Cancellation Watch: Powerless is in Trouble, The Spring Slump is Here Already, Plus the Scorecard

By | February 28, 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.

Ratings Results of Interest: On Thursday of last week, NBC’s Powerless slipped to a 0.7 rating based on the 18-49 demographic with 2.3 million total viewers when the final numbers came in which has it firmly in cancellation territory, even when you compare it to NBC’s mid-season average (see below). I am moving its status to Cancellation Likely now. On Friday, CBS’ MacGyver rebounded from the prior week and pulled a 1.1 rating, though its total viewers (which matter more to older-skewing CBS) actually dropped to 6.9 million. I will continue to keep an eye on that show, but I believe it is safe for now. NBC’s Emerald City (0.6 rating / 2.4 M tot viewers) and FOX’s Sleepy Hollow (0.5 rating / 1.8M tot viewers) remained low and will likely not return for another season. On Saturday, Star Wars Rebels slipped to a 0.11 rating with 460k total viewers, but I am hearing there is a decent chance that show will come back for at least one more season.  On Sunday, The Walking Dead slipped to a 5.0 rating with 10.4 million total viewers, but it was up against the Oscars so I am not attributing that to the “Walking Dexit”.  I covered the ratings for the early week show previously at this link.

Spring Slump: For the past few years we have been seeing a notable slump in the ratings for the broadcast networks during the Spring, and that appears to have started early this season. Typically the drop is most notable right when we set our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time, but this year it appears that the drop occurred in January, with numbers notably down from Fall. As you can see in the chart below, all of the broadcast networks are down this year during the January thru February time frame except for ABC (bolstered by a strong mid-season return for The Bachelor). That chart shows the network averages for non-sports, non-special, and non-repeat programming (with outlier Empire excluded from FOX’s numbers as well). NBC and The CW look particularly bad, but the former network will see its numbers rise when The Voice returns. The CW on the other hand, just continues to slide every year. And the fact is that these numbers will go down further for all the networks after DST if the typical trend that we see for that time of year holds. Surprisingly, that hasn’t impacted the networks’ ability to sell advertising time as the sponsors lined up once again at last year’s Upfronts to buy up slots for their commercials. But at some point, with the dwindling audience and fractured TV viewing landscape, you have to figure this will take its toll. I will not make a blanket adjustment to the scorecard below to look at just the 2017 averages for the broadcast nets like I did last year because that will cause significant shuffling that will impact the cable shows (they were previously on a separate scorecard). But for the broadcast net shows that debuted this year, I will compare them to the 2017 average, not the full season numbers. That will help them some, but I am expecting some pretty low numbers for the late season entries, so it probably will not matter too much.

Network Fall 2016 Mid-Season 2017 % Var
ABC 1.3 1.4 11.5%
CBS 1.4 1.2 -12.1%
FOX 1.1 1.0 -9.4%
NBC 1.6 1.2 -27.8%
CW 0.6 0.5 -20.3%

Scorecard: Because of the change in the benchmarks that I mentioned above, Powerless, The 100, Emerald City, and Sleepy Hollow all saw their standings improve since I am now comparing them only to 2017 averages. But expect them to start slipping back down if their numbers remain low (and I have every reason to believe they will).

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.

Scorecard based on the ratings through February 26th (metric definitions below):

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg Net Bench % Var Live+7 Avg Rtg Status
1 (1) The Walking Dead AMC 5.67 0.60 844.5% 8.40 Renewed
2 (2) American Horror Story FX 1.58 0.60 162.5% 3.16 Renewed
3 (3) The Flash (O) CW 1.12 0.53 110.8% 1.98 Renewed
4 (4) The Magicians Syfy 0.38 0.20 89.0% 0.83 Renewal Likely
5 (5) Supergirl (O) CW 0.81 0.53 52.7% 1.41 Renewed
6 (6) Star Wars Rebels DXD 0.15 0.10 49.3% 0.33 Renewal Likely
7 (7) Westworld HBO 0.80 0.60 33.8% 1.50 Renewed
8 (8) Arrow (O) CW 0.69 0.53 29.6% 1.25 Renewed
9 (9) Legends of Tomorrow (O) CW 0.68 0.53 29.2% 1.20 Renewed
10 (10) Z Nation Syfy 0.25 0.20 24.3% 0.42 Renewed
11 (11) Supernatural (O) CW 0.64 0.53 20.7% 1.15 Renewed
12 (12) Son of Zorn (O) FOX 1.28 1.08 17.8% n/a Renewal Possible
13 (13) Shadowhunters Free 0.29 0.25 14.0% 0.50 Renewal Likely
14 (14) Gotham FOX 1.14 1.08 4.7% 1.88 Renewal Likely
15 (16) Lucifer FOX 1.08 1.08 0.0% 1.85 Renewed
16 (18) The Expanse Syfy 0.19 0.20 -3.8% 0.40 Renewal Possible
17 (17) Stan Against Evil IFC 0.08 0.08 -4.7% n/a Renewed
18 (15) Legion (O) FX 0.57 0.60 -5.0% 1.60 Renewal Likely
19 (19) The Librarians TNT 0.47 0.50 -5.2% 0.88 Renewed
20 (20) Channel Zero Syfy 0.19 0.20 -5.8% 0.38 Renewed
21 (22) The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 0.98 1.08 -9.8% 1.53 Renewal Possible
22 (21) Colony USA 0.27 0.30 -11.0% 0.66 Renewal Possible
23 (23) The Good Place (O) NBC 1.25 1.44 -13.4% 1.91 Renewed
24 (32) The 100 (O) CW 0.40 0.46 -13.4% 0.70 On the Bubble
25 (24) MacGyver (O) (F) CBS 1.12 1.35 -17.2% 1.78 Renewal Possible
26 (25) People of Earth TBS 0.33 0.40 -18.1% n/a Renewed
27 (26) Once Upon A Time (O) ABC 1.05 1.30 -19.4% 1.67 Renewal Possible
28 (27) Incorporated Syfy 0.16 0.20 -20.0% 0.34 Cancelled
29 (28) Aftermath Syfy 0.16 0.20 -20.8% 0.33 Cancelled
30 (29) Van Helsing Syfy 0.16 0.20 -21.3% 0.30 Renewed
31 (30) Ash vs Evil Dead STARZ 0.16 0.20 -21.5% 0.34 Renewed
32 (31) Timeless NBC 1.11 1.44 -22.9% 2.14 Cancellation Likely
33 (33) Teen Wolf MTV 0.22 0.30 -25.7% 0.44 Final Season
34 (36) Powerless (O) NBC 0.85 1.18 -28.1% n/a Cancellation Likely
35 (34) The Strain FX 0.42 0.60 -30.8% 0.85 Renewed
36 (35) Vampire Diaries (O) (F) CW 0.36 0.53 -31.1% 0.74 Final Season
37 (37) The Exorcist (O) (F) FOX 0.67 1.08 -38.2% 1.09 Cancellation Likely
38 (38) Beyond Free 0.15 0.25 -40.0% n/a Renewed
39 (45) Emerald City (O) (F) NBC 0.69 1.18 -41.9% 1.25 Cancellation Likely
40 (39) Agents of SHIELD (O) ABC 0.75 1.30 -42.7% 1.64 Cancellation Likely
41 (40) Scream Queens (O) FOX 0.61 1.08 -43.7% 0.96 Cancellation Likely
42 (41) Grimm (O) (F) NBC 0.80 1.44 -44.5% 1.45 Final Season
43 (46) Sleepy Hollow (O) (F) NBC 0.55 1.02 -46.3% 0.98 On the Bubble
44 (42) Frequency (O) CW 0.28 0.53 -47.7% 0.51 Cancellation Likely
45 (43) Salem WGN 0.08 0.15 -48.0% n/a Cancelled
46 (44) Falling Water USA 0.15 0.30 -51.0% 0.30 On the Bubble
47 (47) Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency BBCA 0.09 0.40 -77.5% n/a Renewed

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.  But note that with cable entries intangibles such as international and/or streaming partnerships can play an important factor in a shows survival and that is not measured here.

% Var:  The percent 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 benchmark.

Live+7 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.

Status: My assessment of the likelihood that a show will get renewed or cancelled. The statuses are Renewal Likely, Renewal Possible, On the Bubble, Cancellation Likely (plus Renewed and Cancelled/Ended)

Ratings Source: ShowBuzzDaily and TV by the Numbers

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