Sci Fi Cancellation Watch: Just For Fun, Let’s Compare Syfy’s Sharknado Week Ratings to Its Scripted Series

By | July 28, 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.

Read ’em and weep folks, here are the ratings results from Sharkanado Week vs. Syfy’s scripted series that have aired since Fall 2014 (ranked by highest to lowest rated):

Series/Movie Title Rating / Avg Rating
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! 0.9
Ascension – Cancelled after Mini-Series 0.5
Z Nation – Renewed for 2nd Season 0.5
Lavalantula 0.4
3-Headed Shark Attack 0.3
Dominion – Airing 2nd Season 0.3
Mega-Shark vs. Kolossus 0.3
Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf 0.3
Zombie Shark 0.3
Dark Matter – Airing 1st Season 0.3
Defiance – Airing 3rd Season 0.3
12 Monkeys – Renewed for 2nd Season 0.2
Killjoys – Airing 1st Season 0.2
Haven – Returning for Season 5.2 0.2
Helix – Cancelled after 2nd Season 0.2
Roboshark 0.2
Olympus – Awaiting Word on 2nd Season 0.1

sharknado-3Note that for the movies, this is the rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demo for the initial broadcast and for the series this is the season (or season to date) average based on the same criteria (and I am excluding the Canadian imports like Bitten and Lost Girl which are not as heavily impacted by their Syfy numbers).  Sharknado 3 pulled a 0.9, the highest rating on Syfy since–yes indeed–Sharknado 2 last year (I mistakenly thought that the third movie performed better than the second, but the second had a 1.3 rating).  Next in the ranking was Syfy’s mini-series Ascension which aired last December to an average of a 0.5 score across its three nights.  It was designed to launch into an ongoing series, but Syfy decided the numbers weren’t good enough and pulled the plug.  They may want to reconsider at this point (though it wasn’t well received by the fans).  Next is the zombie series Z-Nation which averaged a 0.5 score for its first season and apparently counts as a breakout hit for Syfy these days (and it also comes from Sharknado production company The Asylum).  The next grouping on the list consists of a mixture of the Sharknado Week original movies–sporting such literary titles as Zombie Shark, 3-Headed Shark Attack, and Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf–and several of the network’s currently airing shows like Defiance, Dominion, and Dark Matter (alliteration is just coincidental).  Below that are some of Syfy’s lowest performing shows and only one of the Sharknado Week entries–Roboshark–slipped that far down.

It’s important to note that these sharks-on-the-loose flicks (as well as all of Syfy’s critters-run-amok entries) come at a cheap price, likely less than the cost of a single episode of one of the network’s scripted series (well, maybe not Olympus).  And while Syfy may not always make its money back after the first airing, these films are almost certainly showing a profit by their second or third encore run.  So from the network’s point of view, you have to wonder why they are even bothering with scripted series, especially when they see the ratings results continue to slip for those.  Of course, Syfy claims that they are investing heavily in a return to science fiction oriented scripted programming, and we have already seen signs of that with Dark Matter, Killjoys, 12 Monkeys and several more of their recent offerings.  But those aren’t turning the same profits as Sharknado 3, or even Mega-Shark vs. Kolossus, and fan reaction and acceptance remains mixed on them.  The network itself must take some of the blame for this after turning its back on the core sci fi fanbase with its rebranding as Syfy and also it close association with mega-cheesy genre offerings like the Sharknado films (and then there’s wrestling as well).  And now as they attempt to reach back out to the sci fi audience they are facing a broad rejection of their alleged re-rebranding.  So they may very well be faced with the choice of whether they want to be the Sharknado network and continue to make the quick, easy buck on an endless parade of (barely good enough to be) B-Movies, or if they really want to settle in for the long-term and return to their more serious sci fi roots.  Clearly at the moment, though, the fans are not embracing the latter.

Chart Activity:  And for those interested, Sharknado 3 was at the Number 1 spot on the Nielsen Twitter Ratings Top 10 for the week.  No surprise there as Twitter helped the movie series to go viral in the first place.  It also landed at the Number 15 slot on the cable Top 25 for the week based on total viewers.

Ratings results for the sci fi / fantasy shows airing Monday July 20th thru Sunday July 26th (metric definitions below):

(Updated for Chart Activity in the Top 25 for the broadcast and cable networks)

The Whispers ABC Mon 7/20 10 PM
Rating: 0.8 | % Chng PW: -11.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.3 | StD Rating: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

This show slipped to a new series low which continues to make its prospects for a second season look grim.  It has been showing decent gains in delayed viewing, though, in case the networks are considering that more heavily for their Summer shows.

Teen Wolf MTV Mon 7/20 10 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: +50.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.3 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

As expected, this show rebounded after slipping the prior week.  It continues to perform well for its network and will likely stick around for a few more seasons.

Chart Activity: This show rebounded some from the prior week on the Nielsen Twitter Ratings Top 10, moving up from the Number 9 slot to Number 7.

Stitchers ABCF Tue 7/21 9 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: -33.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.7 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

This show slipped to a series low, though it has already been renewed.  But there’s probably still time for ABC Family to change its mind, so the numbers really do need to go in the other direction.

Zoo CBS Tue 7/21 9 PM
Rating: 1.0 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 6.7 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It held steady with the prior week and it’s probably still doing okay for a Summer show, especially if you factor in its total viewers.  But it can’t be counted as a breakout hit in its first season.

Chart Activity: This show held steady with the prior week at Number 18 in the broadcast network Top 25 based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic.  In the Top 25 based on total viewers, it improved to Number 7 (up from Number 9).

Proof TNT Tue 7/21 10 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: -33.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.8 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

A series low for this show as its prospects continue to look grim.

Scream MTV Tue 7/21 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: -25.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.8 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Low

Tuesday was not a good night for genre shows as this one slipped to a series low as well.  It’s now definitely in that low-performing, “ratings noise” area and its prospects don’t look quite as good.  I’ll give it one more week before I raise the Cancellation Alert level, though.

Extant CBS Wed 7/22 9 PM
Rating: 0.7 | % Chng PW: +16.7% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.3 | StD Rating: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

The good news: this show’s numbers improved after shifting one hour to get Big Brother as its lead-in.  The bad news: it only improved by one tick, it lost 61% of it lead-in’s audience, and it performed no better than the Criminal Minds repeat that followed it.  I’m thinking the bad news far outweighs the good news here.

Beauty and the Beast CW Thu 7/23 8 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: -33.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.0 | StD Rating: 0.2 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

Back down to a 0.2 rating for this show.  But then its bullet-proof, so what can you say?

Wayward Pines FOX Thu 7/23 9 PM
Rating: 1.2 | % Chng PW: +33.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.0 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

This show matched its series high for its season finale, and that’s a good thing.  I would say that it has a better chance than not of coming back for another season because the ending set up the cast change anyway (the contracts for the actors have lapsed because of a delayed start for the show).  And based on FOX’s overall slump of late, they may want to consider bringing this one into their regular season schedule!

Chart Activity: It jumped back into the broadcast network Top 25 based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic for its finale, landing at the Number 15 slot.

Under the Dome CBS Thu 7/23 9 PM
Rating: 1.0 | % Chng PW: +11.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.6 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It improved from its series low the prior week and it is still hanging in there. But largely on the strength of its Amazon partnership and international financing.

Chart Activity: This show improved to Number 20 (up from Number 22) in the Top 25 based on the overnight ratings for 18-49 demo, and it clawed its way back into Top 25 based on total viewers after dropping out the prior week, though just barely at Number 25.

Dominion Syfy Thu 7/23 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.0 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Low

Three weeks in a row at a 0.3 rating makes this Syfy’s most consistent performing show this Summer.  If it can hold here, it is almost assured a third season.

Defiance Syfy Fri 7/24 8 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: +50.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.2 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

This one improved to a 0.3 rating which gets it to at least an acceptable level for Syfy these days.  However, I believe this is an expensive series to produce and it doesn’t appear to have heavy international financing backing it, so it’s definitely not safe at the moment.

Killjoys Syfy Fri 7/24 9 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: +50.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.0 | StD Rating: 0.2 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

This show improved from the prior week as well, but it is still flying lower than Syfy’s other currently airing shows as far as its season to date average.  Still, I believe that the partnership Syfy has with the Canadian Space Channel will help keep it afloat (the same goes for Dark Matter as well).

The Messengers CW Fri 7/24 9 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.8 | StD Rating: 0.2 | Cancellation Alert: Cancelled

This show remained low for its series finale and now it heads off to TV Oblivion.

Dark Matter Syfy Fri 7/24 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.1 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

This one held at a 0.3 rating and it is averaging out at that level for the season so far.  Its chances still look decent especially considering that Syfy has the Canadian Space Channel on board as an international partner (the same goes for Killjoys as well).

Atlantis BBCA Sat 7/25 9 PM
Rating: n/a | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 0.0 | Cancellation Alert: Cancelled

Ratings results pending.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell BBCA Sat 7/25 10 PM
Rating: n/a | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 0.1 | Cancellation Alert: Mini-Series

Ratings results pending.

Hannibal NBC Thu 7/23 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.0 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Cancelled

It held steady for its second Saturday airing, not that it will change its fate much.  But Bryan Fuller is still trying to find a home for the show.

Humans AMC Sun 7/26 9 PM
Rating: 0.4 | % Chng PW: -20.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.2 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It slipped back to a 0.4 score, but from what I hear Channel 4 in Britain is very happy with the show’s performance over there.  And its a relatively inexpensive series to produce, so a second season continues to look likely.

The Last Ship TNT Sun 7/26 9 PM
Rating: 0.7 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.0 | StD Rating: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This one continues to hold steady with decent numbers considering the current ratings slump among the cable networks.  We should be hearing a renewal announcement soon.

Chart Activity: It improved slightly in the cable Top 25 based on total viewers, going from Number 14 the prior week to Number 12.

Golan the Insatiable FOX Sun 7/26 9:30 PM
Rating: Season Ended | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Season Ended.  Renewal by FOX looks unlikely though there is a slight chance it could move to FXX where Animation Domination HD airs.

The Strain FX Sun 7/26 10 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: -14.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.5 | StD Rating: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This one slipped to a series low, but it’s still not doing too bad considering the current ratings slump among the cable shows.  But if it starts to drop into the low-performing, “ratings noise” level (0.4 ratings score or lower), then it could be in trouble.

Falling Skies TNT Sun 7/26 10 PM
Rating: 0.5 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.0 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Final Season

This show held steady from the prior week as it continues to head toward its series finale.

Be sure keep an eye out for 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.

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: ©2015 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

2 thoughts on “Sci Fi Cancellation Watch: Just For Fun, Let’s Compare Syfy’s Sharknado Week Ratings to Its Scripted Series

  1. wonderfly

    A shame more people aren’t embracing the Syfy rebrand. A return to “real” Sci-Fi is just what the channel needs.

    I think part of it is the continued decline in cable ratings all around. But then I look at how well the Walking Dead is doing…but if the only thing getting watched on cable is “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones”, then maybe cable is dead after all…

    Reply
  2. wonderfly

    A shame more people aren’t embracing the Syfy rebrand. A return to “real” Sci-Fi is just what the channel needs.

    I think part of it is the continued decline in cable ratings all around. But then I look at how well the Walking Dead is doing…but if the only thing getting watched on cable is “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones”, then maybe cable is dead after all…

    Reply

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