Cancellation Watch: Legion Has Good Debut for FX, Timeless is Almost Out of Time

By | February 11, 2017

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.

Series Premiere: On Wednesday, FX’s X-Men spin-off series Legion had its debut and it pulled a 0.69 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 1.6 million total viewers. Those are pretty impressive numbers for a cable show these days and have this one off to a good start coming out of the gate. And while the show might not be in the same range as FX’s American Horror Story, which had a 1.6 rating average this past Fall, it is definitely better than the 0.4 average The Strain pulled for the network during its most recent season. I’m guessing that FX has other financing arrangements in place so that the show does not have to rely as heavily on linear viewing, as has become quite common with cable entries of late. But with the ratings at this level, that gives it an extra boost. If it can hold in the 0.5 to 0.6 range throughout its first season run, then I consider this one a lock for a second season renewal.

Time is Running Out: On Monday, NBC’s Timeless slipped to its lowest numbers yet as it could only muster a 0.6 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demo with 2.9 million total viewers. Now it is true that Celebrity Apprentice is providing a much weaker lead-in than The Voice did in the Fall, but with numbers this low, that won’t give Timeless a pass. The show regularly lost a fair amount of the audience from The Voice during the first half of the season (sometimes over 50%), so it was already under-performing before getting a new lead-in in January. And overall, its season to date average of a 1.2 rating is well below the network’s average of a 1.5 score. Timeless has seen decent gains from delayed viewing, but the networks still discount those number heavily, despite what they may tell you. The show only has two more episodes left in its first season, and that does not give it enough time for a ratings surge. At this point, I do not believe that NBC will see fit to bring this one back for a second season and I am changing its status to Cancellation Likely.

Ratings Results of Interest: On Tuesday, ABC’s Agents of SHIELD improved slightly to a 0.7 rating based on the demo with 2.1 million total viewers. But that doesn’t get it out of the ratings sewer and I still believe this one will bow out after its fourth season. On Wednesday, Syfy’s The Expanse saw a notable drop for its second Season 2 episode as it slipped 28% to a 0.18 rating with 590k total viewers. I don’t know if the Legion debut (which aired in the same hour) impacted its linear numbers, but I’m thinking that The Expanse draws a fair amount of its audience from digital viewing. And the buzz for that show remains very positive on the internet, so I’m thinking a third season should still be a good bet for that one. On Thursday, NBC’s Powerless slipped to a 0.8 rating with 2.5 million total viewers which has that one in trouble pretty early. If it had managed to hold above a 1.0 score, I would still think it had a chance. But I thinking that NBC will be hard-pressed to stick with this one at these levels. If it makes a surge next week, it might have a chance. But for now, I am moving its status to On the Bubble and that will change to Cancellation Likely pretty soon if its numbers do not improve. Over on USA, Colony improved to a 0.31 rating with 890k total viewers, its best numbers for its second season. At this point, I am liking this show’s chances of surviving into a third year.

The Charts: There was a little bit more activity on the charts than we have seen of late as both Lucifer and Gotham made it into the broadcast net Top 25 based on the overnights for the 18-49 demo (at Number 19 and 24 respectively) with their last new episodes before going on a second hiatus. And MacGyver was back with a new episode last week which landed at Number 11 in the broadcast net Top 25 based on total viewers. Also, Teen Wolf made it into the Nielsen Social Media Top 10 for the week at Number 9 with its mid-season finale episode. Expect The Walking Dead to return to that chart as well as the Cable Top 25 with its mid-season return this Sunday.

Series Chart Curr Wk Rank Prior Wk Rank
Gotham Broadcast Net Top 25 (18-49 Demo) 24 25
Lucifer Broadcast Net Top 25 (18-49 Demo) 19 n/a
MacGyver Broadcast Net Top 25 (Total Viewers) 11 n/a
Teen Wolf Nielsen Social Net Ratings Top 10 9 n/a

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 for more information on where I get these numbers and how I make my Cancellation Alert assessments, check out the Cancelled Sci Fi FAQ.

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