Cancellation Watch: Time Travel Shows Timeless and Frequency Fall in the Ratings, USA’s Falling Water Starts at the Bottom of the Scorecard

By | October 15, 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.

 timeless-nbcRatings Results of Interest: On Monday, NBC’s Timeless saw a notable drop with its second episode to a 1.4 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demo with 6.2 million total viewers. It also lost over 50% of its lead-in from The Voice, so don’t be surprised it NBC does some shuffling with the schedule if that one continues to underperform in a key timeslot for the network. Over on The CW, Supergirl soared to 1.1 rating with 3.1 million total viewers for its Season 2 premiere which are the best numbers the fifth place network as seen on that night in ten years. Superman (played by Teen Wolf‘s Tyler Hoechlin) stopped by for that episode which may have drawn in more viewers, so we will have to see where the numbers land once he flies back off. On Tuesday, Syfy’s new season-long horror anthology series Channel Zero had its bow and pulled a 0.25 rating with 760k tot viewers. Those are decent numbers for that channel and have the show looking good out of the gate. Lead-out series Aftermath slipped to a 0.15 rating with 660k total viewers, but those are still acceptable numbers. Considering Van Helsing just got renewed at similar levels and that Aftermath comes as part of a partnership with the Space Channel in Canada (making it cheaper for Syfy), its chances for a second season look decent at the moment. On Wednesday, The CW’s Frequency slipped to only a 0.3 rating with 1.1 million total viewers for its second episode which is pretty low even for the fifth place network. Fans of this show better hope that its first season arc has a planned conclusion because it’s not looking good for a second year of that one. On Thursday, The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow returned for its second season with only a 0.6 rating and 1.8 million total viewers. Those are survivable numbers for a CW show, but then this one is pretty expensive to produce. It’s going to need a cross-over boost from the other DC superhero shows pretty soon. In the lead-out hour, Supernatural had a solid Season 12 debut (for The CW) with a 0.8 rating and 2.2 million total viewers. Looks like a thirteenth season for that one is a good bet! Falling Water debuted poorly for USA as it only pulled a 0.19 rating with 670k total viewers, low numbers for that network. That sends it straight to the bottom of the Scorecard below and it will start out at a Moderate Cancellation Alert Level.  It may have international financing / partnerships propping it up, but at this point it looks like it could be another Peak TV one-season-and-done entry.  I will have the full ratings roundup for this week available in the upcoming Tuesday Cancellation Watch post.  And you can see last week’s roundup at this link.

Renewal Announcements:  As mentioned above, Syfy’s vampire-pocalypse series Van Helsing will be coming back for a second season.  And MTV just announced that Scream will be returning for a third season.  More on both of those at this link.

Scorecard: I have made a bit of a change to the Scorecard this week as I altered the rankings to look at a show’s percent variance from the network benchmark vs. the number variance. I decided this was necessary since I am now including cable shows side by side with the broadcast net entries, and because quite a number of those cable shows are working within a very narrow range. This resulted in some minor shuffling, but the shows pretty much remained in the same ranges where we have seen them the last few weeks. I have taken off the prior week ranking this time around because of the change, but will return it next week. You can read more about the Scorecard methodology below.

USA’s new series Falling Water debuts at the bottom of the rankings as it has the lowest ratings I have seen from a show on that network in a while. I am starting that one out at a Moderate Cancellation Alert Level and it could go up if the numbers do not improve. Agents of SHIELD, The Exorcist, and, Scream Queens all remain low on the list even after the shuffling and I am raising the Cancellation Alert Level on them to Medium. NBC’s The Good Place continues to remain rather low on the rankings, but that is because The Voice is skewing that network’s average. The Good Place’s numbers are in line with NBC’s other Thursday shows, so it seems like it should be okay. But it is more expensive to produce, so the network might be looking for higher ratings. MacGyver is still looking low CBS, but if it rebounds this week it should be okay. Son of Zorn continues to ride higher in the rankings because it has benefited from NFL boosts. That may help it get a full season order. Syfy’s shows all continue to look okay including new entry Channel Zero, and Van Helsing has already received the Season 2 nod as mentioned above. I have not included the shows from The CW yet because I don’t have a good enough sampling from that network. They will be showing up here next week and expect The Flash and Supergirl to be near the top of the rankings.

The scorecard ranks all of the sci fi & fantasy shows’ ratings performance vs. their network’s ratings benchmark (see definition below).  Shows at or above their benchmark should be okay, whereas those slipping notably below are getting into iffy territory.

Broadcast network scorecard based on the ratings through October 13th (metric definitions below):

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg Net Bench % Var Live+3 Avg Rtg Cancel Alert
1 American Horror Story FX 1.49 0.60 148.8% 3.30 Renewed
2 Z Nation Syfy 0.33 0.20 65.0% n/a Low
3 Star Wars Rebels DXD 0.16 0.10 56.7% n/a Low
4 Son of Zorn (O) FOX 1.70 1.19 42.7% 2.60 Low
5 Channel Zero Syfy 0.25 0.20 25.0% n/a New Series
6 Westworld HBO 0.72 0.60 20.0% 1.10 Low
7 Ash vs Evil Dead STARZ 0.20 0.20 -2.5% n/a Low
8 Gotham FOX 1.15 1.19 -3.5% 2.00 Low
9 Lucifer FOX 1.13 1.19 -4.9% 2.00 Low
10 Van Helsing Syfy 0.18 0.20 -10.0% n/a Low
11 Timeless NBC 1.65 1.87 -11.5% n/a Low
12 Once Upon A Time (O) ABC 1.20 1.40 -14.0% n/a Low
13 Aftermath Syfy 0.17 0.20 -16.7% n/a Low
14 The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 0.95 1.19 -20.3% n/a Moderate
15 MacGyver (O) (F) CBS 1.37 1.72 -20.3% n/a Low
16 The Good Place (O) NBC 1.44 1.87 -22.9% 2.65 Low
17 The Strain FX 0.43 0.60 -28.1% 0.97 Renewed
18 Agents of SHIELD (O) ABC 0.97 1.40 -30.7% 2.00 Medium
19 Scream Queens (O) FOX 0.80 1.19 -32.9% 1.50 Medium
20 The Exorcist (O) (F) FOX 0.77 1.19 -35.6% n/a Medium
21 Falling Water USA 0.19 0.30 -36.7% n/a Moderate

Metric Definitions:

Rank (PW): Current rank based on the variance of a show’s season to date ratings average vs. its network’s benchmark (see definition 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. These typically just apply to the broadcast networks where they are more of a factor.

StD Avg:  The show’s season to date ratings average based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic.

Net Bench:  (Network Benchmark) For the broadcast networks, this is the net’s season to date average rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic for non-sports, non-special, non-repeat broadcasts (for FOX, Empire is also excluded because it counts as an outlier).  For the cable channels, this is the lowest level at which a show is typically renewed by that network if there are enough genre entries on that channel to provide a decent sample.

Variance:  The variance between a show’s season to date average and the network benchmark as defined above.  The higher the variance, the better a show is performing vs. the network mean.

Live+3 Avg Rtg:  The show’s season to date ratings average based on delayed viewing up to three days past the live broadcast.  This data is not available for all shows.  Last year I had the Live+7 delayed viewing, but the availability of that data was very spotty so I am shifting to this metric.

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.

Source: ShowBuzzDaily and TV by the Numbers

One thought on “Cancellation Watch: Time Travel Shows Timeless and Frequency Fall in the Ratings, USA’s Falling Water Starts at the Bottom of the Scorecard

  1. Ryan

    I don’t know about anyone else, but my TWC DVR did not record episode 2 of Timeless, in spite of having the series set to record. If I am not alone, this may account for the severe drop-off in viewership. I enjoy the show and hope it continues.


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