Cancellation Watch: Legends of Tomorrow and The 100 Have Good Debuts, Agent Carter Stumbles; Plus the Broadcast Network and Cable Scorecards

By | January 22, 2016

LegendsofTomorrowposterThis week brought quite a number of returning shows as well as several premieres and the ratings results were a mixed bag for sci fi / fantasy entries.  The CW (just call them the Broadcast Network Sci Fi Channel) did the best on the week, with all of its returns and premieres scoring decent or better numbers.  The highly anticipated spin-off from Arrow and The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, bowed on Thursday with a 1.2 rating based on the preliminary overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 3.1 million total viewers.  Those are definitely good numbers for the fifth place network and if this show can stay at or above a 1.0 average it has a good chance at a second season (though word is that The CW may do something different with the team-up concept next year because this show is so expensive).  Also on Thursday, The 100 returned for its third season and posted a 0.7 rating with two million total viewers (based on the preliminaries).  Those are the best numbers that show has seen since its first season and maybe the positive buzz it has been receiving from fans and critics has brought in new viewers.  If it can hold at that level, it is almost assured a third season, especially considering the acclaim it has been getting of late.  If it slips back to the 0.5 range, then it goes back on the bubble.  The mid-season returns for The CW shows on hiatus also pulled decent numbers for that network with The Flash at a 1.3 rating on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Arrow had a 1.1 rating while Supernatural had a 0.7 score.

Not so lucky on the week was ABC’s Agent Carter which could only muster a 0.9 rating across its two hour Season 2 premiere with 3.2 million total viewers.  That’s at a series low for the show and not a good start to its second year.  This one’s ties to the Avengers franchise helped win it a second season despite tepid numbers last year, but I have a hard time believing that a Big Four network will keep an hour long drama (that’s likely not cheap to produce) going at sub-1.0 levels, despite what the Disney brass may want.  I will be looking further at the potential fates of this one and its companion series Agents of SHIELD in an upcoming post.

Several shows saw drops in their ratings for the week that are worth noting.  Freeform’s Shadowhunters slipped nearly fifty percent to a 0.41 rating with its second episode on Tuesday, but that’s still an acceptable level for cable shows these days.  That one is also buzzing up plenty of activity on the social nets, so if it doesn’t slip any further it should be okay.  MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles slipped to a 0.31 score which is looking pretty bad for such an expensive series.  But if the international financing is there (which almost assuredly it is), then it could still be safe for a second season.  FOX’s Second Chance slipped from its already low debut numbers to only a 1.0 score on Wednesday and I expect to see it yanked from its post-American Idol timeslot at any time now and kicked to Fridays or Saturdays.  One show saw an improvement as the CBS supernatural comedy Angel from Hell edged up to a 1.4 rating on Thursday.  That’s only better by one tick from last week, and it is still the lowest rated entry in the CBS two hour Thursday comedy block.  But if it doesn’t go any lower or maybe even improves a bit more, then it has a chance.  But I do have it at a Moderate Cancellation Alert level for now.  I will have the full ratings roundup for this week’s genre shows (through this Sunday’s airings) available on Tuesday, and you can see last week’s numbers at this link.

In the broadcast network scorecard, Legends of Tomorrow enters at the Number 2 slot, though I expected it slip a few rungs over the next couple of weeks as its numbers settle.  The 100 enters at a promising Number 6 rank, and if it doesn’t slip too much then its chances look decent.  Agent Carter unfortunately enters near the bottom of the list and will almost certainly need an edict from all-powerful Disney to keep it around for another year.  Last week, I inadvertently left Galavant off the list, though you could argue it fell off because it entered at the bottom.  It remains there this week and we will have to wait and see if it can beat the odds (and the Nielsens) a second time in order to win a third 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 are getting into iffy territory.

Broadcast network scorecard based on the ratings through January 21st (metric definitions below):

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg Net Avg Var Live+7 Avg Rtg Cancel Alert
1 (1) The Flash (O) CW 1.40 0.62 0.78 2.29 Low
2 (n/a) Legends of Tomorrow (O) CW 1.20 0.62 0.58 0.00 Low
3 (2) Arrow (O) CW 1.05 0.62 0.43 1.73 Low
4 (3) Supergirl CBS 1.86 1.60 0.26 2.79 Low
5 (4) Supernatural (O) CW 0.74 0.62 0.12 1.25 Low
6 (n/a) The 100 (O) CW 0.70 0.62 0.08 0.00 Low
7 (5) Once Upon A Time (O) ABC 1.57 1.58 -0.01 2.59 Low
8 (7) iZombie (O) CW 0.56 0.62 -0.06 0.85 Moderate
9 (6) Gotham FOX 1.51 1.57 -0.06 2.65 Low
10 (8) Vampire Diaries (O) CW 0.56 0.62 -0.06 1.09 Low
11 (9) Limitless (O) CBS 1.48 1.60 -0.11 2.63 Low
12 (11) Agents of SHIELD (O) ABC 1.42 1.58 -0.16 2.39 Moderate
13 (10) Angel from Hell (O) CBS 1.43 1.60 -0.16 0.00 Moderate
14 (12) The Originals (O) CW 0.42 0.62 -0.19 0.82 Low
15 (13) The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 1.28 1.57 -0.29 2.03 Medium
16 (14) Second Chance (O) FOX 1.10 1.57 -0.47 0.00 Elevated
17 (15) Scream Queens (O) FOX 1.05 1.57 -0.51 1.89 Renewed
18 (16) Heroes Reborn (O) NBC 1.21 1.73 -0.53 2.31 Cancelled
19 (17) Sleepy Hollow (O) FOX 0.91 1.57 -0.65 1.63 High
20 (n/a) Agent Carter (O) ABC 0.90 1.58 -0.68 0.00 Moderate
21 (18) Grimm (O) (F) NBC 0.93 1.73 -0.80 1.73 Medium
22 (19) Minority Report (O) FOX 0.71 1.57 -0.86 1.24 High
23 (20) Galavant (O) ABC 0.68 1.58 -0.90 0.00 Moderate

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 20th (metric definitions below):

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 0.41 0.49 -0.08 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 0.59 n/a n/a Low
Colony USA 0.44 n/a n/a Low
The Shannara Chronicles MTV 0.39 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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