I’ve heard rumblings that the cancellation predictions made by sites like Cancelled Sci Fi, TV by the Numbers, and more actually increase the likelihood that they get axed. The logic is that these predictions discourage new viewers and/or those who may have started watching a show, leading to even lower viewership and ultimately cancellation. But just like The Cancellation Bear, I say bunk to that. This argument ignores the fact that typically by the time we start predicting cancellation, the show’s ratings (which heavily drive the renewal/cancellation decisions made by the networks) are usually already low. We are reporting the numbers and making predictions based on trends we have previously observed.
Is it possible that a cancellation prediction could discourage people from tuning in or drive those who have been watching to give up on the show? Sure. But it’s much more likely that a negative review of a show or poor buzz on the internet could dissuade viewers. And I don’t hear too many complaints about reviewers who do not give a show much of a chance before ripping it to shreds in print. And while there are cases where we have predicted cancellation before a show has even aired–like with The CW’s The Messengers–those are driven by clear signs the the network has already written them off (in the case of the show mentioned: late-season start, Friday scheduling, minimal promotion).
The fact is that we at Cancelled Sci Fi pay close attention to fan engagement and do what we can to fan the flames (no apologies for the pun) and help spread the word on struggling shows (typically on our Twitter and Facebook pages). For series like The 100, Forever, Witches of East End, Revolution, and more we have done what we can to add to the efforts to get the word out. Sometimes successfully (The 100), sometimes not (the latter three mentioned). We don’t run “Save My Show” campaigns, but we are always willing to pass along the word and do what we can to get people interested in these low rated shows that have touched a nerve with a dedicated group of fans.
And while I consider Cancelled Sci Fi a site by fans for fans, at the same time we strive for a certain level of credible journalism. We report the numbers as they are and give our predictions based on the past trends that we have seen (and sometimes factor in the good or bad buzz as well as rumors running around the entertainment industry). And we try not to give favoritism to any shows (I hated predicting the cancellations of Agent Carter and Forever, though at least the former survived). We may not do a lot to promote all the struggling shows, but that has a lot to do with the level of fan engagement that we see. Forever fans are definitely passionate about that show and we have done what we can to pass along info on their efforts to save it. Resurrection on the other hand never seemed to build up as active or vocal of a fanbase, so we have done little to promote it at this point. But if those fans have a campaign in place, send us the info and we will pass it along.
Our main goal is to keep you, the fans, informed on the status of your favorite shows. And if one or more is struggling, then we expect that you will start stoking the fires to bring more attention to it. And we will do what we can to help pass that information along. But ignoring the realities and avoiding predicting cancellation for struggling shows is not part of that process. This site does not lobby for cancellation, but we won’t ignore the possibilities either. And we will continue to do what we can to help support the fans fighting for their shows.