If you have an active campaign to support a struggling sci fi / fantasy show or save a cancelled one, send us the information at cancelledscifi [at] gmail [dot] com and we will pass it along.
The Nielsen ratings continue to drive the fate of the shows currently on television (and yes, the networks do look at the overnights despite what they will tell you). But the tide is changing and fans have social media as a powerful tool to let the networks know that there is a larger audience out there than what the ratings are measuring (and/or failing to capture). Live tweeting when an episode airs is the best way for fans to show their support. And hashtag campaigns throughout the week are a good idea as well. The other social media sites should also play into this. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever the latest one is can all provide a means for fans to support their shows and get the word out for other people to start watching. Also, buying episodes from VOD services like Amazon Instant Video and iTunes will help if done en masse as part of an organized effort, because that goes directly to the bottom line for a show (and takes the Nielsens out of the equation). This is your Call to Action to make your voices (and numbers) known and to do your part to save your favorite shows.
There have been no renewals since the last Call to Action post but we are about to hear a slew of cancellation and renewal announcements as the Upfronts arrive next week when the broadcast nets present their schedules for the 2016-17 season (you can see the timing that at this link). There could be some late-into-the-night wheeling and dealing on some of these shows, especially Limitless, Agent Carter, Sleepy Hollow, and even Supergirl. A strong show of support from the fans RIGHT NOW on the social networks (and maybe a VOD streaming party) could provide that little extra nudge that pushes the show over to the renewal side of the upcoming decisions. Once the schedules are set, there is almost no chance of changing the minds of the network execs, so it is important that fans ACT NOW. Here are the current shows in need of support with those most impacted by the upcoming upfronts at the top:
(Links are to the shows’ pages on this site where you can find their season to date ratings results and latest status updates.)
12 Monkeys (Syfy): This show was never a stronger performer in the ratings in its first season and it has returned at even lower levels in its second year. It has already used the Escape-the-Network-Executioner-Free card that Syfy tends to give all its first season shows, and it is likely on a short leash at this point. As a cable entry, it may have international financing / partnerships helping it, though a show of support from fans could definitely give it a boost. Syfy has been paying close attention to the digital viewing lately as well, so if you watch it on their website, that will be counted (as opposed to watching it live during the linear broadcast or on the DVR which is only counted for Nielsen families). And buzz on the social networks has been helping cable shows of late as well. If fans of this show want it to stick around for a third season, they need to get active and make sure Syfy knows they are out there because that NBC owned network presents its upcoming schedule at the end of next week..
Agent Carter (ABC): It was not included in ABC’s first round of renewals and Haley Atwell has been cast in an upcoming pilot. Plus, Agent Carter‘s executive producers have said that chances of a third season look “bad”. But then a rumor has emerged that ABC has decided to bring the show back for a third season, so perhaps the network is at least considering it. All the more reason for fans to make noise in support of the show to convince the network it deserves a third season (or at least have that promised cross-over with Agents of SHIELD to resolve the show’s storylines).
Hunters (Syfy): This show debuted pretty low and has slipped even further since then. The same comments for 12 Monkeys above apply to this one, though Syfy may still let it play its Escape-the-Network-Executioner-Free card. But fans should get active on the social networks and with digital viewing to make sure that Syfy knows they are out there.
Limitless (CBS): Don’t drink the Kool-Aid CBS Boss Leslie Moonves was offering by claiming all of the network’s freshman shows will be renewed. New entry Angel from Hell was already axed when he said that, and Limitless is currently performing below where that show was when it was sent to the Network Executioner (in a large part due to constant preemptions). Plus, Limitless is certainly more expensive to produce. But its delayed viewing numbers are good, ranking it eighth among CBS scripted shows in that category and the network has claimed they are looking closer at those results now. Fans need to make a strong show of support and let CBS know they are out their before that network (which is known to have an aversion to sci fi shows) squashes this promising new entry.
Sleepy Hollow (FOX): The numbers for this show are at all-time lows and it does not get the third season show status because of its shortened episode orders. But FOX has space to fill on its schedule next year with American Idol not coming back, and word is that this one still has a good chance of returning for a fourth season. A strong show of support from the fans on the social networks could give it a boost as the network execs are hammering out next year’s schedule.
Supergirl (CBS): Yes, this once high-flying series has slipped pretty far in the ratings which has CBS looking for ways to cut productions costs and also considering switching it to The CW (more on that at this link). I still think its chances are good, but it could come down to an eleventh hour decision and strong trending on the social nets could be the tipping point that keeps it alive. Fans should definitely not assume this one is safe and should step up now if they want it to stick around.
Wynonna Earp (Syfy): This show has performed the best of Syfy’s Spring debuts, but only just slightly. The same comments for 12 Monkeys above apply to this one, though Syfy may still let it play its Escape-the-Network-Executioner-Free card. But fans should get active on the social networks and with digital viewing to make sure that Syfy knows they are out there.
Other Shows in Need of Support:
Angel from Hell (CBS): CBS has officially cancelled this show and yanked it from the schedule, so don’t expect it back on that network for anything more than a burn-off run. But its numbers were not that bad and if fans were to make a strong show of support then another network (maybe TBS) or one of the streaming services might consider taking a flyer on it. The window is likely just about closed on this one, though.
Damien (A&E): This sequel series to the 1976 movie delivered pretty tepid ratings during its first season run, typically performing well below its Bates Motel lead-in. I’m guessing A&E is thinking long and hard about whether it is worthwhile to bring this one back. The name recognition is there, but that didn’t seem to help its ratings much. It may have international financing / partnerships that could help keep it afloat, but a show of support from fans could definitely help its cause.
Galavant (ABC): The (historically low) ratings would seem to dictate that this show will not be back for a third season, but maybe it gets swept up in the current “just renew it, baby!” wave. Seems unlikely, but perhaps fans could spin a little ditty on the social nets that would convince ABC (or more importantly that network’s owner Disney) to keep it around as a fill-in show for another year.
Heroes Reborn (NBC): The second of only three official genre cancellations this season, but could NBC execs be persuaded to change their minds on this one? That network’s ratings tumbled in 2016 (before The Voice returned, that is) and this show’s numbers don’t look too bad in retrospect. Plus, another season is just further padding to the Heroes syndication run (where shows really start to turn a profit). I’m thinking the window is closed on this one, but if fans make a strong showing right now maybe it still has a slight chance (and no, sister channel Syfy will not pick it up due to the expense and the extensive development they already have in the pipeline).
Minority Report (FOX): This one is for all practical purposes cancelled, but I know that fans were trying to make a show of support a while back. Unless that turns into a resounding roar, I’m thinking this one is done.
Second Chance (FOX): Like Minority Report, this show is cancelled in all but name and it never developed much of an audience to begin with. I haven’t heard much from fans, but if they are out there they need to organize now and make their voices heard.
Stitchers (Freeform): This show never saw high ratings in its first season and has returned even lower in its second year. Of course it appeared on the schedule without much prior notice, so that’s not much of a surprise. The overnights are probably not as important for this show, and “stickiness” on the social nets could go a long way toward helping it into a third season. I know it has a very vocal fanbase, and they need to get active now to bring attention to this one.
You Me and the Apocalypse (NBC): This series was quietly cancelled by Sky (NBC’s international partner) early in March and the news never seemed to make its way across the Atlantic. It never developed much of a fanbase and two of the show’s stars are already moving on to new projects. But maybe a surge on the social nets could at least convince Sky to give it a two hour movie to resolve that rather large cliffhanger the show ended on?