Sci Fi Cancellation Watch: Most of the Broadcast Net Sci Fi / Fantasy Shows Are Under-Performing, Plus the Full Ratings Round Up

By | October 20, 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.

heroes-reborn-cancelledThe Fall season–which we are still only a few weeks into–has been a bad one overall for the broadcast networks ratings-wise as we are seeing historic lows in the overnight ratings across the board (and if you think those delayed viewing numbers really are more important, read this article).  But it has been a particularly bad season for sci fi / fantasy shows as almost all the non-CW entries are performing below the network averages.  This is something that I have just started tracking closely this season and the averages I am compiling are based on the non-repeat, non-sports programming for each network for Prime Time season to date.  This is a little bit different than the Reaper Index used by the TV Grim Reaper (formerly the Cancellation Bear) which compares the ratings of scripted shows only for the same network.  But I have expanded my range because I consider it very possible that in the current ratings slump environment that the networks will strongly consider replacing more expensive scripted shows with reality and/or news programming.  So based on that, here is the ranking of the broadcast network shows based on how they are performing vs. their network average with the best performers at the top:

Series Network Std Avg Net Avg Variance
The Flash CW 1.40 0.66 0.74
Arrow CW 1.05 0.66 0.39
Supernatural CW 0.85 0.66 0.19
Limitless CBS 1.73 1.68 0.04
Once Upon A Time ABC 1.70 1.74 (0.04)
iZombie CW 0.60 0.66 (0.06)
Vampire Diaries CW 0.60 0.66 (0.06)
Agents of SHIELD ABC 1.57 1.74 (0.18)
The Originals CW 0.45 0.66 (0.21)
Gotham FOX 1.55 1.80 (0.25)
The Last Man on Earth FOX 1.28 1.80 (0.53)
Heroes Reborn NBC 1.48 1.94 (0.46)
Scream Queens FOX 1.30 1.80 (0.50)
Sleepy Hollow FOX 0.93 1.80 (0.87)
Minority Report FOX 0.85 1.80 (0.95)

Here’s what we can glean from this chart at this point in the season:  the CW shows are doing mostly okay right now as even the ones performing below the network average are above the non-genre entries on that network.  Limitless and Once Upon A Time are performing right about even with their networks’ averages and should be okay for the moment.  Agents of SHIELD is just a little below the network average and is performing well enough for Disney to keep it around.  Gotham doesn’t look like it is doing great, but if you compare it to FOX’s numbers without Empire (which brings it to a 1.4 average), it looks much better.  Apart from that, FOX is likely considering a full schedule revamp that could take place as soon a mid-season and NBC has failed to stir up much nostalgia (was it too soon?) for Heroes Reborn (same for ABC as The Muppets revival continues to take a dive in the ratings).  We are still only one month into the season with a few more premieres arriving next week (including CBS’ much anticipated Supergirl), so the dust continues to settle.  But the picture is coming into better focus each week and it sure doesn’t look good for many of the genre shows airing on the broadcast networks right now.  Some major changes could be on the way at mid-season.

Here’s a quick round up of the big announcements from this last week:  Syfy announced the cancellation of Dominion after its second season and The CW indicated that Beauty and the Beast would wrap up after its upcoming fourth season (more on those at this link).  Syfy also announced the cancellation of Defiance after its third season (more on that at this link).

Ratings results for the sci fi / fantasy shows airing Monday October 12th thru Sunday October 18th (metric definitions below):

(Updated for chart activity in the cable channel Top 25 and the Weekly Nielsen Twitter Ratings Top 10)

Gotham FOX Mon 10/12 8 PM
Rating: 1.5 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.2 | StD Rating: 1.6 | Net Avg: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It held steady this week, and its still not doing too bad considering FOX’s overall struggles. It would be better if its numbers were higher, though.

Minority Report FOX Mon 10/12 9 PM
Rating: 0.7 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.1 | StD Rating: 0.9 | Net Avg: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: High

No good news for this show as its numbers remain down and FOX has cut the episode order to ten instead of thirteen.  And it could get kicked to Fridays or Saturdays at any time.

The Flash CW Tue 10/13 8 PM
Rating: 1.4 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.5 | StD Rating: 1.4 | Net Avg: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It held stead for its second Season 2 episode and continues to lead the CW’s shows.  It also tied Agents of SHIELD for the night which can’t sit well with the ABC execs.

Agents of SHIELD ABC Tue 10/13 9 PM
Rating: 1.4 | % Chng PW: -12.5% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.7 | StD Rating: 1.6 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It slipped close to a series low, though maybe the Democratic Presidential Debates can be blamed because they drew higher viewership than expected.  But the show needs to rebound if it wants to stay on track for a fourth season and I am not giving it the third season show protection which I go into in more detail at this link.

iZombie CW Tue 10/13 8 PM
Rating: 0.5 | % Chng PW: -28.6% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.2 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Net Avg: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This one dropped notably for its second Season 2 episode and it is losing well over fifty percent of the audience from its Flash lead-in.  How long will The CW put up with that?

Scream Queens FOX Tue 10/13 9 PM
Rating: 1.0 | % Chng PW: -9.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.4 | StD Rating: 1.3 | Net Avg: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

This show continues to slip and I can’t see it sticking around at these levels unless its social network presence is enough for FOX to keep it around for now considering how poorly the rest of its schedule is performing.

Limitless CBS Tue 10/13 10 PM
Rating: 1.4 | % Chng PW: -17.6% | Tot Viewers (MM): 8.0 | StD Rating: 1.7 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It dropped notably last week, was it the Democratic Presidential Debates which drew more viewers than expected?  We will see if it rebounds this week.

Chart Activity: This show slipped out of the broadcast network Top 25 based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic.  It did still place in the Top 25 based on total viewers, but it slipped to Number 22 (down from Number 14).

Arrow CW Wed 10/14 8 PM
Rating: 1.0 | % Chng PW: -9.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.5 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Net Avg: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It dropped one tick from last week, but it is still performing quite well for a CW entry and is on track for a fifth season.

Supernatural CW Wed 10/14 9 PM
Rating: 0.8 | % Chng PW: -11.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.9 | StD Rating: 0.9 | Net Avg: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It slipped a little but it is still at the best numbers it has seen since moving to Wednesdays last Spring.  It looks to be on track for a twelfth season.

Star Wars Rebels DXD Wed 10/14 9:30 PM
Rating: 0.1 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.5 | StD Rating: 0.1 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

The rating in the 18-49 demo was not spectacular for this show’s second season debut, but then it skews to a younger audience and relies just as much on merchandising as ratings.  A third season looks like a good bet.

American Horror Story FX Wed 10/14 10 PM
Rating: 2.2 | % Chng PW: -28.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.1 | StD Rating: 2.6 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

It dropped notably from its debut, but we saw the same thing last year.  Expect it to hold around these levels through Fall which are better than any other scripted programming on cable except TWD.

Chart Activity: This show was at Number 4 in the Weekly Nielsen Twitter Ratings (down from Number 1).  In the cable Top 25 based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic it was at Number 9 (down from Number 3) and in the Top 25 based on total viewers it was at Number 17 (down from Number 5).

Vampire Diaries CW Thu 10/15 8 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.4 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Net Avg: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It held steady with last week but I still consider it likely that The CW is considering wrapping it up this season or next.

Heroes Reborn NBC Thu 10/15 8 PM
Rating: 1.1 | % Chng PW: -8.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.0 | StD Rating: 1.5 | Net Avg: 1.9 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

Another drop for this show.  Maybe padding out the Heroes syndication will make it worthwhile to NBC to keep it around, but that is seeming less and less likely as the numbers slip.

The Originals CW Thu 10/15 9 PM
Rating: 0.5 | % Chng PW: +25.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.1 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Net Avg: 0.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

The only genre show that saw is numbers improve week over week!  It wasn’t by much, but at least it was something.

Sleepy Hollow FOX Thu 10/15 9 PM
Rating: 0.8 | % Chng PW: -20.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.0 | StD Rating: 0.9 | Net Avg: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: High

This show is now at CW levels and I wouldn’t be surprised if FOX didn’t kick it to Fridays or Saturdays (along with Minority Report) after the Bones crossover episodes which occurs next week.

Haven Syfy Thu 10/15 10 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: -5.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.7 | StD Rating: 0.0 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Final Season

This show is holding at about the same levels as last Fall as it airs out its final season.

Z Nation Syfy Fri 10/16 10 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: -20.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.8 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

It dropped from the prior week, but should still be okay for now.  Even if its holds at these levels, it is a cheaper production than recently cancelled Dominion and Defiance, so I believe Syfy will keep it around.

Continuum Syfy Fri 10/16 11 PM
Rating: 0.1 | % Chng PW: -28.6% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.3 | StD Rating: 0.1 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Final Season

This one didn’t draw too many viewers to its series finale but it still established enough of a fanbase to be a well-remembered sci fi entry.

Doctor Who BBCA Sat 10/17 9 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: -13.9% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.9 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

It slipped again and the show’s numbers are down in Britain as well. Is this venerable franchise starting to show fatigue?

Guardians of the Galaxy DXD Sat 10/17 9:30 PM
Rating: n/a | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 0.1 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

Ratings results pending.

Once Upon A Time ABC Sun 10/18 8 PM
Rating: 1.6 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.9 | StD Rating: 1.7 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It held steady with the prior week and it again tied for the top rated scripted show on the broadcast networks for Sunday night, so it looks okay for now.

The Walking Dead AMC Sun 10/18 9 PM
Rating: 6.2 | % Chng PW: -17.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 12.2 | StD Rating: 6.8 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

A pretty big drop from its debut numbers, that were already down from last year. But it is still far and above any other scripted programming on all of television, so no worries for this one. Expect its Season 7 renewal announcement at any time now.

Chart Activity: This show slipped to the Number 3 slot in the Weekly Nielsen Twitter Ratings, down from Number 2 the prior week.  It was Number 1 in the cable Top 25 based on the overnight ratings in the 18-49 demographic (even with the prior week) and it was Number 4 based on total viewers (down from Number 1).

The Leftovers HBO Sun 10/18 9 PM
Rating: 0.4 | % Chng PW: +52.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.8 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

This show improved notably from the past two weeks. Is it building back its audience?

The Last Man on Earth FOX Sun 10/18 9:30 PM
Rating: 1.0 | % Chng PW: -16.7% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.3 | StD Rating: 1.3 | Net Avg: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

This one is down to a series low, though all of FOX’s Sunday shows looked pretty bad. But if the network decides to do a schedule revamp, this could be one of the shows to get kicked to the curb.

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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