Our (new) ongoing post pointing out struggling sci fi shows that fans need to support and also providing information on campaigns already in place to support slumping or already cancelled shows.
The Nielsen ratings (particularly the overnights) continue to drive network decision-making even though we all know that system is painfully outdated and does not give a completely accurate sampling of the audience. In the past, there was little we could do about it beyond write-in drives or stunt campaigns like when the Jericho fans sent tons of nuts to CBS. But nowadays we have a very effective tool at our fingertips that can help draw attention to these slumping shows: social media.
Twitter is probably the most important at the moment and the place that fans should focus the majority of their attention. They should organize and get as many people live-tweeting during episodes as possible. That brings attention to the show and also proves that there is a substantial audience watching when the show is first aired. I know that these days we prefer to watch an episode of one of our favorite shows on our own time instead of the network’s schedule, but until we have a significant shift in the current viewing model (which could be just a few years away), the networks want to know that people are watching when the advertising (which pays for the production costs of an episode) is running. And live-tweeting during an episode develops a community around the show that lets fans across the country enjoy it together and discuss the latest developments. I do know that the networks pay attention to the Twitter stats, though I don’t know how much that figures into their decision-making at this point. But if fans build up a sizable online movement supporting a show, I truly believe that could make a difference.
The other social media sites should play into this as well. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever the latest one is can all provide a means for fans to support their shows and get the word out for other people to start watching. It gives us the ability to immediately demonstrate to the networks that their is an audience out there that the Nielsen’s are missing and I believe that by using the social nets the fans have a chance of swaying the networks and helping their shows even if they are struggling in the ratings.
Here are three that should be pretty high on the Call to Action list at the moment and I will be focusing on others over the coming weeks:
The 100 (CW): This show is currently scheduled for a mid-season return, but it is not currently on strong footing because its ratings have been low across its first two seasons. And it doesn’t get the coveted third season show status like The Originals because of its shortened episode orders. The CW’s boss has already called this show out and said that he expects it to have its “Breaking Bad moment” when people discover it on the streaming services leading to a rise in the ratings for its broadcast episodes. And the second season of The 100 is now on Netflix (the first has been there for a while), so fans need to start making noise on the social networks to get people watching in preparation for the upcoming third season. Otherwise, if the show’s numbers remain low, I don’t believe The CW has the leeway to float another ratings slacker. But if the fans step up and start drawing attention to this show, which has already received a fair amount of favorable press, the could help turn it into the next major sci fi franchise.
Minority Report (FOX): Is anybody watching this show? If so, then they need to take action right now. For all practical purposes, this one appears to be headed to cancellation after its episode order was shortened to ten from the originally ordered thirteen. And its last two episodes run over the next two Mondays. If fans can stage a Twitter campaign to draw interest and the ratings improve, maybe FOX will think twice on this one. The last five episodes are on Hulu as well, so if viewing goes up there, maybe it will make a difference. It’s a long shot, but it needs to happen right now. [Update 11/21/15] Info on an existing campaign to bring attention to this show has been added to the comments section and you see their Facebook page at this link.
Heroes Reborn (NBC): The revival of this once proud franchise has definitely underwhelmed in the ratings, but that doesn’t mean that another season couldn’t happen. This one is basically just padding out the Heroes syndication package (and NBC owns the show so it keeps the profits), so its numbers don’t have to be too high. If fans can make some noise for this one on the social nets, that may make NBC think about bringing it back for another round.
The 4400 (USA): This series was cancelled all the way back in 2007, but fans have not given up on it yet. A new effort has emerged over the last few months trying to convince Netflix to bring the show back for a 5th season (the 4th ended on a cliffhanger), and it has the support of some of the original cast and crew. The “Bring Back The 4400” has an active petition going, a Facebook page, and a Twitter site (see links below). Fans of that series who want to see more episodes should definitely get involved.
If you have an active campaign to support a struggling sci fi / fantasy show or save a cancelled one, send us the information at cancelledscifi [at] gmail [dot] com and we will pass it along.