Sci Fi Cancellation Watch: The Season is Still Young, But Minority Report and Sleepy Hollow are Already on Doomwatch; Plus the Full Ratings Round Up

By | October 6, 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.

minority-report-fox-cancelledTwo weeks  of the Fall season have passed now, and while the dust from the ratings slump–that continues to drag down the numbers for the broadcast networks–has not fully settled, a few things are starting to come into focus. And I can call out two shows that definitely are facing Doomwatch at this early point in the season, both of which are FOX entries.  New series Minority Report debuted to poor numbers two weeks ago, pulling only a 1.1 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic.  That was a tepid debut, but I wasn’t ready to put the Doomwatch stamp on it just yet because the numbers looked bad across all of the broadcast nets.  But then last week its numbers slipped further to a 0.9 rating based on the overnights.  It did see a 56% gain for its debut rating to a 1.7 score based on the Live+3 delayed viewing numbers, but that’s not a huge jump for the show and likely not enough to save it.  Just a few years ago, debut numbers like what Minority Report has seen would be enough to get it kicked to Fridays or off the schedule altogether.  In the ratings slump environment, the networks seem to be letting the shows at least air out their episodes while they talk up the delayed viewing gains.  But while they are giving more lipservice to those stats these days, that appears to be mostly PR and the overnights remain the leading indicators of a show’s fate.  Mind you, I’m not arguing that’s the way it should be, that’s just the behavior that we continue to see from the networks.  Perhaps that will change this season with the numbers generally in the toilet, but at this point I would say that Minority Report is definitely in trouble and I am raising it to an Elevated Cancellation Alert status.  And don’t be surprised if it gets shifted to Friday or Saturday in the next week or two.

Also struggling is FOX’s Sleepy Hollow which just had its Season 3 bow last week.  I already pegged that one as being on Doomwatch in the last set of Power Rankings and the FOX execs already called it out last year and demanded some changes to the show.  That did not appear to help as it slipped to a series low 1.0 rating in the overnights based on the 18-49 demo with its season debut last week.  Of course I’m not sure what else the FOX execs were expecting putting it on highly competitive Thursdays directly against Scandal on ABC, The Blacklist on NBC, and NFL Football on CBS.  A few years back the network did the same thing to Fringe and cut it some slack because they knew it was in a brutal slot.  But then Fringe was still in their good graces at the time, whereas Sleepy Hollow appears to be in the doghouse.  I’m going to give it a couple more weeks and see what he delayed viewing numbers look like, but I’m starting it out at a Medium Cancellation Alert status and that could go up quickly if the numbers sink further.  And no, it doesn’t get the protected third season status because it has had less than the typical 22 episode runs for its first two years.

Starting this week, for the Fall shows I have added a new metric to the data below.  This is the Network Average (Net Avg) season to date ratings based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic for non-sports programming and non-repeats.  With the ratings down overall, I thought this would be a useful to gauge for how close a show is performing to the network’s overall mean.  It is similar to index that the TV Grim Reaper (formerly the Cancellation Bear) uses, but he looks at scripted programming only.  I included non-scripted programming because a network can always choose to replace a more expensive scripted show with a cheaper reality or news show.  Note that the network average score is available only for the broadcast nets and only for the Fall shows going forward.

Ratings results for the sci fi / fantasy shows airing Monday September 28th thru Sunday October 4th (metric definitions below):

Gotham FOX Mon 9/28 8 PM
Rating: 1.6 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.7 | StD Rating: 1.6 | Net Avg: 2.1 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It held steady for its second episode and while it is below FOX’s network average of a 2.1 score, it is even with the 1.6 average FOX has once you throw out Empire which heavily skews the numbers.  I wouldn’t say Gotham is doing great at the moment, but it’s not any worse than the rest of FOX’s shows.

Minority Report FOX Mon 9/28 9 PM
Rating: 0.9 | % Chng PW: -18.2% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.6 | StD Rating: 1.0 | Net Avg: 2.1 | Cancellation Alert: Elevated

It dropped with its second week and Doomwatch is on.  More on this one above.

Agents of SHIELD ABC Tue 9/29 9 PM
Rating: 1.7 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.9 | StD Rating: 1.7 | Net Avg: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It debuted up from its Season 2 finale which is at least a little bit of good news.  It may have a chance if it can hold at these levels.  More on this one at this link.

Scream Queens FOX Tue 9/29 9 PM
Rating: 1.4 | % Chng PW: -17.6% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.5 | StD Rating: 1.6 | Net Avg: 2.1 | Cancellation Alert: Low

That’s not a good drop for this show’s second week.  If it can hold or improve, then it may still have a chance considering how bad FOX looks overall.  But if it drops further, there will be plenty to scream about.

Chart Activity: This show remained in the Weekly Nielsen Twitter Ratings Top 10 for a second week, landing at the Number 5 slot (down from Number 2).  That will definitely help it if its viewers ratings don’t slip any further.

Limitless CBS Tue 9/29 10 PM
Rating: 1.9 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 9.7 | StD Rating: 1.9 | Net Avg: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It held steady for a second week in a row which is good.  But I expect to see a drop with its third outing because that’s the typical trend.  Still, if it can stay above a 1.5 rating and hold in the Top 25 based on total viewers then it has a decent chance.

Chart Activity: This show managed to make it into the broadcast network Top 25 based on the the overnight ratings in the 18-49 demo at the Number 24 slot.  And it improved to the Number 16 slot in the Top 25 based on total viewers, up from Number 18.

Heroes Reborn NBC Thu 10/1 8 PM
Rating: 1.6 | % Chng PW: -20.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 5.0 | StD Rating: 1.8 | Net Avg: 2.3 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This show slipped further and it is well below the network’s average rating.  But this is all just padding to the Heroes syndication run, so NBC may keep it around for another season if they believe it is plugging up a difficult hour on the schedule.  Interesting note: the original series used to perform very well in the younger 18-34 demographic which is what helped keep it going when the 18-49 numbers slipped.  But the revival has scored poorly with the younger audience, only pulling a 0.8 score with the 18-34 demo last week.  Instead it is skewing more to the older 25-54 audience now, pulling a 2.0 rating there last week.  I guess the younger viewers lost interest and/or grew up.

Sleepy Hollow FOX Thu 10/1 9 PM
Rating: 1.0 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.5 | StD Rating: 1.0 | Net Avg: 2.1 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

Not a good third season bow for a show that was already on thin ice.  If the numbers don’t improve, more than the horseman could lose his head.  More on this one above.

Dominion Syfy Thu 10/1 10 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: -20.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.7 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

It slipped for its season finale, but still ended up with a passable overall average rating for its second year.  It still has a chance for a third season.

Z Nation Syfy Fri 10/2 10 PM
Rating: 0.4 | % Chng PW: -7.9% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.9 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

This show is still pulling decent numbers for a Syfy entry and is doing better than what Dark Matter, Killjoys, and Defiance did on Fridays in Summer.  Looks like it is on track to a third year.

Continuum Syfy Fri 10/2 11 PM
Rating: 0.1 | % Chng PW: -37.5% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.3 | StD Rating: 0.1 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Final Season

The numbers remain low for this show as it airs out its final season.

Doctor Who BBCA Sat 10/3 9 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: -13.5% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.0 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

This show continues to slip, but it is still pulling decent enough numbers for a BBC America series, and its numbers in Britain (which are also down from what I hear) more heavily influence its fate.

Guardians of the Galaxy DXD Sat 10/3 9:30 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: +38.5% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.8 | StD Rating: 0.1 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

It improved slightly from the prior week, but the ratings in the 18-49 demo are not as important for this show as its merchandising sales.

Fear the Walking Dead AMC Sun 10/4 9 PM
Rating: 3.4 | % Chng PW: -2.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 6.9 | StD Rating: 3.9 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

Surprisingly, the show held mostly steady for its season finale instead of jumping up like I assumed.  Still, it was the highest rated non-sports program on Sunday Prime Time across all the channels, so AMC is certainly not complaining.

Chart Activity: This show also did not make it back into the Weekly Nielsen Twitter Rating Top 10 like I though it would, yet FOX’s Scream Queens did.  The cable Top 25 based on total viewers was not posted for the week, but Fear the Walking Dead would have almost certainly been the most-watched scripted show for the week.

Once Upon A Time ABC Sun 10/4 8 PM
Rating: 1.8 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 5.3 | StD Rating: 1.8 | Net Avg: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It held steady for its second week and it is right in line with ABC’s average rating for the season, so it looks okay for now.

The Leftovers HBO Sun 10/4 9 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.7 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

This is well down from the 0.8 rating the show had for its first season debut and the 0.7 score it had for last year’s finale.  Of course the overnights are not as important to the pay channels because they don’t rely on advertising, but they are a leading indicator to the total audience.  We will see the lift it gets in delayed viewing, but this is not a good start for a show already on thin ice.

The Last Man on Earth FOX Sun 10/4 9:30 PM
Rating: 1.5 | % Chng PW: 7.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.3 | StD Rating: 1.5 | Net Avg: 2.1 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It improved from the prior week, but it was also FOX’s lowest rated scripted show on Sunday.  I don’t consider it to be in trouble just yet, but it can’t afford to slip much from where it is currently at.

The Strain FX Sun 10/4 10 PM
Rating: 0.5 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.2 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Renewed

It held steady for its season finale which is about as much as it could have expected on a very competitive Fall Sunday night.  It returns with its third season next Summer.

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.

Net Avg:  The season to date average rating for the network for non-sports programming and non-repeats.  This data is available for the broadcast networks only.

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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