Cancellation Watch: Flash / Arrow Crossover Boosts the Latter’s Ratings, Plus a Recap of the Week and the Broadcast Network Scorecard

By | December 4, 2015

[Updated: Cable scorecard added]

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week brought another crossover with The CW’s The Flash and Arrow and the double episode also sets the stage for the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow series that will debut at mid-season.  For the former series, the ratings stayed pretty much the same as what it has been seeing, a 1.4 score based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic.  That’s right in line with The Flash‘s season average, but Arrow saw a nice boost as it also posted a 1.4 rating.  That’s up notably from the 1.0 score that the show has been averaging so far in its fourth year.  It’s also a good sign for the upcoming LoT series as I am guessing it will pull at least Arrow level numbers if not higher, though it does face some pretty stiff competition in its Thursday 8 PM EST timeslot (premiere is January 21st).

On Monday night, the battle of the superhero shows got interesting as CBS’ Supergirl could only tie FOX’s Gotham in the same hour with both posting a 1.6 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demo (though the former series won in total viewers with 8 million vs. 4.5).  Supergirl did get the full season pickup (or close enough with twenty total eps), though I’m betting that was because CBS was up against a deadline to make a decision and at least felt confident enough to give it the seven episode extension to prove itself.  But it will be hard for CBS to justify bringing back this rather expensive series for a second season if it holds at these levels or dips any further.

Over on ABC, Agents of SHIELD remained low at only a 1.3 rating, and I’m thinking this one is pushing its luck too far.  The TV Grim Reaper will tell you that it is guaranteed a fourth year because of its third season show status (it’s worth it for the network to foot the bill for another season because of the money it will make in its syndication run).  But I’m not so sure on this one, especially with Marvel’s Most Wanted in the pipeline, and I previously outlined at several possible scenarios for its fate (as well as Agent Carter) at this link.

On FX, American Horror Story slipped to a new low of a 1.2 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demo.  That show has already been renewed for a sixth season, but its ratings constitution is nothing like it used to be and I have to wonder how much more life it has.  Six seasons gets it a decent–if not ideal–syndication package of around eighty or more episodes (depending on how they edit the extended eps to fit into an hour).  And with FOX’s Scream Queens continuing to tank in the ratings (it pulled another 0.9 score on Tuesday), that one looks like limited-run-and-done and I theorize it will get tacked on to the AHS syndication package (FOX owns both shows).  If that happens, it gets AHS to between 90 and 100 eps which should make for a nice (and profitable) encore run.

The ratings results for most of the other sci fi / fantasy shows was in line with what we have been seeing and I will have the full rundown of those results next Tuesday (no holiday delays this time).  You can see the prior week’s rating round up at this link.

Once Upon A Time dropped in the broadcast net scorecard from Number 5 to Number 9 once I tallied the numbers this week, though just because of a minor change (two one hundredths of a point) to its season to date average vs. the network average.  It is still looks to be on track for a sixth season.  The scorecard ranks all of the broadcast net sci fi / fantasy shows ratings performance vs. their network’s season to date average for non-sports, non-repeat programming during the week (based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic).  Shows at or above their network’s average should be okay, whereas those slipping notably below (hello Agents of SHIELD) are getting into iffy territory.

Broadcast network scorecard based on the ratings through November 30th:

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg Net Avg Var Live+7 Avg Rtg Cancel Alert
1 (1) The Flash (O) CW 1.43 0.61 0.82 2.32 Low
2 (2) Supergirl CBS 1.98 1.59 0.39 3.43 Low
3 (3) Arrow (O) CW 1.00 0.61 0.39 1.50 Low
4 (4) Supernatural (O) CW 0.73 0.61 0.12 1.25 Low
5 (7) iZombie (O) CW 0.57 0.61 -0.04 0.00 Low
5 (7) Vampire Diaries (O) CW 0.57 0.61 -0.04 1.12 Low
7 (6) Limitless (O) CBS 1.54 1.59 -0.05 2.74 Low
8 (9) Gotham FOX 1.51 1.57 -0.06 2.70 Low
9 (5) Once Upon A Time (O) ABC 1.60 1.66 -0.06 2.69 Low
10 (10) The Originals (O) CW 0.41 0.61 -0.20 0.83 Low
11 (10) Agents of SHIELD (O) ABC 1.45 1.66 -0.21 2.54 Low
12 (12) The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 1.26 1.57 -0.31 2.00 Elevated
13 (14) Scream Queens (O) FOX 1.09 1.57 -0.48 2.13 Elevated
14 (13) Heroes Reborn (O) NBC 1.28 1.77 -0.49 2.36 Medium
15 (15) Sleepy Hollow (O) FOX 0.91 1.57 -0.66 1.66 High
16 (16) Grimm (O) (F) NBC 0.98 1.77 -0.79 1.77 Moderate
17 (17) Minority Report (O) FOX 0.71 1.57 -0.86 1.32 High

The cable scorecard is more subjective because it is not as easy (or useful) to compile network averages for the cable channels. So this is ranked based on the Cancellation Alert status of this shows from least to most likely to get cancelled.

Cable Scorecard based on ratings through November 30th:

Series Net Std Avg Prior Yr Avg Var Cancel Alert
The Walking Dead AMC 6.68 7.37 -0.69 Renewed
American Horror Story FX 1.74 1.91 -0.17 Renewed
Z Nation (O) (F) Syfy 0.33 0.48 -0.15 Renewed
Ash vs Evil Dead STARZ 0.15 n/a n/a Renewed
Star Wars Rebels DXD 0.13 0.15 -0.02 Renewed
Guardians of the Galaxy DXD 0.10 n/a n/a Renewed
Into the Badlands AMC 2.63 n/a n/a Low
The Librarians TNT 0.51 0.92 -0.41 Low
Doctor Who BBCA 0.37 n/a n/a Low
The Leftovers HBO 0.31 0.77 -0.46 Moderate
Haven Syfy 0.18 0.22 -0.03 Cancelled

Metric Definitions

Broadcast Network Scorecard:

Rank (PW): Current rank based on the variance of a show’s season to date ratings average vs. its network’s season to date ratings average (see metric definitions below).  The number in parenthesis is the prior week’s rank.

Series: (O) indicates the show is owned/produced by the network and/or a sister studio. (F) indicates the show airs on Friday when ratings expectations are lower.

Std Avg:  The show’s season to date ratings average based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic.

Net Avg:  The network’s season to date ratings average based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic for non-sports, non-special, non-repeat broadcasts.

Variance:  The variance between a show’s season to date average and the network’s season to date average as defined above.  The higher the variance, the better a show is performing vs. the network mean.

Live+7 Avg Rtg:  The show’s season to date ratings average based on delayed viewing up to seven days past the live broadcast.  This data is not available for all shows.

Cancel 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.

Cable Scorecard:

Series: (O) indicates the show is owned/produced by the network and/or a sister studio. (F) indicates the show airs on Friday when ratings expectations are lower.

Std Avg:  The show’s season to date ratings average based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic.

Prior Yr Avg:  The show’s season to date ratings average from its prior season (if applicable) based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic.

Variance:  The variance between a show’s season to date average and its Prior Year average as defined above.

Cancel 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.

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