it to a sixth.

12 Monkeys Syfy Fri 3/27 9 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.7 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

It’s still holding at a barely measurable 0.2 rating.  Syfy needs to get better numbers from its new crop of shows if it wants to remain viable as a cable channel offering scripted programming.

Helix Syfy Fri 3/27 10 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.5 | StD Rating: 0.2 | Target: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Elevated

It is still barely registering (though at least its up from the 0.1s it was pulling).  I can’t see this show getting a renewal unless it has some strong international financing backing it.

Once Upon A Time ABC Sun 3/29 8 PM
Rating: 1.7 | % Chng PW: -5.6% | Tot Viewers (MM): 5.4 | StD Rating: 2.4 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This one dropped from last week and tied its series low.  The ratings slump its taking its toll, but I still believe it gets a fifth season.

The Walking Dead AMC Sun 3/29 9 PM
Rating: 8.2 | % Chng PW: +17.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 15.8 | StD Rating: 7.4 | Target: 2.0 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

It was up from last year’s record setting 8.0 rating for its season finale as this show continues to walk over all its competition. (More on this one below.

The Last Man on Earth FOX Sun 3/29 9 PM
Rating: 1.3 | % Chng PW: -27.8% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.4 | StD Rating: 1.8 | Target: 1.6 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It plummeted to a series low, but we will give it a mulligan for the week because it went up against The Walking Dead finale.  It needs to get back up to at least the 1.5 level, though, if it wants to survive to a second season.

The Originals (R) CW Mon 3/30 8 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.6 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Target: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

Repeat.  Resumes new episodes next week.

Gotham (R) FOX Mon 3/30 8 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.9 | StD Rating: 2.3 | Target: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

Repeat.  Resumes new episodes April 13th.

the-walking-dead-castRatings Results:  Ratings slump?  What ratings slump, AMC asks as they have watched The Walking Dead pull its best numbers yet during both the Fall and Spring of this television season.  That show wrapped up its fifth season on Sunday night and recorded its highest numbers yet for a season finale with an 8.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic based on the overnights and a whopping 15.8 million total viewers.  The series hit its highest level yet in Fall when its season premiere pulled an 8.7 rating and it has averaged a staggering 7.4 score throughout its fifth season.  It seemed like it might be slowing down when the mid-season return in February did not set a record like it has the last few years.  But still, it had an 8.0 rating for that episode and you know you are looking for things to find wrong when you slam it for not setting a record with that score.  And while the broadcast networks have been hit hard by the ratings this mid-season, TWD has actually posted gains year over year for its February thru March run.  The episodes that aired at this time last year averaged a 6.9 rating whereas this season’s episodes have averaged a 7.3 score.  That’s a six percent gain for TWD while some of the broadcast net shows are seeing double digit losses and the Big Four are down overall (The CW was actually up until they went on a second hiatus in March).  So The Walking Dead certainly shows no signs of slowing down and its spin-off series will be hitting the air in late Summer.  I expect that to bow to good numbers, though likely not at the levels we are currently seeing for TWD.

I will post the results for The Returned when they are available later today or early tomorrow.  Be sure keep an eye out for that and all the latest numbers and any breaking news throughout the week at the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site.  You can see the status of all the currently airing sci fi / fantasy shows at the Cancellation Watch page and also the latest Sci Fi TV Power Rankings post. 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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