Cancellation Watch: Final Rundown on the 2015-16 Sci Fi / Fantasy Shows

By | May 25, 2016

The Ratings-Pocalypse hit during the 2015-16 (more on that at this link), but surprisingly that did not lead to an excessive number of cancellations as the network execs (particularly from the broadcast nets) decided to white-knuckle the downward spiral and say “Just Renew It, Baby!”  Of the forty nine shows in the list below (yes, that many aired in the season!), only ten eleven have been cancelled so far (CBS has officially cancelled Limitless, more on that below).  That is the lowest cancellation rate that I can recall since I have been covering the ratings.   But, enjoy the renewals for now because I don’t expect that last into next season,

The list below covers all of the 2015-16 season entries (not the Spring shows unless they have already wrapped up or we know their final status) and it includes where they stand as the current year comes to an end (sorted by series title):

Links are to the show pages on this site where you can see status updates and season to date ratings results:

The 100 (CW) Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

Comments: It started off its third season with some of the best numbers it has seen in years, but those slipped off, especially after that controversial major character death. It is still well short of the 88 episode threshold the syndication market prefers to see, so this one has no guarantees that it will survive to a fifth season. But since it airs on The CW, it has a much better chance than if it was on one of the Big Four broadcast nets.

agent-carter-cancelledAgent Carter (ABC) Status: Cancelled

Comments: Its numbers for its second season were below the already mediocre levels it had in its first year, and apparently Disney decided not to give it another free pass. There is currently a campaign in place to get Netflix to pickup the show, and if that doesn’t work then Peggy Carter may show up on Agents of SHIELD next season. But it sure would have been nice if people had tuned in for this series.

Agents of SHIELD (ABC) Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

Comments: Despite continued low ratings, it got the fourth year pickup. But that may just be for it to accumulate enough episodes to satisfy the syndication market, and I wouldn’t be counting on a fifth season from this one.

American Horror Story (FX) Status: Renewed for a 6th Season

Comments: Once a powerhouse series, it has slipped notably in the ratings the last couple of years. Its sixth season could be its last or maybe it will get one more to tie all its stories together because allegedly they are all linked.

Angel from Hell (CBS) Status: Cancelled

Comments: Why did CBS cancel this show and pull it from the schedule so quickly? It’s numbers were as good if not better than The Odd Couple and that one has had The Big Bang Theory as its lead-in. Something else must have been going on behind the scenes.

Arrow (CW) Status: Renewed for a 5th Season

Comments: The fifth season renewal came as expected and this show likely will stick around for another season or two beyond that before superhero burnout finally sets in.

Ash vs Evil Dead (Starz) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: Despite the low ratings, this is likely an inexpensive series to produce and Starz surely knows that Evil Dead fans will continue tuning in each year. Expect a few more seasons from this one.

Beowulf (Esq) Status: Likely Cancelled

Comments: Though I still have not seen official word, it appears this series is dead in the States and in its home country of Britain. It was a decent idea that had plenty of possibilities, but it instead delivered a muddled wannabe Game of Thrones that viewers quickly lost interest in.

Colony (USA) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: This show can’t be counted as a hit for the USA network, but it developed some decent buzz in its first season run which will hopefully translate into higher viewership in its second year.

Containment (CW) Status: Cancelled

Comments: Just like The Messengers last year, this one seemingly arrived DOA by the time it hit the schedule late season. It’s numbers weren’t too bad for a CW show, but apparently the network decided in advance that it would be limited-run-and-done.

damien-AEDamien (A&E) Status: Cancelled

Comments: This sure seemed like a good idea, picking up on Damien from 1976’s The Omen as an adult when he comes into his inheritance as the Anti-Christ. But I guess too much of today’s audience didn’t remember that movie and decided not to tune it (or just got tired of all his moping about).

The Expanse (Syfy) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: The linear viewing for this show was low, but apparently the digital viewing picked up the slack. Plus it has a financing deal that helps cover the pricey production costs. But at some point I’m thinking Syfy is going to wan’t to see higher viewership numbers in order to justify keeping it around.

The Flash (CW) Status: Renewed for a 3rd Season

Comments: As expected, this show raced into a third season renewal. And a fourth season is all but guaranteed since that gets it into the syndication stretch, meaning that it has met the episode count that the syndication market prefers for an encore run.

From Dusk Till Dawn (El Rey) Status: Renewed for a 3rd Season

Comments: This original series on Robert Rodriguez’s fledgling El Rey network has not drawn high viewership but has worked its way through two seasons with a third on the way. How much longer it will stick around likely depends on the viability of its network.

Galavant (ABC) Status: Cancelled

Comments: Why did nobody tune in for this one, because it was a ton of fun? It’s numbers were mediocre at best in its first season and sunk to historically low levels for a Big Four broadcast network show during its second. You can’t fault ABC because they gave it a chance when they renewed it the first time around. Now, it will likely gallop off to cult infamy.

Gotham (FOX) Status: Renewed for a 3rd Season

Comments: This show’s numbers were down notably during its second season, but then so were almost all of the FOX entries. It still got the third season renewal which gets it on track for syndication stretch–where it will have met the episode count that the syndication market prefers for an encore run–and all but guarantees it a fourth year.

Grimm (NBC) Status: Renewed for a 6th Season

Comments: This show slipped to all-time lows this season and was looking iffy even for a Friday entry. But the renewal fever infecting the broadcast networks this last season kept it alive. It only has a thirteen episode order for its sixth year, though, so I am guessing the creative staff will be approaching that as the show’s last.

Guardians of the Galaxy (DXD) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: The overnight ratings in the 18-49 demo were not great for this show, but animated entries live and die just as much by their merchandising as their viewership. Expect this one to stick around as long as Disney wants to keep producing episodes (and the toy sales remain good).

Heroes Reborn (NBC) Status: Cancelled

Comments: The nostalgia for the original show was not as strong as NBC might have hoped and this one got the ax after only one revival season. In retrospect, its numbers weren’t that bad considering the overall slump, but the network decided to move forward and leave this franchise in the past.

Into the Badlands (AMC) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: This one performed especially well with The Walking Dead as its lead-in and still managed to post decent ratings when it flew solo. If it can hold steady when it returns (in 2017) then perhaps it could stick around for a few years.

iZombie (CW) Status: Renewed for a 3rd Season

Comments: The numbers remained low for this one, but it is likely an inexpensive entry and it airs on the Happy Net which likes to renew (almost) all of its shows. Since the buzz remains good for this one, maybe it can stick around for another year or so.

last-man-on-earth-S2The Last Man on Earth (FOX) Status: Renewed for a 3rd Season

Comments: It survived for a third season, but likely mostly because it is not too expensive and FOX wanted to maintain a good relationship with its executive producers (Phil Lord and Chris Miller) who are developing other projects for the network. Whether it can stick around for a fourth season at these ratings levels remains to be seen.

The Leftovers (HBO) Status: Renewed for a 3rd (Final) Season

Comments: This show pulled mediocre to low numbers throughout its first two years, but HBO saw fit to give it a third and final season to wrap up its storylines.

Legends of Tomorrow (CW) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: Considering how expensive this show must have been in its first season, I’m thinking The CW execs would have preferred to see higher ratings. But it airs on the Happy Net that likes to renew (almost) all of its shows and it is also part of the Arrow-verse. Expect some changes next year, though, to keep the costs down.

The Librarians (TNT) Status: Renewed for a 3rd Season

Comments: While this one is not a huge ratings gainer on Sunday nights, it has developed a loyal following and it has done well enough for TNT against stiff competition to earn a third season.

Limitless (CBS) Status: Cancelled

Comments: After allegedly shopping this show around (and likely asking for too high of a price), CBS has officially cancelled this show as it lives up to its reputation as the sci fi-averse network.  More on that at this link.



Lucifer (FOX) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: This show started strong with The X-Files as it lead-in, but saw its numbers drop off, especially when Gotham took over the lead-in hour. It got the second season renewal nod, but that was partly because FOX has space to fill on its schedule with American Idol not coming back. If it wants to survive into a third season, it will need to improve its numbers next year.

The Magicians (Syfy) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: The ratings were not spectacular for this show, but it did better than any other of Syfy’s new entries this season and it has developed some decent buzz. That should hopefully help carry it into a third season.

man-in-the-high-castle-amazonThe Man in the High Castle (Amazon) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: In its first season, this was Amazon’s most streamed original series ever. A second season is on the way, though unfortunately some creative differences have led to Frank Spotnitz stepping back as the showrunner. Hopefully that won’t lead to a drop in quality for the show.

Minority Report (FOX) Status: Cancelled

Comments: This show counted as a definite flop for FOX and its episode order was cut from thirteen to ten before being sent to the Network Executioner at the end of the season.

Once Upon A Time (ABC) Status: Renewed for a 6th Season

Comments: It received its sixth season renewal despite the continued drop in its ratings. But it is still one of the higher rated broadcast net shows on Sundays, and Disney (which owns ABC) will likely keep it around a few more years to keep running its stock of characters through the storylines.

The Originals (CW) Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

Comments: The fourth season renewal for this show was expected because that gets it to the episode count sufficient for a syndicaton run (where shows really turn a profit). But it was at all-time ratings lows (in part due to its move to Fridays) and next year could be its last. It is currently scheduled to return at mid-season.

Person of Interest (CBS) Status: Cancelled

Comments: This show has actually been pulling decent numbers since returning for its fifth season, but that won’t convince CBS to change its mind about the cancellation. Still, it has had a good run and will have a chance to go out on its own terms since the producers knew the end was in sight.

Scream Queens (FOX) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: This highly anticipated show from the creators of American Horror Story generated pretty tepid ratings but demonstrated “stickiness” across the social nets, leading FOX to renew it for a second season. Seeing as it will likely also get tacked on to the AHS syndication package, the network is guaranteed to make money on it, but may not keep it around for a third year.

Second Chance (FOX) Status: Cancelled

Comments: This show went through two name changes (previously The Frankenstein Code and then Lookinglass) in production and also had its episode order cut from 13 to 11. It bowed to low ratings and quickly got shuffled to Friday nights where it burned its episodes before getting cast to the TV Wasteland.

Shadowhunters (ABCF) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: This series performed well enough for Freeform (formerly ABC Family) and it is likely not to expensive to produce. The built in fanbase from the books apparently responded well to the show and could help carry it into a third season.

The Shannara Chronicles (MTV) Status: Renewed for a 1st Season

Comments: The ratings for this show’s first season were not great, especially considering that it was likely an expensive show to produce. But it had very good delayed viewing gains (which the cable channels pay more attention to) and it likely has international financing / partnerships to help defer the costs. Whether that will carry it into a third season remains to be seen.

Slasher (Chill) Status: Awaiting Word on Renewal

Comments: The ratings have not been great for this one thus far, but that’s to be expected because of the network it airs on. Chiller is producing it in partnership with the Canadian Super Channel which will likely help carry it into a second season.

sleepy-hollow-S3Sleepy Hollow (FOX) Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

Comments: This show received a fourth year renewal nod despite historically low ratings (even for a Friday show) and the fact that many of the its fans didn’t even want it to come back after that major character death in the season finale. FOX claims that it plays well globally, though, and decided to keep it going for another year. Whether it can survive beyond that remains to be seen. It is currently scheduled for a mid-season return.

Star Wars Rebels (DXD) Status: Renewed for a 3rd Season

Comments: The overnight ratings in the 18-49 demo were not great for this show, but animated entries live and die just as much by their merchandising as their viewership. Expect this one to stick around as long as Disney wants to keep producing episodes (and the toy sales remain good).

Stitchers (ABC Family) Status: On the Bubble

Comments: This show pulled pretty low ratings in its first season and slipped even lower in its second year. I’d say its chances of making a third season look iffy at the moment unless it has significant international financing / partnerships backing it.

Supergirl (CW) Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Comments: It got the second season renewal nod, but it took a move of networks (The CW), a move of shooting location (Vancouver), and some additional cost-cutting. But then The CW knows how to make superhero shows, so this one is now better positioned for success going forward.

Supernatural (CW) Status: Renewed for a 12th Season

Comments: This one got the twelfth season renewal nod and has set the longevity record for U.S. genre shows, leaving Stargate: SG-1 and Smallville in the rear view mirror at ten seasons each. And who knows, at its current rate, Supernatural may keep going for 20 seasons or more!

Teen Wolf (MTV) Status: Renewed for a 6th Season

Comments: The numbers were definitely down for this show in its fifth season, but it still plays well to MTV’s target audience. Don’t be surprised, though, if this one is not looking to wrap up with its sixth or seventh season.

Vampire Diaries (CW) Status: Renewed for a 7th Season

Comments: Once the flagship show of the younger-skewing CW network, this one has since grown long in the tooth (no apologies for the pun) and has lost much of its audience. But The CW has said that its eighth year is not necessarily its last, so it may stick around for a ninth or more.

The Walking Dead (AMC) Status: Renewed for a 7th Season

Comments: Currently the top rated scripted show on all of television, this one is still a powerhouse going into its seventh season (despite a slight drop in its S6 numbers) and will likely remain so for several more years to come.

x-files-revivalThe X-Files (FOX) Status: Likely Renewed

Comments: A lot of people tuned in early for this one, but the numbers dropped steadily throughout its six-episode run. Still it did well enough to justify coming back for a second revival season, though that will apparently be delayed to the 2017-18 season to work around the schedules of Duchovny, Anderson, Carter, and the rest.

You Me and the Apocalypse (NBC) Status: Cancelled

Comments: This one came to NBC in a partnership with the British Sky channel, making it a less expensive entry. Despite that, the ratings slipped far too low both in the States and across the ocean, and neither network was interested in continuing it for a second season. That unfortunately leaves it ending on a rather large cliffhanger.

Z Nation (Syfy) Status: Renewed for a 3rd Season

Comments: The numbers for this show slipped in its second year, but as an inexpensive entry that is still doing quite well by Syfy standards, it is safe for now.


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