Sci Fi Cancellation Watch: Humans Scores Another Win for the Cable Ratings Noise Shows, Though International Partnership Helped

By | August 4, 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.

humans-amc-cancelledLast week, AMC/Channel 4 announced that freshman series Humans would be coming back for a second season.  The renewal did not come as a big surprise because the show has performed quite well over in Britain on Channel 4, but its numbers on AMC have been in the range of what I refer to as “ratings noise”.  It has averaged a 0.4 score in the overnights for the 18-49 demographic through six episodes (you can see the full breakdown of its numbers at its series page on this site).  Those are pretty low numbers, but in today’s ever-fractured television landscape that seems to be good enough for many of the cable networks.  Several other cable genre shows have received renewals with ratings averages in the 0.2 to 0.4 range such as 12 Monkeys (0.2 average), Stitchers (0.4 StD average), Scream (0.4 StD average), and Penny Dreadful (0.2) average.  It would appear, though, that these shows’ networks are taking into account the encore viewings throughout the week following the live airing of an episode and they are likely also looking at delayed viewing.  But I am guessing the more important factor is international partnerships and/or financing.  With Humans, we know that British Channel 4 is an important partner for the show.  That network actually originally greenlight the series and AMC came in late to the game after Xbox Studios dropped out.  The series is also relatively inexpensive, making it a more economical entry on AMC’s schedule.  But had this been a series that AMC greenlit and funded on its own, that 0.4 average may not have been enough to sustain it.  Syfy’s two new entries Dark Matter and Killjoys also have a similar international partnership (with the Canadian Space Channel), and that could help sustain those two shows despite their tepid U.S. ratings (0.3 average and 0.2 average respectively).  And more and more these partnerships (as well as international financing deals) will play a large part in keeping shows afloat despite low viewership numbers.  The good news there is that the fate of television shows (especially on the cable networks) will become increasingly less tied to the Nielsen ratings.  The bad news is that this expanding bubble of original scripted programming will have to burst at some point (more on that at this link).

Ratings results for the sci fi / fantasy shows airing Monday July 27th thru Sunday August 2nd (metric definitions below):

The Whispers ABC Mon 7/27 10 PM
Rating: Preempted | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.3 | StD Rating: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

Preempted for the week which didn’t help its ratings but surely increased our hits as people Googled “Is The Whispers Cancelled?”

Teen Wolf MTV Mon 7/27 10 PM
Rating: 0.4 | % Chng PW: -28.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.1 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

This show slipped back down in the ratings, but it has already received its sixth season renewal and a seventh seems almost assured as well.

Chart Activity: Despite the ratings slip, this show improved in the Nielsen Twitter Ratings Top 10 to the Number 5 slot (up from Number 7).  That indicates that it is still registering well with the young demographic that MTV targets.

Stitchers ABCF Tue 7/28 9 PM
Rating: 0.4 | % Chng PW: +80.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.8 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

The actual ratings number is a 0.36 which it up from the 0.20 it had the prior week.  It is still losing a fair amount of the lead-in audience from Pretty Little Liars, but ABC Family apparently felt strong enough about Stitchers to keep it going for another season.

Zoo CBS Tue 7/28 9 PM
Rating: 1.2 | % Chng PW: +20.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 7.1 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This show jumped back up from the prior week and it is tied with Wayward Pines as the best performing genre series of the Summer.  It still looks like a good bet for renewal.

Chart Activity: It improved to Number 12 (up from Number 18) in the broadcast network Top 25 based on the overnight rating for the 18-49 demographic.  In the Top 25 based on total viewers, it slipped one rung to Number 8.

Proof TNT Tue 7/28 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: +50.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.1 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

This show improved from the prior week and has to be encouraged by the fact that Stitchers and Scream have received renewals at similar ratings levels.  If the international partnerships/financing are there, then it could get a second season.

Scream MTV Tue 7/28 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: -3.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.8 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

The actual rating for this one was a 0.29 which is down just slightly from the prior week.  But it is still performing well with MTV’s younger-skewing target demo.

Extant CBS Wed 7/29 9 PM
Rating: 0.8 | % Chng PW: +14.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.3 | StD Rating: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

The final numbers for Wednesday brought this show to its best numbers in three weeks.  But it’s still pretty low as far as its season to date average, so its survival chances continue to hinge on its Amazon partnership/international financing.

Beauty and the Beast CW Thu 7/30 8 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.0 | StD Rating: 0.2 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

No change for this show as it continues to fly low yet still survive.

Wayward Pines FOX Thu 7/30 9 PM
Rating: Season Ended | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.0 | StD Rating: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Season ended, awaiting word on a second year.

Under the Dome CBS Thu 7/30 9 PM
Rating: 1.0 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.6 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This show held steady, but it remains well below the numbers of its second season.  As with Extant, its survival chances hinge on its Amazon partnership/international financing.

Chart Activity: This show held steady at Number 20 in the broadcast network Top 25 based on the overnight rating for the 18-49 demographic.  In the Top 25 based on total viewers, it edged up to Number 23 (from Number 25).

Dominion Syfy Thu 7/30 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: +10.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.1 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Low

The actual rating for this one was a 0.33 score which was slightly up from last week as this show continues to hold at decent levels for Syfy these days.

Defiance Syfy Fri 7/31 8 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: -20.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.2 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

The actual rating for this show was a 0.24 score which is down from the prior week.  It’s not too far off from the other Syfy shows airing now, but I believe that expectations are higher for this one.

Killjoys Syfy Fri 7/31 9 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: -23.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.0 | StD Rating: 0.2 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

The actual rating for this show was a 0.23 score as it continues to hold in the 0.2 range.  But the partnership that Syfy has with the Space Channel in Canada could keep it going.

The Messengers CW Fri 7/31 9 PM
Rating: Season Ended | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.8 | StD Rating: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Cancelled

Season ended and this cancelled entry heads off to TV Oblivion.

Dark Matter Syfy Fri 7/31 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: -16.7% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.1 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

The actual rating for this show was a 0.25 score, but its season to date average is still in the 0.3 range.  That actually counts it as Syfy’s highest rated new show since Z Nation last Fall and I think its chances are decent for a second season.

Atlantis BBCA Sat 8/1 9 PM
Rating: n/a | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 0.0 | Cancellation Alert: Cancelled

Ratings results pending.  Check the show’s page on this site later in the week for updates

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell BBCA Sat 8/1 10 PM
Rating: n/a | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 0.1 | Cancellation Alert: Mini-Series

Mini-series completed.

Hannibal NBC Thu 7/30 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.0 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Cancelled

This series continues to fly low in its Saturday burn-off run.  But you can vote at this link on whether you would pay to pre-fund a fourth season.

Humans AMC Sun 8/2 9 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: -15.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.0 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Low

The actual rating for this show was a 0.34 score which was down slightly from last week.  But it has already received a second season renewal, largely on the strength of AMC’s partnership with Channel 4.  More on that above.

The Last Ship TNT Sun 8/2 9 PM
Rating: 0.8 | % Chng PW: +10.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.9 | StD Rating: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This show improved from last week and continues to cruise forward to a likely third season renewal.

Chart Activity: This show slipped in the cable Top 25 based on total viewers, going from Number 12 to Number 17.

The Strain FX Sun 8/2 10 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: -1.7% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.4 | StD Rating: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It held steady with last week, and it should still be okay at these levels.  If it starts to slip any further, though, it could find itself in trouble.

Falling Skies TNT Sun 8/2 10 PM
Rating: 0.5 | % Chng PW: +4.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.9 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Final Season

This show held steady as it continues to wind down its final season.

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.

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