The CW’s fan-favoritie post-apocalyptic sci fi series The 100 has had low ratings pretty much since early in its first season (typically pulling only half a ratings point per episode in the 18-49 demographic based on the overnights), yet has been renewed twice, currently into its third season. But when The CW recently released its schedule for the 2015-16 season, fans of the show found out that it had been pushed to a mid-season start or possibly even later. When asked about this, the network’s president Mark Pedowitz claimed that they wanted to get Fall off to a strong start (read between the lines: they wanted their best-rated shows on the schedule) and they were hoping that would give people time to catch up on the show as its first two seasons are available on Netflix (it’s on Hulu as well, but I’m not certain if the full two seasons are there). His claim is that they hope The 100 will have its “Breaking Bad moment” as that acclaimed AMC cable series was available for streaming between its season and saw its numbers improve notably beginning with its third year.
The most important takeaway that I get from this is that Pedowitz is calling the show’s fans to action to get more viewers watching. The mid-season start means that it will have another shortened episode run (13 to to 16 was mentioned in the article cited above) and I have already speculated that next year could be its last. I believe that The 100 (along with equally low-rated historical drama Reign) got extended for another season because they had the benefit of being riders on The CW’s blanket renewal announcement in January of this year. But the network has seen an improvement in its numbers this past season (and note that it has accomplished that by programming mostly sci fi / fantasy shows) and I believe they want to keep building on that. I’m guessing they will be a lot less tolerant of ratings laggers next year, and if The 100‘s numbers stay low then it will be in danger.
However, the show has a very vocal fanbase on the social networks, and now is the time for them to come together and draw interest to get more people watching. With plenty of time for binge-watching before its third season bows sometime in 2016, fans should organize a pre-preemptive campaign to direct people to Netflix and/or its DVD releases (no word yet on when the second season will be out in that format, though). That could deliver the show’s “Breaking Bad moment” as Pedowitz hopes and drive its third season numbers up to respectable levels. Apart from that, the show’s producers should start working on a series finale because its chances for sticking around beyond its third year could be slim.