We are only one day into the official Fall season, and already two sci fi shows look to be in trouble. On Monday, FOX’s Batman prequel series Gotham got off to a slow start with a 1.6 rating based on the Overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 4.5 million total viewers (according to the preliminaries). That rating was less than half of the show’s debut numbers in its first season (a 3.3 score) and down one tick from its season finale (a 1.7 score). And I’m thinking those numbers will not be able to sustain the show into a third season, though we will have to see how FOX is doing overall this year and it will take a few weeks to put all that in perspective. The network has been struggling and it’s not impossible that 1.6 score could actually be counted as decent compared to the other FOX shows. And as a gauge on the night, pretty much all the Fall debuts were down (you can see a full comparison at this link) including CBS powerhouse The Big Bang Theory. So it appears that the ratings slump is continuing to have a strong impact on the broadcast networks going into the new season, and all of this will have to be factored in. But the fact is that I am sure FOX was hoping that Gotham would return closer to the numbers it was pulling last Fall, and if this ends up being considered a decent performance then that network is really hurting.
In the lead-out hour from Gotham, new entry Minority Report fared even worse as it could only muster a 1.1 rating with 3.1 million total viewers. And while I know that the numbers are down overall for the broadcast networks, I don’t see any scenario where this performance can be considered acceptable. Plus, the usual trend after a show’s debut is for the numbers to drop which would put this one below the 1.0 level pretty quickly. I thought that CBS series Limitless would be the first genre casualty of the Fall, but unless Minority Report’s numbers take an upswing (unlikely), it could be the first to go.
Perhaps the only winner for the night was NBC’s Blindspot which debuted with a 3.1 rating based on the 18-49 demo and 10.6 million total viewers. It’s not really a sci fi show, but its conspiracy storylines may interest genre fans. Of course this show had NBC powerhouse The Voice as its lead-in (which was not down as much year over year as the other Monday shows), so the debut numbers are not a big surprise. Revolution bowed strong in this hour three years ago and The Blacklist started off a hit in the hour two years back. Blindspot has not been getting great reviews thus far, though, so it will be interesting to see if it can maintain its audience (Revolution slipped to marginal at best numbers in the timeslot by the end of its first year).
There are more debuts coming this week so keep an eye on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for the latest numbers and on Cancellation Watch posts on this site for my analyses. And perhaps by next Tuesday’s ratings roundup we will have a better gauge of how the ratings slump is impacting all the broadcast networks (with the exception of The CW which again held its debuts to October).