Cancellation Watch: Is Limitless This Year’s Forever? Plus the Scorecards

By | April 8, 2016

limitless-open-your-mindOn the Bubble: The ratings remain low, but the renewal fever continues to be strong among the broadcast networks, with Lucifer and Grimm as the latest beneficiaries. But not every show will escape the Network Executioner this year and I have to wonder if CBS freshman series Limitless might be one of the ones to fall short. That show has thus far tracked a course very similar to ABC’s Forever from last year, which ended in cancellation. Both are procedurals with genre elements and both are known for their lighter, wittier approach. Both of them were scheduled in the Tuesday 10 PM timeslot which has a hard time sustaining an audience. Both started out with decent ratings and both experienced good delayed viewing gains. Both also saw their numbers drop, in part due to frequent preemptions and repeat airings scheduled by the networks. Both have also developed a loyal and vocal fanbase, though that was not enough to save Forever from getting cancelled last year. Limitless currently has two episodes left in its current season and its numbers have been down throughout 2016. I definitely consider it a toss-up at best for renewal at this point, despite claims by the CBS boss that all of the network’s freshman shows will get renewed. It doesn’t help that the show’s numbers slipped again this week (back to a 1.1 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demo), but that is in part doe to last week’s preemption which stumped its prior momentum.  A Call to Action is definitely needed by the show’s fans, though I’m not certain how much that will register with the stodgier CBS execs who may not give much weight to social network activity.  But it can’t hurt to make some noise in support of the show because its future looks murky at the moment.

The Scorecards: There was not a whole lot of movement on the broadcast network scorecard this week, and expect these numbers to remain mostly stable at this point in the season, though the FOX entries could slip with Empire back on the schedule and skewing the results.  Shows from that network like Sleepy Hollow, Minority Report, and Second Chance are already pretty close (or at) the bottom of the list, though, so they can’t sink much further.  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 April 6th (metric definitions below):

Links are to the show pages on this site where status updates and season to date numbers have been updated through Wednesday.

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg 2016 Net Avg Var Live+7 Avg Rtg Cancel Alert
1 (1) The X-Files (O) FOX 3.17 1.46 1.71 4.90 Low
2 (2) The Flash (O) CW 1.39 0.64 0.75 2.31 Renewed
3 (3) Arrow (O) CW 0.98 0.64 0.34 1.66 Renewed
4 (4) Legends of Tomorrow (O) CW 0.90 0.64 0.26 1.64 Renewed
5 (5) Supergirl CBS 1.72 1.54 0.17 2.60 Low
6 (6) Lucifer FOX 1.54 1.46 0.08 2.75 Moderate
7 (8) Supernatural (O) CW 0.72 0.64 0.08 1.23 Renewed
8 (7) Once Upon A Time (O) ABC 1.43 1.36 0.07 2.47 Renewed
9 (9) Gotham FOX 1.47 1.46 0.01 2.61 Renewed
10 (10) Agents of SHIELD (O) ABC 1.27 1.36 -0.09 2.33 Renewed
11 (12) iZombie (O) CW 0.54 0.64 -0.11 0.85 Renewed
12 (11) The 100 (O) CW 0.53 0.64 -0.11 0.95 Renewed
13 (13) Angel from Hell (O) CBS 1.42 1.54 -0.12 1.90 Cancelled
14 (14) Vampire Diaries (O) (F) CW 0.50 0.64 -0.14 0.99 Renewed
15 (15) Limitless (O) CBS 1.38 1.54 -0.17 2.46 Moderate
16 (16) Heroes Reborn (O) NBC 1.21 1.41 -0.20 2.13 Cancelled
17 (18) The Originals (O) (F) CW 0.41 0.64 -0.23 0.78 Renewed
18 (17) The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 1.22 1.46 -0.23 2.00 Medium
19 (19) Scream Queens (O) FOX 1.05 1.46 -0.40 1.89 Renewed
20 (20) Grimm (O) (F) NBC 0.92 1.41 -0.49 1.71 Medium
21 (21) Agent Carter (O) ABC 0.80 1.36 -0.56 1.43 Medium
22 (22) Sleepy Hollow (O) (F) FOX 0.83 1.46 -0.63 1.51 High
23 (23) You Me and the Apocalypse NBC 0.69 1.41 -0.72 n/a Elevated
24 (24) Galavant (O) ABC 0.64 1.36 -0.72 0.85 Moderate
25 (25) Minority Report (O) FOX 0.71 1.46 -0.75 1.24 High
26 (26) Second Chance (O) (F) FOX 0.65 1.46 -0.81 0.88 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 April 6th (metric definitions below):

Series Net Std Avg Prior Yr Avg Var Cancel Alert
The Walking Dead AMC 6.48 7.37 -0.88 Renewed
Into the Badlands AMC 1.79 n/a n/a Renewed
American Horror Story FX 1.49 1.91 -0.42 Renewed
The Librarians TNT 0.52 0.92 -0.39 Renewed
Shadowhunters Free 0.41 n/a n/a Renewed
Teen Wolf MTV 0.41 0.49 -0.08 Renewed
Colony USA 0.38 n/a n/a Renewed
Doctor Who BBCA 0.37 n/a n/a Renewed
Z Nation (O) (F) Syfy 0.33 0.48 -0.15 Renewed
The Magicians Syfy 0.30 n/a n/a 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 0.15 0.15 0.00 Renewed
Guardians of the Galaxy DXD 0.10 n/a n/a Renewed
Slasher Chill 0.02 n/a n/a Low
The Shannara Chronicles MTV 0.39 n/a n/a Moderate
Damien A&E 0.20 n/a n/a Moderate
Wynonna Earp Syfy 0.20 n/a n/a Moderate
Beowulf Esq 0.04 n/a n/a Elevated
The Leftovers HBO 0.33 0.77 -0.44 Final Season
Lost Girl Syfy 0.11 0.20 -0.09 Final Season
Bitten Syfy 0.10 0.20 -0.11 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.

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