Sci Fi Cancellation Watch: As the Ratings Remain Low for the Broadcast Networks, Is FOX the First to Go Into Panic Mode? Plus the Full Ratings Round Up

By | November 3, 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-cancelled

The ratings report has not be good for this new FOX series.

This last week Supergirl debuted on CBS and brought a bit of ratings good news to the broadcast networks, but there wasn’t much else for the old school nets to be happy about as most of the other numbers remained down across the board.  We are currently seeing historically low ratings for a Fall season and I am expecting one or more of the broadcast nets to go into full panic mode by about mid-season and start making some drastic moves.  FOX is probably the most likely candidate as its schedule has been an absolute disaster this season.  If it weren’t for last season’s surprise mega-hit Empire propping it up, that net’s numbers would be looking like those of The CW from just a few seasons ago.  In fact, its airing of the World Series last Wednesday drew lower ratings than Empire typically does meaning that the sports event often coveted by the networks dragged down FOX’s average.  The network did get a bit of boost from the Simpsons Halloween “Treehouse of Horror” episode to offset it, but the fact is that the numbers are in the toilet right now and the other Big Four nets are not that much further ahead.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if FOX didn’t start making some drastic scheduling moves as early as mid-season and its genre entries could be on the wrong end of that.  Minority Report wraps up at the end of Fall as it has been for all practical purposes cancelled when its episode order was cut from thirteen to ten.  Scream Queens was scheduled as a “limited run” series and after it wraps up its thirteen episodes or so it will likely just get tacked on to the American Horror Story syndication package as a bonus season (FOX owns both of those shows).  Sleepy Hollow will almost certainly go for no more than thirteen episodes this season before it faces the Network Executioner (whom it dodged last season).  The Last Man on Earth seems likely to be off the schedule for good by mid-season or end of season at the latest.  And that leaves Gotham as the only survivor, but even that one has no guarantees.  Its numbers are way down in its second season, though that’s in line with FOX’s schedule in general and the show is actually one of their best rated scripted entries.  If it can hold (which it did against the premiere of Supergirl), it should be okay.  If it slips much further, though, its fate will be in doubt.  And there will be more purging from all of the broadcast networks as most of the genre shows are performing below average this season (watch for the Scorecard tomorrow).  And as for the fifth place network, The CW’s sci fi / fantasy shows are actually propping it up right now, though mostly on the strength of The Flash (which is outpacing many Big Four shows), Arrow, and Supernatural.  When you look at the numbers of most of that network’s other shows, you have to wonder how they can keep their doors open and maybe they won’t for much longer.

Here’s a quick round up of the big news and announcements from this last week:  Supergirl soared high for its debut on CBS.  The Walking Dead was renewed for a seventh season.  Ash vs. Evil Dead received a second season renewal before its first season began.

Ratings results for the sci fi / fantasy shows airing Monday October 26th thru Sunday November 1st (metric definitions below):

(Updated for chart activity in the broadcast network and cable channel Top 25)

Gotham FOX Mon 10/26 8 PM
Rating: 1.5 | % Chng PW: +15.4% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.3 | StD Rating: 1.5 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

Its numbers improved despite the Supergirl debut over on CBS. Will it be able to hold at these levels? If so, it could survive on FOX since the rest of that network’s schedule is a disaster this season.

Supergirl CBS Mon 10/26 8 PM
Rating: 3.1 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 13.0 | StD Rating: 3.1 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: High

Supergirl soared in the Nielsens with her debut, but expect her to come back down to Earth a bit for the second episode because that has been the trend. I still think it will perform well enough to get a second season, though.

Chart Activity: This show’s debut came it at Number 4 in the Weekly Nielsen Twitter Ratings meaning that it successfully tapped into the younger audience CBS was looking for.  It also bowed in the broadcast network Top 25 based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic at Number 11 and the list based on total viewers at Number 13.

Minority Report FOX Mon 10/26 9 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.9 | StD Rating: 0.8 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: High

Apparently FOX will not be rescheduling this show for its burnoff run. Four more episodes and this one is off to the TV Wasteland.

The Flash CW Tue 10/27 8 PM
Rating: 1.4 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.4 | StD Rating: 1.4 | Net Avg: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This show has held steady for four weeks in a row and it tied Agents of SHIELD and Limitless for the night with its most recent episode. If The CW’s other shows were performing around this level, it could be giving FOX a run this season.

Agents of SHIELD ABC Tue 10/27 9 PM
Rating: 1.4 | % Chng PW: -6.7% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.8 | StD Rating: 1.5 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It slipped, but perhaps it gets a Mulligan because of the World Series. It’s numbers are right on the cusp of what I believe is passable, and if it gets much lower I have hashed out several scenarios for its fate at this link.

iZombie CW Tue 10/27 8 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: +20.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.5 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Net Avg: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

It improved slightly from the prior week, but it is still losing a fair amount of its lead-in from The Flash.  I expect to see this show get rescheduled at mid-season.

Scream Queens FOX Tue 10/27 9 PM
Rating: Preempted | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 1.2 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Preempted for the World Series.  Returns this week.

Limitless CBS Tue 10/27 10 PM
Rating: 1.4 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 7.5 | StD Rating: 1.6 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

A third week at the 1.4 ratings level based on the overnights (the same number The Flash is pulling in the 8 PM EST hour over on the fifth place network) and its prospects are not as promising now. It did get the full season order, but at these numbers a second season is definitely not guaranteed.

Chart Activity: This show fell completely out of the broadcast network Top 25 last week, though it may have a chance of making it back to the total viewers list based on its improvements from the current week.

Arrow CW Wed 10/28 8 PM
Rating: 0.9 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.6 | StD Rating: 1.0 | Net Avg: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Low

This show held steady with the prior week and it is currently The CW’s second highest rated show, so it is safe.

Supernatural CW Wed 10/28 9 PM
Rating: 0.8 | % Chng PW: +33.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.0 | StD Rating: 0.8 | Net Avg: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It’s numbers improved from the prior week as it seen a revival of sorts ratings-wise this year.  A twelfth season seems like a good bet if the cast and crew are up for it.

Star Wars Rebels DXD Wed 10/28 9:30 PM
Rating: 0.1 | % Chng PW: +8.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.5 | StD Rating: 0.1 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

This show continues to hold mostly steady and it is almost guaranteed a third season because it is the face of the franchise on television right now.

American Horror Story FX Wed 10/28 10 PM
Rating: 1.6 | % Chng PW: -4.2% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.0 | StD Rating: 2.1 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

It dropped just a little bit from the prior week and maybe it will finally start to hold at around these levels.  It is still the highest rated scripted show on cable not named The Walking Dead, so it is safe for now.

Chart Activity:  It improved to Number 3 in the Weekly Nielsen Twitter Ratings (up from Number 4), so it is still registering well with the younger, Twitter-active audience.  In the cable Top 25 based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic it was at Number 5 (up from Number 6) and in the Top 25 based on total viewers it was at Number 18 (down from Number 13).

Vampire Diaries CW Thu 10/29 8 PM
Rating: 0.6 | % Chng PW: +20.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.2 | StD Rating: 0.6 | Net Avg: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It was up slightly from the prior week, but I still believe this one is heading toward a series finale this year or next.

Heroes Reborn NBC Thu 10/29 8 PM
Rating: 1.0 | % Chng PW: -9.1% | Tot Viewers (MM): 3.9 | StD Rating: 1.3 | Net Avg: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

It dropped again and you have to ask how much lower it can go. I realize it is padding out the Heroes syndication package, but I have a hard time seeing it sticking around past its “limited run”.

The Originals CW Thu 10/29 9 PM
Rating: 0.4 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 1.1 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Net Avg: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It remained low, but it has the third season show status so it is almost guaranteed a fourth.  That will almost certainly be its last, though.

Sleepy Hollow FOX Thu 10/29 9 PM
Rating: 1.1 | % Chng PW: +37.5% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.6 | StD Rating: 0.9 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: High

It got a boost because of the Bones crossover episode. Maybe they should just merge the two shows because both saw their ratings improve for the week! Expect the numbers to drop again next week.

Haven Syfy Thu 10/29 10 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: 0.0% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.6 | StD Rating: 0.0 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Final Season

This show continues to hold steady as it airs out its final season.

Grimm NBC Fri 10/30 9 PM
Rating: 1.1 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.0 | StD Rating: 1.1 | Net Avg: 1.8 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

This one returned low and I have to wonder if NBC hasn’t told the producers to keep a close eye on the end game as this could be the show’s last season.

Z Nation Syfy Fri 10/30 10 PM
Rating: 0.4 | % Chng PW: +23.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.9 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

It improved slightly from the prior week, did the George R.R. Martin pop by as a zombie help its numbers?

Doctor Who BBCA Sat 10/31 9 PM
Rating: 0.2 | % Chng PW: -56.8% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.6 | StD Rating: 0.4 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

Its numbers dropped on Saturday, but that was likely a Halloween hit.  We will see if it rebounds next week.

Ash vs Evil Dead Starz Sat 10/31 9 PM
Rating: 0.1 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.4 | StD Rating: 0.1 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

This show bowed to pretty low overnights, but then it aired on Halloween and the pay channels compile the numbers from all of the airings from the week.  Plus, it has already been renewed for a second season.

Guardians of the Galaxy DXD Sat 10/31 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.  Check the show’s page on this site later in the week for the updated numbers.

Once Upon A Time ABC Sun 11/1 8 PM
Rating: 1.5 | % Chng PW: -6.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 4.8 | StD Rating: 1.7 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: Low

It slipped slightly, but it faced stiff competition from Football and the World Series.  Plus, it was the top rated scripted show on the broadcast nets on Sunday, so it is safe for now.

The Librarians TNT Sun 11/1 8 PM
Rating: 0.5 | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): 2.1 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

It returned lower than last season, but it has much more competition than it typically faced on Sundays as it bowed in December  last year (after The Walking Dead wrapped up its Fall run).  And these numbers are still decent enough for a cable entry these days.

Chart Activity: This show was a regular entry in the cable Top 25 based on total viewers during its first season, but failed to crack that list with its Season 2 debut seeing as it has tougher competition this year.

The Walking Dead AMC Sun 11/1 9 PM
Rating: 6.8 | % Chng PW: +1.3% | Tot Viewers (MM): 13.3 | StD Rating: 6.8 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Low

Anybody really think this one was going to go on a downward spiral?  It may not be at its Season 5 all-time highs, but it still counts as a ratings juggernaut and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Chart Activity: This show held steady with last week at Number 2 in the Weekly Nielsen Twitter Ratings.  It also held at Number 1 in the cable Top 25 based on the overnight ratings in the 18-49 demographic and at Number 2 based on total viewers.

The Leftovers HBO Sun 11/1 9 PM
Rating: 0.3 | % Chng PW: +7.7% | Tot Viewers (MM): 0.6 | StD Rating: 0.3 | Net Avg: n/a | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

It held mostly steady, but I still have to wonder if these numbers are good enough to get it a third season.

The Last Man on Earth FOX Sun 11/1 9:30 PM
Rating: Preempted | % Chng PW: n/a | Tot Viewers (MM): n/a | StD Rating: 1.3 | Net Avg: 1.7 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Preempted for the World Series.  Returns this week.

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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