Cancellation Watch: Timeless Could be Running Out of Time, The Walking Dead Tops the Scorecard

By | October 29, 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 slipped to its lowest numbers yet as it only pulled a 1.3 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 5.7 million total viewers.  That had it losing 52% of its lead-in from The Voice and I have to believe that NBC execs are not happy with that.  I’m expecting to see this one get shifted from that timeslot in the next week or so.  I haven’t raised the Cancellation Alert Level on it just yet, but I will if it does not show improvement.  On Tuesday, Agents of SHIELD improved slightly to a 0.8 rating with 2.3 million total viewers, though those numbers are still pretty low for ABC.  As I have said before, this will likely be the show’s final season.  On Wednesday, The CW’s Frequency continued to tune out viewers as it remained at only a 0.3 rating with one million total viewers and it could end up being an early casualty for the fifth place network.  On Thursday, Legends of Tomorrow slipped back to a 0.6 rating with 1.7 million total viewers, but it is performing about even with that network’s season to date average.  Whether that will be good enough for this rather expensive series remains to be seen.  Over on USA, Falling Water remained low at a 0.15 rating with 530k total viewers and continues to look weak for its network. 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.

Episode Order Cut: FOX announced yesterday that they will be cutting the episode order for the mid-season time travel comedy Making History from thirteen to nine.  That’s never a good sign, but the network claims the move was to fit the show into its tight scheduling for the second half of the season.  And Deadline Hollywood did note that NBC cut the episode order of Superstore last season but it still got renewed.  Still, time travel shows have not done well this season based on the ratings of Timeless and Frequency (why exactly did network execs think that would be the next big trend anyway?).  This show comes EPs Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and the other two they are doing for FOX–Son of Zorn and The Last Man on Earth–have not proven themselves to be hits.  The episode order cut is not necessarily a death knell for Making History, but it is rarely good news for any show.

Scorecard: As expected, AMC’s The Walking Dead entered the Scorecard at Number 1 and it will have a lock on that spot throughout the season.  Entering on the other end is BBC America’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency which got off to a slow start.  That one likely plays better internationally, so its Netflix partnership will be important to its survival.  The Vampire Diaries entered low as well, but that is to be expected seeing as it is in its final season.  There was not much other movement in the rankings since last week other than some incidental changes of a slot or two.

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 27th (metric definitions below):
(Links are to the show pages on this site with season to date ratings results and status updates)

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg Net Bench % Var Live+3 Avg Rtg Cancel Alert
1 The Walking Dead AMC 8.36 0.60 1293.3% n/a Renewed
2 American Horror Story FX 1.49 0.60 148.8% 3.30 Renewed
3 The Flash (O) CW 1.10 0.60 83.3% n/a Low
4 Z Nation Syfy 0.33 0.20 65.0% n/a Low
5 Supergirl (O) CW 0.93 0.60 55.6% n/a Low
6 Star Wars Rebels DXD 0.15 0.10 52.0% n/a Low
7 Son of Zorn (O) FOX 1.52 1.18 28.8% 2.60 Low
8 Westworld HBO 0.76 0.60 27.1% 1.10 Low
9 Channel Zero Syfy 0.24 0.20 18.3% n/a Low
10 Arrow (O) CW 0.68 0.60 12.5% n/a Low
11 Supernatural (O) CW 0.67 0.60 11.1% n/a Low
12 Legends of Tomorrow (O) CW 0.63 0.60 5.6% n/a Low
13 Gotham FOX 1.15 1.18 -2.6% 2.00 Low
14 Lucifer FOX 1.10 1.18 -6.8% 2.00 Low
15 Aftermath Syfy 0.18 0.20 -11.0% n/a Low
16 Ash vs Evil Dead STARZ 0.18 0.20 -11.3% n/a Renewed
17 Van Helsing Syfy 0.17 0.20 -13.0% n/a Renewed
18 Timeless NBC 1.53 1.76 -13.4% n/a Low
19 Once Upon A Time (O) ABC 1.14 1.33 -14.2% n/a Low
20 The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 0.98 1.18 -17.4% n/a Moderate
21 MacGyver (O) (F) CBS 1.26 1.60 -21.4% n/a Low
22 The Good Place (O) NBC 1.33 1.76 -24.7% 2.65 Low
23 The Strain FX 0.42 0.60 -30.4% 0.97 Renewed
24 Vampire Diaries (O) (F) CW 0.40 0.60 -33.3% n/a Final Season
25 Agents of SHIELD (O) ABC 0.88 1.33 -33.8% 2.00 Medium
26 Scream Queens (O) FOX 0.75 1.18 -36.5% 1.50 Medium
27 The Exorcist (O) (F) FOX 0.74 1.18 -37.3% n/a Medium
28 Falling Water USA 0.17 0.30 -44.4% n/a Medium
29 Frequency (O) CW 0.33 0.60 -45.8% n/a Medium
30 Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency BBCA 0.12 0.40 -70.0% 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: Timeless Could be Running Out of Time, The Walking Dead Tops the Scorecard

  1. Brenda Kay

    Here we go yet again with a promising new series, which quickly goes right off the rails with silly side stories, mysterious bad men with secret agendas and that all too familiar feeling that nothing will be resolved or even explained.

    I really truly wish that Hollywood screen writers would learn the importance of presenting a story with has an engaging beginning, a relatively uncomplicated middle and a definite end.


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