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.
Ratings Results of Interest: On Monday, Freeform’s Shadowhunters returned for its second season and posted a 0.38 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 1.2 million total viewers. That ratings score is about even with its first season average and is at a decent level for Freeform these days. Shadowhunters also made it into the Nielsen Daily Social Media Top 5 for the night as that show continues to demonstrate “stickiness” in the social networks (it was the most social new TV show in its first season according to ListenFirst Media). On the same night, new series Beyond had its two-episode debut and pulled a 0.29 rating with 1.1 million total viewers. Those are still decent numbers for Freeform, and if the show can hold in that range while also registering on the social nets, it could stick around for a second season.
On Wednesday, Syfy’s Incorporated remained low at a 0.12 rating with 420k total viewers, meaning its ratings drop-off at the end of December can’t be blamed totally on the holiday lull. I still think it has a decent chance for renewal, though, because of the high-profile executive producers attached (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) and because Syfy typically gives its shows two seasons to prove themselves. Over on The CW, Frequency remained low for its mid-season return at a 0.2 rating with 670k total viewers, but that’s not a surprise seeing as it only had a repeat of Arrow as its lead-in.
On Thursday, NBC’s The Good Place returned from hiatus with only a 1.0 rating and 3.6 million total viewers (based on the preliminaries). If it stays at that level, it will find itself moved to Bubble status pretty soon.
On Friday, NBC’s Grimm returned for its final season at a 0.9 rating with 4.5 million total viewers, which is even with its average from last season. New series Emerald City averaged a 1.1 rating with 4.5 million total viewers for NBC across its two hour premiere, which are passable numbers for a Friday series, but this is a pretty expensive entry. The network is advertising this as an “event series”, and if these numbers sink at all (which they probably will), it could likely be limited-run-and-done. Over on FOX, Sleepy Hollow returned for its fourth season at a 0.6 rating with 2.2 million total viewers, and this will likely end up being its final year. On CBS, MacGyver improved after a few weeks off to a 1.2 rating with 8.5 million total viewers. Those are the best numbers that show has posted since September and maybe it is showing some life with its mid-season return. (All of the Friday results are based on the preliminaries.)
Measurement Changes: As the television viewing audience becomes ever more fractured and the overnight ratings numbers continue to shrink, the old methodology of predicting if a show will be cancelled or renewed is becoming increasingly more unreliable, especially for the cable entries. While the broadcast networks still cling to the early results released by Nielsen, the survival of cable shows has becoming increasingly tied to international and streaming partnerships. Thus, focusing on the week to week ratings results is just not giving a very accurate picture anymore. Delayed and multiple platform viewing numbers are starting to play a bigger role (though unfortunately those are not widely shared) as is social net trending. And some of the broadcast nets, particularly The CW, have close ties with the streaming services that could help their shows which are not seeing high viewership with their live broadcasts.
For these reasons and more, I will be discontinuing the weekly ratings roundup posts that show the full overnight results from the prior week. I will still have those results available on the individual show pages (with delayed viewing updated as the numbers come available), but will not list all of those out in one post each week. I will be continuing the Scorecard, though, because it gives a better overall picture of where shows stand in comparison to the other programming on the same network. Of course, that is still not always the best predictor for cable shows as we saw with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, but it has proven to be directionally correct more often than not. I will also continue to point out ratings results and trends of note as I have above, but obsessing on the numbers for each show each week is just no longer productive in the current environment. At some point, the Nielsen numbers as they are will either become completely useless or will be forced to change to reflect the current viewing patterns. But for now they are still mostly only useful for providing some perspective, particularly for the broadcast nets.
I will also be simplifying the Cancellation Alert statuses to the following four: Renewal Likely, Renewal Possible, On the Bubble, and Cancellation Likely (plus Renewed and Cancelled). For cable shows, I will typically only use the Renewal Possible and On the Bubble designations because it is much harder to determine their status with only the ratings numbers. I’ll bend from that at times like with currently airing shows such The Librarians and Shadowhunters (both Renewal Likely), but for the most part I will remain conservative with my assessment of the cable shows.
I will also be discontinuing the Cancellation Watch Hit List posts because I decided that I just had too many charts out there. So the Scorecard will track the status of all the shows from the current season and the Cancellation Watch Page will have the status of all the currently airing, returning and upcoming shows, thus consolidating from four charts (including the Ratings Roundup) to two. The Scorecard will shift to Tuesdays starting next week and I will put up additional posts through the week with ratings updates and/or breaking news as needed.
We are heading into a new era where the overnights are quickly becoming irrelevant for anything beyond the broadcast nets, but we will still do our best to keep track of which shows are trending towards renewal or cancellation utilizing the data available. And as mid-season kicks off, we have quite a number of sci fi and fantasy shows airing, returning, upcoming, or awaiting word on their fate. So keep a close eye on this site and the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for updates and breaking news.