FOX announced late yesterday that they have cut the episode count of new series Minority Report to ten, down from the original thirteen. That series debuted to low ratings three weeks ago and its numbers have continued to sink into CW-levels. It is currently averaging just a 0.9 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic vs. FOX’s season to date average of a 2.0 score for non-sports programming (1.5 if you throw out Empire). And this past Monday the show slipped down to a 0.7 rating. Just a few years ago, numbers like this on one of the Big Four networks would have resulted in a show getting yanked from the schedule. But in the current ratings slump environment, the nets are not as quick to pull the trigger on cancellations. Still, If Minority Report fans are looking for any words of encouragement at this point, I have none. I can think of no recent examples of a new show having its episode count cut and still coming back for a second season. Last season, NBC halted production on low-rated Constantine after thirteen episodes had been produced. And even though they allowed the producers to pitch ideas for a second season, that was likely just the network going through the motions before officially cancelling the show. It’s probable that Minority Report already had those ten episodes complete or at least in post-production and that run was designed to get the show through its Fall finale. The additional three would have carried it over into mid-season, and FOX has no interest in doing that at the moment. Fans could try to start up a campaign on social media to draw attention to the show in an attempt to get its numbers up to at least respectable levels. There’s a slight chance that a ratings turnaround (it would have to be big, though), could convince them its worth keeping MR around. But I expect it to get kicked to either Friday or Saturday nights pretty soon, and that will make it harder to get many new viewers onboard. I’m raising Minority Report to the highest Cancellation Alert level now, and when the TV Grim Reaper (formerly the Cancellation Bear) posts his latest evaluations on Tuesday I’m guessing he’s going to go ahead and count the show as cancelled just like he did with Constantine last season. And just to make the fans suffer a bit more, there’s a decent chance that FOX won’t officially announce the cancellation until May because that has been the trend with the broadcast networks lately as they prefer to keep all their options open.
And don’t be surprised if FOX doesn’t make a move with slumping Sleepy Hollow as well. It’s possible that it could move both that one and Minority Report to Saturdays to let them burn off the rest of their episodes before the TV Grim Reaper ushers them off to TV Oblivion. And keep an eye on this site and the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for the latest news because the season is early and the numbers are looking bad all around (with a few exceptions) at this point.