Cancellation Watch: Scream Queens Gets Renewed, Shadowhunters Debuts Well, Second Chance Starts Off In Trouble, Plus the Broadcast Network and Cable Scorecards

By | January 15, 2016

(Updated for Scream Queens Renewal Announcement)

FOX announced this morning that their season long comedy/horror anthology series Scream Queens would be coming back for a new season and with a new story.  That news comes as a bit of a surprise because the ratings have been quite low for the show.  It has averaged only a 1.1 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic, and it has been pretty low on the scorecard (see below) most of the season.  But the show has drummed up plenty of activity on the social networks and FOX claims it performs well with the 18-34 demographic and they also said it is the Number 1 new show on video on demand (I don’t know if that is among FOX shows only or all shows available VOD).  The network also touted its delayed viewing gains, but its percentage increase is no higher than Heroes Reborn and those stats did not help that show (more on that at this link).  Scream Queens has one additional factor in its favor: I believe that it could get packaged with American Horror Story (FOX owns both shows) for syndication.  That means that the network already knows it will make money on a second season of SQ because AHS is heading into the syndication stretch.  This may also be another indicator of the shift that is coming away from primary reliance on the Nielsen results for a show’s survival.  That hasn’t been the case for Minority Report (also a FOX show) or Heroes Reborn this season (the networks will probably tell you differently, though), but maybe we are making some progress away from the Nieslen tyranny.

shadowhunters-bannerThree shows debuted this week, though the numbers for USA’s Colony won’t be available until later today so I will cover that one next week (but I will be posting the results on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site as soon as they are available).  On Tuesday, Shadowhunters had a good bow for Freeform (formerly ABC Family) and took good advantage of its Pretty Little Liars lead-in (unlike Stitchers last Summer) as it scored a 0.76 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 1.8 million total viewers.  That is definitely a good performance for a cable series these days and apparently the show attracted a lot of fans from the Mortal Instruments books to check out the premiere.  If Shadowhunters can hold at around these levels, it’s almost assured a second season, and even if it slips, Stitchers got renewed last year with only a 0.3 ratings average in the overnights.  The second premiere this week did not fare so well as FOX’s Frankenstein spin Second Chance could only muster a 1.2 rating with 4.7 million total viewers.  That network continues to strike out with sci fi / fantasy offerings this season and I see a schedule change coming for this one pretty soon.  The broadcast nets in general haven’t done too much show-shifting this season, but I can’t see FOX wasting the Wednesday post-American Idol hour on a show that appears DOA.  Unless Second Chance improves next week (highly unlikely), I see the network yanking the show and kicking it to Fridays or Saturdays pretty quickly.  It’s also possible that one could get pulled altogether as FOX is trying to recover from its disastrous Fall, though they may not have anything waiting in the wings to replace it.

On Tuesday night, MTV’s two fantasy shows Teen Wolf and The Shannara Chronicles both slipped in the ratings, pulling a 0.39 and 0.38 score respectively.  The former show is in no danger as it has already been renewed for a sixth season.  The latter show is definitely an expensive entry and I don’t see how these numbers can keep it going.  But I have to believe that it has international financing backing it which could help win it a second season.  And speaking of expensive genre shows, Syfy’s The Expanse held steady from the prior week at 0.22 rating.  That one has already been renewed for a second year which could give hope to fellow costly entry The Shannara Chronicles.  On Wednesday night, FX’s American Horror Story improved to a 1.2 rating with 2.2 million total viewers for its season finale.  It has been renewed for a sixth season, but you have to wonder how much longer it can stick around if its viewership drop-off continues.  On Thursday, NBC’s Heroes Reborn held low at a 1.0 rating with 3.8 million total viewers (based on the preliminaries) and it also learned this week that it will not be coming back for a second season.  And on CBS, Angel from Hell slipped to a 1.3 rating wth 6.9 million total viewers (based on the prelims) for its second episode.  That’s quite a drop-off from the other Thursday CBS comedies and if it doesn’t improve quick it could find itself in trouble.

In our first broadcast network scorecard for mid-season, Angel from Hell enters at about the midway point and Second Chance bows several rungs below that.  And the scorecard has been predicting the Heroes Reborn cancellation as that show has been in the bottom third of the list for a while.  Most of the other movement was incidental and a lot of these shows have not returned from hiatus yet, so we will see some settling over the next few weeks.  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 are getting into iffy territory.

Broadcast network scorecard based on the ratings through January 14th:

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg Net Avg Var Live+7 Avg Rtg Cancel Alert
1 (1) The Flash (O) CW 1.41 0.62 0.79 2.29 Low
2 (2) Arrow (O) CW 1.04 0.62 0.42 1.73 Low
3 (3) Supergirl CBS 1.87 1.60 0.27 2.79 Low
4 (4) Supernatural (O) CW 0.74 0.62 0.12 1.25 Low
5 (7) Once Upon A Time (O) ABC 1.57 1.61 -0.04 2.59 Low
6 (5) Gotham FOX 1.51 1.56 -0.05 2.65 Low
7 (8) iZombie (O) CW 0.56 0.62 -0.06 0.85 Moderate
8 (9) Vampire Diaries (O) CW 0.56 0.62 -0.06 1.09 Low
9 (6) Limitless (O) CBS 1.51 1.60 -0.09 2.63 Low
10 (n/a) Angel from Hell (O) CBS 1.45 1.60 -0.15 0.00 Low
11 (11) Agents of SHIELD (O) ABC 1.42 1.61 -0.19 2.39 Moderate
12 (10) The Originals (O) CW 0.42 0.62 -0.20 0.82 Low
13 (12) The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 1.28 1.56 -0.28 2.03 Elevated
14 (n/a) Second Chance (O) FOX 1.20 1.56 -0.36 0.00 Elevated
15 (13) Scream Queens (O) FOX 1.05 1.56 -0.51 1.89 Elevated
16 (14) Heroes Reborn (O) NBC 1.23 1.77 -0.54 2.31 Medium
17 (15) Sleepy Hollow (O) FOX 0.91 1.56 -0.65 1.63 High
18 (16) Grimm (O) (F) NBC 0.93 1.77 -0.83 1.73 Medium
19 (17) Minority Report (O) FOX 0.71 1.56 -0.85 1.24 High

The cable scorecard is more subjective than the broadcast net version 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 these shows from least to most likely to get cancelled.

Cable Scorecard based on ratings through January 13th:

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 1.49 1.91 -0.42 Renewed
The Librarians TNT 0.52 0.92 -0.39 Renewed
Teen Wolf MTV 0.43 0.49 -0.06 Renewed
Doctor Who BBCA 0.37 n/a n/a Renewed
Z Nation (O) (F) Syfy 0.33 0.48 -0.15 Renewed
The Expanse Syfy 0.21 n/a n/a Renewed
Ash vs Evil Dead STARZ 0.16 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 1.79 n/a n/a Low
Shadowhunters Free 0.76 n/a n/a Low
The Shannara Chronicles MTV 0.43 n/a n/a Low
The Leftovers HBO 0.33 0.77 -0.44 Final Season

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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