Cancellation Watch: Can The Shannara Chronicles Survive at its Current Ratings Levels? Plus the Broadcast Net and Cable Scorecards

By | February 19, 2016

shannara-chronicles-mtv-cancelledOn Tuesday, MTV’s epic fantasy series The Shannara Chronicles slipped again in the ratings, this time to a 0.32 score based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with about 800k total viewers.  Those are pretty low numbers for such an expensive series, even one that is airing on the cable networks.  The show’s season to date average across eight episodes is a 0.4 score which only slightly behind that network’s veteran series Teen Wolf and is better than the 0.3 rating Scream averaged over the Summer before getting renewed.  But then the former series is in the syndication stretch and anything from this point on is just padding to its syndication run (thus guaranteed to turn a profit), and Scream was a much cheaper show to produce (unless the network had to pay a lot to license the franchise name).  Still, at this point I don’t consider The Shannara Chronicles in too much danger, though it is right at the cusp.  I’m pretty sure this show has international financing backing it and it will enjoy a worldwide run, so I am thinking a second season was pretty much pressumed from the start.  We have seen a similar situation just recently with Syfy’s The Expanse which pulled pretty poor linear viewing numbers but still got the second season nod.  These days, the cable networks are leading the charge away for relying on the overnights (though nobody is ignoring them) and have things like international financing and a stronger push toward digital viewing as factors to help offset the loss of ad revenue from the live broadcasts.  That makes it much harder to predict the fate of cable shows because it is often difficult to tell when these intangibles are playing a significant role.  At this point, though, I believe that The Shannara Chronicles is mostly safe, though I’m sure MTV would have preferred that it pull higher numbers in the overnights.  But if the intangibles are not there as I am assuming, it might actually be On the Bubble at this point.

Other Ratings News of Note:  Agent Carter slipped yet again on Tuesday as it only averaged a 0.7 score in the overnights with 2.4 million total viewers for its double episode airing.  I discussed this show last week (at this link) and I have a hard time seeing how ABC can keep it on the schedule with the numbers at these levels (and no, the delayed viewing for the show doesn’t look that great thus far).  It has another double episode airing this coming week (to catch up from its delayed start due to the State of the Union Address) before heading into its season finale on March 1st, which could be its series finale.  Also slipping was The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow which dropped to a 0.8 rating with 2.3 million total viewers (based on the preliminaries). We already know that show may not return in its current format next year because it is so costly, and if it sinks much lower it will definitely be at marginal at best levels.  Also Thursday, You, Me, and the Apocalypse slipped to a 0.6 rating with 2.6 million total viewers.  Ratings expectations are not as high for that one because it comes as part on an international partnership, but at these levels it almost certainly will not return to NBC’s schedule next year.  Most of the other Monday through Thursday sci fi / fantasy shows remained mostly steady with the prior weeks and I will have the full roundup for this week’s ratings through Sunday posted next Tuesday.  You can see last week’s numbers at this link.

The Scorecards: There was not much movement in the broadcast network scorecard this week, though I do expect Agents of SHIELD to start slipping down now that ABC’s powerhouse Thursday lineup is back from hiatus and the network’s overall ratings averages will start edging up.  The scorecard ranks all of the broadcast net sci fi / fantasy shows’ ratings performance vs. their network’s 2016 season to date average for non-sports, non-special, 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 February 18th (metric definitions below):

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg 2016 Net Avg Var Live+7 Avg Rtg Cancel Alert
1 (1) The X-Files (O) FOX 3.32 1.68 1.64 n/a Low
2 (2) The Flash (O) CW 1.42 0.69 0.73 2.29 Low
3 (3) Arrow (O) CW 1.02 0.69 0.33 1.73 Low
4 (4) Legends of Tomorrow (O) CW 0.98 0.69 0.29 n/a Low
5 (5) Once Upon A Time (O) ABC 1.57 1.31 0.26 2.59 Low
6 (6) Lucifer FOX 1.93 1.68 0.25 n/a Low
7 (7) Supergirl CBS 1.82 1.61 0.22 2.79 Low
8 (8) Agents of SHIELD (O) ABC 1.42 1.31 0.11 2.39 Moderate
9 (9) Supernatural (O) CW 0.74 0.69 0.06 1.25 Low
10 (11) Heroes Reborn (O) NBC 1.21 1.30 -0.09 2.31 Cancelled
11 (10) The 100 (O) CW 0.58 0.69 -0.11 n/a Low
12 (13) iZombie (O) CW 0.55 0.69 -0.14 0.85 Moderate
13 (12) Limitless (O) CBS 1.45 1.61 -0.15 2.63 Moderate
14 (14) Vampire Diaries (O) (F) CW 0.53 0.69 -0.16 1.09 Low
15 (16) Gotham FOX 1.51 1.68 -0.17 2.65 Low
16 (15) Angel from Hell (O) CBS 1.42 1.61 -0.19 n/a Cancelled
17 (17) The Originals (O) (F) CW 0.41 0.69 -0.28 0.82 Low
18 (19) Grimm (O) (F) NBC 0.91 1.30 -0.39 1.73 Medium
19 (21) The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 1.28 1.68 -0.40 2.03 Medium
20 (18) You Me and the Apocalypse NBC 0.88 1.30 -0.43 n/a Moderate
21 (20) Agent Carter (O) ABC 0.82 1.31 -0.49 n/a Medium
22 (23) Scream Queens (O) FOX 1.05 1.68 -0.62 1.89 Renewed
23 (22) Galavant (O) ABC 0.64 1.31 -0.67 n/a Moderate
24 (24) Sleepy Hollow (O) (F) FOX 0.90 1.68 -0.78 1.63 High
25 (25) Second Chance (O) (F) FOX 0.80 1.68 -0.88 n/a High
26 (26) Minority Report (O) FOX 0.71 1.68 -0.97 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 February 17th (metric definitions below):

Series Net Std Avg Prior Yr Avg Var Cancel Alert
The Walking Dead AMC 6.69 7.37 -0.68 Renewed
American Horror Story FX 1.49 1.91 -0.42 Renewed
The Librarians TNT 0.52 0.92 -0.39 Renewed
Colony USA 0.41 n/a n/a Renewed
Teen Wolf MTV 0.42 0.49 -0.07 Renewed
Doctor Who BBCA 0.37 n/a n/a Renewed
The Magicians Syfy 0.33 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 0.14 0.15 -0.01 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 0.49 n/a n/a Low
The Shannara Chronicles MTV 0.40 n/a n/a Low
The Leftovers HBO 0.33 0.77 -0.44 Final Season
Lost Girl Syfy 0.12 0.20 -0.08 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.

2016 Net Avg:  The network’s season to date ratings average for 2016 only based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic for non-sports, non-special, non-repeat broadcasts.  Note the the post NFL Championship debut of The X-Files is not included in FOX’s averages because it is non-representative of normal Prime Time performance and it skews the numbers too much

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *