Cancellation Watch: Z Nation Returns Okay, Fear the Walking Dead Improves, Plus the Ratings Roundup

By | September 20, 2016

Unless otherwise noted, the ratings numbers below are based on the final overnights and may vary slightly from the preliminaries reported on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site.

z-nation-syfy-cancelledSeries Premieres: On Friday, Syfy’s Z Nation returned with a 0.30 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic and 1.1 million total viewers for its two-hour Season 3 debut. That’s down just a bit from last year’s average of a 0.33 score, but still very good for Syfy these days which has seen a lot of its scripted shows pulling numbers below the 0.20 level in 2016. Seeing as Z Nation is likely an inexpensive series to produce (coming the bargain basement studio The Asylum), it should be considered in good shape for now. And even if it trends down some in the coming weeks, it has some leeway because it is well above the numbers Syfy’s Spring and Summer shows were pulling. Also premiering last week was FX’s American Horror Story which returned strong at a 2.8 rating with 5.1 million total viewers. And while that’s down a bit from the 3.0 score the show had for its fifth season premiere, it is much better than the 1.5 rating it averaged last year and the 1.1 score it had for its Season 5 finale. I go into more detail on that show’s prospects at this link.

Ratings Results of Interest: On Sunday, AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead improved for a second week in a row to a 1.6 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 3.6 million total viewers. Considering that the competition has definitely been tougher for that one the last few weeks, this is a sign that the dead are showing some life! Over on FX, The Strain slipped back down to a 0.40 rating and just under one million total viewers. But that one has been seeing decent Live+3 delayed viewing gains (more important to the cable channels than the broadcast nets), so perhaps it is still safe for now. On Friday, Syfy’s Dark Matter wrapped up its second season with a 0.19 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demo and 690k total viewers. That one, along with Killjoys, returns next Summer for its third season. On Thursday, The CW’s Beauty and the Beast wrapped up its low-rated four year run with a paltry 0.2 rating and 700k total viewers. It will likely head now to an encore run in international syndication. On Wednesday, Mr. Robot aired the first part of its Season 2 finale, pulling a 0.32 rating with 690k total viewers. That series just earned an Emmy for best actor and wraps up its second season on Wednesday (it has been renewed for a third). An interesting bit of information on FOX’s Son of Zorn which had an early debut on September 11th: it pulled an impressive 2.4 rating based on the overnights but only improved 8% to a 2.6 based on the Live+3 delayed viewing. That suggests much of its initial audience were football fans sticking around into Prime Time and also reinforces my previous prediction that it numbers will drop when it moves to its regular timeslot starting this Sunday.

Eleven sci fi & fantasy shows are having their Fall debuts this week (you can see the listings at this link), so be sure to keep on eye on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site and Facebook Page for the early numbers on those shows.

Ratings results for the sci fi / fantasy shows airing Monday September 12th thru Sunday September 18th (metric definitions below):

(Links are to the show pages on this site with season to date ratings results and status updates)

Series Airs Rating % Chng Tot Viewers STD Avg Net Avg Cancel Alert
Zoo CBS, Tue 10 PM Season Ended n/a n/a 0.7 1.5 Renewed
American Horror Story FX, Wed 10 PM 2.8 n/a 5.1 2.8 0.6 Low
Mr Robot USA, Wed 10 PM 0.3 +10.3% 0.7 0.3 n/a Renewed
Beauty and the Beast CW, Thu 9 PM 0.2 0.0% 0.7 0.2 0.6 Final Season
Z Nation Syfy, Fri 9 PM 0.3 n/a 1.1 0.3 0.2 Low
Dark Matter Syfy, Fri 10 PM 0.2 +31.0% 0.7 0.2 n/a Renewed
Son of Zorn FOX, Sun 8:30 PM Preempted n/a n/a 2.4 1.5 Low
Fear the Walking Dead AMC, Sun 9 PM 1.6 +4.0% 3.6 1.9 n/a Renewed
The Last Ship TNT, Sun 9 PM Season Ended n/a n/a 0.5 n/a Renewed
Braindead CBS, Sun 10 PM Season Ended n/a n/a 0.4 1.5 Elevated
The Strain FX, Sun 10 PM 0.4 -14.9% 1.0 0.5 0.6 Low

Chart Activity: As expected, FX’s American Horror Story returned to the Weekly Nielsen Twitter Rating Top 10 with its Season 6 premiere. It was at Number 2 for the week, beat out only by the Emmy awards. That one was also the top scripted show on cable for the week coming it at Number 3 in the Top 25 based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic and also at Number 3 in the Top 25 based on total viewers (behind the two NFL games on ESPN for the Monday Night Football doubleheader).  AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead was right behind it at Number 4 based on the demo and Number 5 based on total viewers.  FOX’s Son of Zorn dropped out of the broadcast net Top 25 because it did not have a new episode on Sunday.  And I’m just going to take a wild guess that we won’t see it in those charts anymore when it moves to its regular Sunday 8:30 PM EST timeslot.

(Updated for the broadcast network and cable Top 25 chart activity)

Series Chart Curr Wk Rank Prior Wk Rank
American Horror Story Nielsen Twitter Ratings Top 10 2 n/a
American Horror Story Cable Top 25 (18-49 Demo) 3 n/a
American Horror Story Cable Top 25 (Total Viewers) 3 n/a
Fear the Walking Dead Cable Top 25 (18-49 Demo) 4 2
Fear the Walking Dead Cable Top 25 (Total Viewers) 5 5
Son of Zorn Broadcast Net Top 25 (18-49 Demo) n/a 7
Son of Zorn Broadcast Net Top 25 (Total Viewers) n/a 18

Be sure keep an eye out for the latest numbers and any breaking news throughout the week at the  Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site and Facebook Page. You can see the status of all the currently airing sci fi / fantasy shows at the Cancellation Watch page and also the latest Cancellation Watch Hit List post. And for more information on where I get these numbers and how I make my Cancellation Alert assessments, check out the Cancelled Sci Fi FAQ.

Metric Definitions:

Series: (R) indicates a repeat airing

Rating: Overnight rating in the 18-49 demographic for same day viewing based on the final numbers unless otherwise noted

% Chng: The percentage change +/- for this week’s rating vs. last week’s rating (if a new episode aired last week).

Tot Viewers: Estimated total viewers (age 2+) to tune in to the episode for same day viewing.

StD Rating: Season to date average for the rating metric tracked above.

Net Avg:  The season to date average rating for the network for non-sports, non-special, non-repeat programming.  This data is available for the broadcast networks only.

Cancellation 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.

Source: ShowBuzzDaily and TV by the Numbers

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