Sci Fi Cancellation Watch: Defiance and Dark Matter Go Out on a Low Note, Fear the Walking Dead Slips, Plus the Full Ratings Round Up

By | September 1, 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.

Defiance_Syfy_CancelledOn Friday, Syfy’s Defiance and Dark Matter had their season finales with the former pulling a 0.22 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 1.2 million total viewers and the latter averaging a 0.21 score for its two hour wrap up with 930K total viewers.  From what I understand, the Defiance Season 3 send-off looked very much like a series finale and that would be in line with what I have been predicting about its fate.  That show is only averaging a 0.3 rating for the season which is down from the 0.5 average it had last season and the 0.8 it had in its first year.  And since it is an expensive show to produce, I have been wondering if that one has been on its last legs.  Dark Matter has also averaged a 0.3 rating this season, but Syfy has partnered with the Canadian Space Channel on that one, and I understand it is performing very well up north.  I’m still thinking it has a decent chance for a second season because the partnership makes it more affordable for Syfy.  I expect an announcement over the next few weeks which will also include Killjoys (which wrapped up the prior week) and Dominion (which concludes its second season this month). [Update: Dark Matter and Killjoys have been renewed, more at this link.]

For its second episode, TWD spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead pulled a 4.1 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demo with 8.2 million total viewers which was a drop in its ratings from the prior week of 0.8 or 16%.  And a drop like that surely means the show is in trouble and could be facing cancellation if the numbers continue to slip, right?  Um . . . I don’t think so.  A network executive would sell there mother’s soul (they have long since sold their own) for that 4.1 ratings score these days, so don’t fret for FtWD.  The first episode of the series drew a lot of curious onlookers and apparently not all of them stuck around for the second week.  And also remember that the show was up against MTV’s VMAs for the night.  It wouldn’t surprise if the numbers dropped further over the next few weeks, because that is the typical trend after a show debuts.  But I expect them to rise for the season finale (the show’s first season only has six episodes) and they should hold pretty steady when it goes into its second year in 2016.  Thus the reason I started out the show in the Unassailable category in the most recent set of Power Rankings.

Ratings results for the sci fi / fantasy shows airing Monday August 24th thru Sunday August 30th (metric definitions below):

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

The Whispers ABC Mon 8/24 10 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: +20.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.7 | StD Rating: 0.8 | Cancellation Alert: Elevated

It improved slightly from the season low it had the prior week, but these numbers are still too far in the toilet.  Its season finale this week will almost certainly act as its series finale as well.

Teen Wolf MTV Mon 8/24 10 PM
Rating: 0.4 | % Chng PW: -2.2% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.0 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

This show slipped slightly for its mid-season finale, but it still performed well in the younger demographic that MTV targets.  It will return for the second half of its fifth season in 2016.

Chart Activity:  It slipped one rung in the Weekly Nielsen Twitter Ratings Top 10 to the Number 4 slot, but then it had pretty stiff competition from Fear the Walking Dead and MTV’s VMAs.

Zoo CBS Tue 8/25 9 PM
Rating: 1.1 | % Chng PW: +10.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 6.2 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Cancellation Alert: Low

The numbers were back up this week and if they can stay at this level as the show wraps up its first season, then it has a decent chance of lasting into a second year.  That’s assuming, though, that CBS does not decide it is too expensive to bring back.

Chart Activity: This show improved to the Number 15 slot (up from Number 18) in the broadcast network Top 25 based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic and it held steady at Number 10 in the Top 25 based on total viewers.

Proof TNT Tue 8/25 10 PM
Rating: Season Ended | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Season ended.  Awaiting word on a second season.

Scream MTV Tue 8/25 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: -6.7% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.6 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

At a 0.28 rating, the show slipped from the prior week, but continues to do well enough with MTV’s target younger audience.

Extant CBS Wed 8/26 9 PM
Rating: 0.8 | % Chng PW: +14.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.9 | StD Rating: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

Its numbers were up slightly, but it continues to lose a large amount of its Big Brother lead-in audience.  And with the cancellation announcement of Under the Dome, we will have to see if CBS decides to clean house and ax this one as well.  More on that at this link.

Chart Activity: This show improved by one rung to Number 19 in the broadcast network Top 25 based on total viewers.

Beauty and the Beast CW Thu 8/27 8 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.9 | StD Rating: 0.2 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

The numbers remain low for this show, but it doesn’t seem to matter as it has already been renewed for a fourth season.

Under the Dome CBS Thu 8/27 9 PM
Rating: 0.9 | % Chng PW: +12.5% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.6 | StD Rating: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Canclled

It improved slightly from the last week, but it didn’t matter CBS announced the show’s cancellation.  More on that at this link.

Chart Activity: This show slipped back into the broadcast network Top 25 based on total viewers for the first time in several weeks, but just barely at the Number 25 slot.

Dominion Syfy Thu 8/27 10 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: -19.2% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.7 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This one slipped back down to the 0.2 rating level which is not good.  I believe that it needs to finish out its season in the 0.3 range to have any hope of a third year.

Defiance Syfy Fri 8/28 8 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: -8.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.2 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

This show ended its third season on a low note ratings-wise, and apparently it also wrapped up most of its ongoing storylines.  That’s not a good sign for coming back for a fourth year.  More on this one above.

Killjoys Syfy Fri 8/28 9 PM
Rating: Season Ended | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 0.2 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Season ended.  Awaiting word on a second season.

Dark Matter Syfy Fri 8/28 10 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: -19.2% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.9 | StD Rating: 0.2 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

It went out on a low note, but I believe that Syfy’s partnership with the Canadian Space Channel will keep it going for a second year.  More on this one above.

Hannibal NBC Sat 8/29 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: 50% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.5 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Cancellation Alert: Cancelled

It did improve some for its season finale, but at this point it looks like hopes of another network picking up the show are all but dashed.  Hannibal may have had his last meal on television.

Fear the Walking Dead AMC Sun 8/30 9 PM
Rating: 4.1 | % Chng PW: -16.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 8.2 | StD Rating: 4.5 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

The drop was expected, but those are still monstrous numbers for a scripted TV show these days.  More on this one above.

Chart Activity: This show slipped in the Weekly Nielsen Twitter ratings to the Number 3 slot (down from Number 1), but it had some pretty strong competition from the VMAs (at Number 1) and . . . Wrestling (at Number 2)?  And while it may have come in third in the race of tweets, FtWD was number one among cable shows for the week based on total viewers and if a combined cable/broadcast network chart was published it would be Number 1 in ratings as well.

The Last Ship TNT Sun 8/30 9 PM
Rating: 0.8 | % Chng PW: +14.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.0 | StD Rating: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

Despite strong competition from Fear the Walking Dead and the VMAs, this show’s numbers improved.  And it has already been renewed for a third season.

Chart Activity: Its ratings went up, but its chart position in the cable Top 25 based on total viewers slipped one notch to Number 17.  It should rebound next week with its season finale.

The Strain FX Sun 8/30 10 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: +52.5% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.4 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

We will call the prior week’s slip to a series low a blip.  This one managed to improve despite some pretty strong competition on the night and it has already been renewed for a third season.

Falling Skies TNT Sun 8/30 10 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: +34.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.4 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Cancellation Alert: Final Season

It went out with season high numbers, though they were still down notably from the ratings this show enjoyed just a few years ago.  But at least it had the chance to wrap up its storylines.

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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