Cancellation Watch: No Time for Time Travel as Time After Time and Making History Debut Poorly

By | March 7, 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 Premieres: On Sunday, two new sci fi shows debuted–both time travel themed–though neither of them made much of an impression in the ratings. On ABC, Time After Time could only must a 0.7 rating based on the 18-49 demographic with 2.5 million total viewers. That is a near disastrous debut for that show and it could get yanked from the schedule at any point as repeats of some of ABC’s more popular shows would probably pull better numbers. Expect this show, which was apparently rather poorly promoted, to be one-season-and-done and it could likely find itself cast to a Summer burn-off run. Over on FOX, the time travel comedy Making History did not fair much better, pulling only a 0.9 score for its debut with 2.2 million total viewers. It was the lowest rated of the network’s comedies airing in the two hour Sunday Prime Time block, and it is certainly more expensive than your average sitcom. This one may get to air out its first season at these levels, but don’t expect a second season unless the show starts trending up over the coming weeks (an unlikely prospect).

Ratings Results of Interest: On Sunday, ABC’s Once Upon A Time returned from its three month hiatus at series low levels, pulling only a 0.9 rating based on the demo with thee million total viewers. That night has practically become a wasteland for non-sports, non-special programming on the broadcast nets and the once reliable Once Upon A Time has become a pale shadow of what it previously was ratings-wise. I am moving this one to Bubble status as it looks like this could be its final season. Over on FOX, The Last Man on Earth returned from its extended hiatus at a 1.0 rating with 2.2 million total viewers. Those aren’t great numbers, but also not terrible, so that one still has a chance to come back for a fourth season. On AMC, The Walking Dead slipped to a season low 4.7 rating with 10.2 million total viewers. That still has it as the top-rated scripted show on all of television, but apparently the “Walking Dexit” has not ended for this show yet. On Friday, NBC’s Emerald City improved slightly to a 0.7 rating with 2.9 million total viewers. But with only one episode left in its first season, that is likely too little too late. Over on FOX, Sleepy Hollow hit a new series low with a 0.4 rating and 1.9 million total viewers. That has the show at a level that would be iffy even for The CW, and it is looking less and less likely that this one will return for a fifth season.

One show that fell completely off my radar was AMC’s Humans which returned for its second season three weeks ago. That one debuted with a 0.20 rating, which was only half of the its season average from its first year, and has since slipped as low as a 0.12 score. However, Its fate is more closely tied to how it performed on Channel 4 in Britain this past Fall when its second season aired over there. According to Wikipedia, its Year 2 numbers were about half of what it saw there during its first season, so it is looking uncertain at this point if Channel 4 will bring this one back for a third season.

Scorecard: Making History entered the Scorecard at Number 21, which may not look too bad since that is only one slot below fellow FOX sitcom The Last Man on Earth. But that latter series already has three seasons under its belt and is almost certainly less expensive to produce. And Making History will surely fall further in the coming weeks. ABC’s Time After Time entered near the bottom of the Scorecard, pretty much assuring that time will run out on that one quickly. NBC’s Emerald City slipped three slots despite its ratings improvement, but the return of The Voice this last week skewed that network’s average up. And I will not be including AMC’s Humans in the Scorecard because that show’s survival depends heavily on its performance in Britain.

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 March 5th (metric definitions below):

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg Net Bench % Var Live+7 Avg Rtg Status
1 (1) The Walking Dead AMC 5.53 0.60 821.3% 8.34 Renewed
2 (2) American Horror Story FX 1.58 0.60 162.5% 3.16 Renewed
3 (3) The Flash (O) CW 1.11 0.53 110.8% 1.98 Renewed
4 (4) The Magicians Syfy 0.37 0.20 84.2% 0.80 Renewal Likely
5 (5) Supergirl (O) CW 0.80 0.53 51.3% 1.41 Renewed
6 (6) Star Wars Rebels DXD 0.15 0.10 46.3% 0.34 Renewal Likely
7 (7) Westworld HBO 0.80 0.60 33.8% 1.50 Renewed
8 (9) Legends of Tomorrow (O) CW 0.68 0.53 29.3% 1.20 Renewed
9 (8) Arrow (O) CW 0.68 0.53 28.6% 1.25 Renewed
10 (10) Z Nation Syfy 0.25 0.20 24.3% 0.42 Renewed
11 (11) Supernatural (O) CW 0.64 0.53 20.2% 1.15 Renewed
12 (12) Son of Zorn (O) FOX 1.28 1.08 18.7% n/a Renewal Possible
13 (13) Shadowhunters Free 0.28 0.25 11.1% 0.50 Renewal Likely
14 (14) Gotham FOX 1.14 1.08 5.6% 1.88 Renewal Likely
15 (15) Lucifer FOX 1.08 1.08 0.8% 1.85 Renewed
16 (16) The Expanse Syfy 0.20 0.20 -1.0% 0.40 Renewal Possible
17 (17) Stan Against Evil IFC 0.08 0.08 -4.7% n/a Renewed
18 (19) The Librarians TNT 0.47 0.50 -5.2% 0.88 Renewed
19 (20) Channel Zero Syfy 0.19 0.20 -5.8% 0.38 Renewed
20 (21) The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 0.98 1.08 -8.9% 1.53 Renewal Possible
21 (m/a) Making History (O) NBC 0.90 1.01 -11.0% n/a On the Bubble
22 (22) Colony USA 0.27 0.30 -11.3% 0.63 Renewal Possible
23 (18) Legion (O) FX 0.52 0.60 -13.3% 1.45 Renewal Likely
24 (23) The Good Place (O) NBC 1.25 1.46 -14.3% 1.91 Renewed
25 (24) The 100 (O) CW 0.40 0.47 -14.8% 0.70 On the Bubble
26 (25) MacGyver (O) (F) CBS 1.12 1.34 -16.7% 1.78 Renewal Possible
27 (26) People of Earth TBS 0.33 0.40 -18.1% n/a Renewed
28 (27) Once Upon A Time (O) ABC 1.04 1.28 -19.0% 1.67 On the Bubble
29 (28) Incorporated Syfy 0.16 0.20 -20.0% 0.34 Cancelled
30 (29) Aftermath Syfy 0.16 0.20 -20.8% 0.33 Cancelled
31 (30) Van Helsing Syfy 0.16 0.20 -21.3% 0.30 Renewed
32 (31) Ash vs Evil Dead STARZ 0.16 0.20 -21.5% 0.34 Renewed
33 (32) Timeless NBC 1.11 1.46 -23.8% 2.09 Cancellation Likely
34 (33) Teen Wolf MTV 0.22 0.30 -25.7% 0.44 Final Season
35 (36) Vampire Diaries (O) (F) CW 0.37 0.53 -30.6% 0.75 Final Season
36 (35) The Strain FX 0.42 0.60 -30.8% 0.85 Renewed
37 (34) Powerless (O) NBC 0.85 1.25 -32.1% n/a Cancellation Likely
38 (37) The Exorcist (O) (F) FOX 0.67 1.08 -37.7% 1.09 Cancellation Likely
39 (40) Agents of SHIELD (O) ABC 0.75 1.28 -41.6% 1.63 Cancellation Likely
40 (38) Beyond Free 0.14 0.25 -42.7% n/a Renewed
41 (41) Scream Queens (O) FOX 0.61 1.08 -43.3% 0.96 Cancellation Likely
42 (39) Emerald City (O) (F) NBC 0.69 1.25 -45.0% 1.23 Cancellation Likely
43 (42) Grimm (O) (F) NBC 0.80 1.46 -45.2% 1.44 Final Season
44 (n/a) Time After Time ABC 0.70 1.32 -47.1% n/a Cancellation Likely
45 (43) Sleepy Hollow (O) (F) NBC 0.53 1.01 -47.3% 0.97 On the Bubble
46 (44) Frequency (O) CW 0.28 0.53 -47.6% 0.51 Cancellation Likely
47 (45) Salem WGN 0.08 0.15 -48.0% n/a Cancelled
48 (46) Falling Water USA 0.15 0.30 -51.0% 0.30 On the Bubble
49 (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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