CBS announced today that their Summer science fiction series Extant, which stars Halle Berry, has been cancelled. The news does not come as a huge surprise as it has suffered from low ratings since its first season and its numbers fell even further this past Summer. The show had gone through a bit of a reboot in its second year as an attempt to boost its viewership, but but instead the ratings continued to slide. Extant averaged only a 0.7 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic this past Summer, and it did not see much in the way of a lift from the Live+7 delayed viewing numbers (only about fifty percent). CBS did have a partnership with Amazon that gave them exclusive streaming rights after the live episodes aired on broadcast and they also had significant international financing backing the show. This arrangement made Extant profitable for the network before even airing, so they weren’t losing money on the show. But apparently the ratings were too much of an eyesore for the network executives even though they regularly tell us these days that the overnight Nielsen results do not impact their decision-making as much anymore. Whether that’s true or not, the Live+SD ratings continue to be the leading indicators for a show’s audience and the best predictors of its renewal/cancellation status. CBS also cancelled Summer series Under the Dome which had similar partnerships to Extant. That show had also seen its ratings decline to low levels this past year. The network’s third Summer sci fi series, first year entry Zoo, just received a renewal and that one has a streaming deal with Netflix similar to the one CBS had with Amazon on the other two shows. Zoo‘s number weren’t spectacular in its first season, though, meaning that it will not return on strong footing next year and these streaming deals alone are apparently not enough for the broadcast networks (CBS at least) to keep them going if the ratings fall too low. It’s unlikely that Amazon will elect to keep Extant going on its own as they have plenty of their own development in the pipeline and they made no move to pick up Under the Dome for a fourth season. And Extant did not seem to engage sci fi fandom or develop much of a following, so I don’t know that there will be too much effort put out to keep the show alive and apparently it did wrap up most of its storylines at the end of its second season. Fans of Halle Berry may be interested in knowing that she will continue to work with CBS and is currently developing a legal drama that she will star in titled Legalease.
In other news, Disney XD just announced that their animated series Guardians of the Galaxy will be returning for a second year. It is only three episodes into its first year, and the ratings in the 18-49 demographic have not been spectacular so far, but this show skews more to a younger audience and its merchandising is just as important as its ratings in keeping it afloat. The second season will bow in 2017.
There are still several more of the Spring/Summer sci fi shows waiting to hear word on their fate. The others are Dominion (Syfy), Defiance (Syfy), Golan the Insatiable (FOX), Olympus (Syfy), Wayward Pines (FOX), and The Whispers (ABC). Keep an eye on this site and the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site as I expect an announcement on these at any time, possibly later today.