Cancellation Watch: What Are The Chances for a Fifth Season of Agents of SHIELD? Plus the Scorecard

By | April 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.

Renewal Chances: We are just about a month away from the broadcast networks’ Upfronts when they present their schedules for the 2017-18 season to the advertisers (you can see the timing of that at this link), and by that time we should know whether ABC’s Agents of SHIELD will continue its mission beyond its fourth season.  That show has fought off the cancellation villain two seasons in a row, both times with saves from ABC’s parent company Disney in order to keep an Avengers tie-in on the Prime Time schedule.  But AoS is currently at all-time ratings lows and performing well below the network average, making its prospects of another renewal save from the Mouse House not very good.

The new series The Inhumans (not a spin-off from AoS) is set to take up the Tuesday 10 PM EST timeslot in Fall and that gives Disney its Avengers tie-in on the schedule.  But then that show only has an eight episode order at this point (I assume it could get and additional five to eight for the back half of the season if the ratings look good), so that does leave a void on the schedule.  Agents of SHIELD does do very well with delayed viewing (though I have yet to see much evidence that really matters to the broadcast nets beyond PR), and a fifth season would be padding to its syndication package.  So there is a possibility that AoS could get a thirteen-episode pickup to plug up time on the schedule.  And considering the fact that the networks have not done well with new shows the last couple of years, bringing a veteran back–even if its numbers aren’t great–might be more appealing, especially if they know they will make up the money from the syndication sales.

Ideally, Agents of SHIELD would do one more season that would have a cross-over with Agent Carter to tie those two shows together so that they could be packaged together for syndication.  But I have been saying that for a while and ABC hasn’t shown an interest in going that direction.   A Call to Action from the shows fans could definitely help, bringing some notice to it on the social networks.  If Agents of SHIELD fans could stage a campaign similar to what Timeless fans are currently doing, that might give it a bit more of a chance.  So I wouldn’t count this show out just yet, but it is definitely not in a good place as the networks head to the Upfronts next month (as it current rank on the Scorecard below indicates).  And for those hoping that Netflix will save the show, I don’t see that happening–especially after they passed on Agent Carter–because it does not fit in too well with the Marvel shows they currently have going.

Ratings Results of Interest: On Sunday, AMC’s Into the Badlands slipped to a 0.58 rating with 1.6 million total viewers without its lead-in from The Walking Dead.  That is further than I thought it would drop and it is an expensive show to produce, but I believe it can still survive at these levels.  If it slips much further, though, it will be entering Bubble territory.  Over on ABC, Once Upon A Time slipped to its lowest numbers yet, a 0.7 rating with 2.6 million total viewers, and it continues to look like that one could be in its final season.  Over on FOX, a repeat of Making History had the same 0.6 rating as a new episode of the show the prior week.  I believe that speaks more to how low the show’s numbers have dropped and less to the number of people trying to catch up on a prior episode.

Last Friday, The CW’s The Originals improved slightly to a 0.4 rating with 1.1 million total viewers and I continue to believe it will survive into a fifth and final season.  On Thursday, NBC’s Powerless improved to a 0.6 rating with two million total viewers, but that is almost certainly far too little far too late for that show.  Over on USA, Colony wrapped up its second season with a 0.25 rating and 820K total viewers and that one will be returning next year for its third season.

Scorecard:  AMC’s Into the Badlands only slipped by one slot on the Scorecard despite its ratings drop, but I do expect to see that one continue to slide down.  The CW’s iZombie entered the Scorecard in the upper half and I expect it to not drop too much as it coasts into a fourth season renewal.  NBC’s Powerless continues to slip, dropping three slots, and that seems surely headed to cancellation at this point.

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 April 9th (metric definitions below):

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg Net Bench % Var Live+7 Avg Rtg Status
1 (1) The Walking Dead AMC 5.39 0.60 798.2% 7.94 Renewed
2 (2) American Horror Story FX 1.58 0.60 162.5% 3.16 Renewed
3 (4) The Flash (O) CW 1.07 0.52 107.2% 1.91 Renewed
4 (3) Into the Badlands AMC 1.21 0.60 102.1% 2.00 Renewal Possible
5 (5) The Magicians Syfy 0.32 0.20 58.6% 0.75 Renewal Likely
6 (6) Supergirl (O) CW 0.78 0.52 50.0% 1.37 Renewed
7 (7) Star Wars Rebels DXD 0.14 0.10 44.7% 0.34 Renewal Likely
8 (8) Westworld HBO 0.80 0.60 33.8% 1.50 Renewed
9 (9) Arrow (O) CW 0.65 0.52 25.6% 1.18 Renewed
10 (11) Son of Zorn (O) FOX 1.28 1.02 25.1% n/a Renewal Possible
11 (10) Z Nation Syfy 0.25 0.20 24.3% 0.42 Renewed
12 (12) Legends of Tomorrow (O) CW 0.64 0.52 23.9% 1.14 Renewed
13 (13) Supernatural (O) CW 0.62 0.52 19.3% 1.13 Renewed
14 (15) Gotham FOX 1.14 1.02 11.2% 1.88 Renewal Likely
15 (14) Shadowhunters Free 0.28 0.25 11.2% 0.50 Renewal Likely
16 (16) Lucifer FOX 1.08 1.02 6.2% 1.85 Renewed
17 (17) Stan Against Evil IFC 0.08 0.08 -4.7% n/a Renewed
18 (18) The Librarians TNT 0.47 0.50 -5.2% 0.88 Renewed
19 (19) Channel Zero Syfy 0.19 0.20 -5.8% 0.38 Renewed
20 (20) The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 0.94 1.02 -7.6% 1.48 Renewal Possible
21 (22) The Good Place (O) NBC 1.25 1.42 -12.2% 1.91 Renewed
22 (21) Colony USA 0.26 0.30 -12.6% 0.60 Renewed
23 (23) The Expanse Syfy 0.17 0.20 -14.5% 0.38 Renewed
24 (n/a) iZombie (O) CW 0.40 0.47 -15.1% n/a Renewal Possible
25 (24) MacGyver (O) (F) CBS 1.09 1.31 -17.0% 1.74 Renewed
26 (25) People of Earth TBS 0.33 0.40 -18.1% n/a Renewed
27 (26) Incorporated Syfy 0.16 0.20 -20.0% 0.34 Cancelled
28 (27) Aftermath Syfy 0.16 0.20 -20.8% 0.33 Cancelled
29 (28) Van Helsing Syfy 0.16 0.20 -21.3% 0.30 Renewed
30 (29) Ash vs Evil Dead STARZ 0.16 0.20 -21.5% 0.34 Renewed
31 (31) Timeless NBC 1.11 1.42 -21.9% 2.07 Cancellation Likely
32 (30) Once Upon A Time (O) ABC 0.97 1.26 -22.9% 1.63 On the Bubble
33 (32) The 100 (O) CW 0.36 0.47 -23.0% 0.68 Renewed
34 (33) Making History (O) NBC 0.72 0.94 -23.4% n/a Cancellation Likely
35 (34) Legion (O) FX 0.45 0.60 -25.0% 1.20 Renewed
36 (35) Teen Wolf MTV 0.22 0.30 -25.7% 0.44 Final Season
37 (37) The Originals (O) CW 0.35 0.47 -25.7% 0.65 Renewal Possible
38 (36) Vampire Diaries (O) (F) CW 0.38 0.52 -27.5% 0.75 Ended
39 (38) The Strain FX 0.42 0.60 -30.8% 0.85 Renewed
40 (39) Guardians of the Galaxy DXD 0.07 0.10 -33.3% n/a Renewal Possible
41 (40) The Exorcist (O) (F) FOX 0.67 1.02 -34.4% 1.09 Cancellation Likely
42 (42) Scream Queens (O) FOX 0.61 1.02 -40.2% 0.96 Cancellation Likely
43 (43) Agents of SHIELD (O) ABC 0.74 1.26 -40.8% 1.61 Cancellation Likely
44 (41) Powerless (O) NBC 0.74 1.28 -41.8% n/a Cancellation Likely
45 (44) Beyond Free 0.14 0.25 -42.7% n/a Renewed
46 (45) Grimm (O) (F) NBC 0.80 1.42 -43.8% 1.43 Ended
47 (46) Sleepy Hollow (O) (F) FOX 0.51 0.94 -46.0% 0.94 On the Bubble
48 (47) Emerald City (O) (F) NBC 0.69 1.28 -46.0% 1.23 Cancellation Likely
49 (48) Frequency (O) CW 0.28 0.52 -46.5% 0.51 Cancellation Likely
50 (49) Salem WGN 0.08 0.15 -48.0% n/a Cancelled
51 (50) Falling Water USA 0.15 0.30 -51.0% 0.30 Renewed
52 (51) Time After Time ABC 0.53 1.26 -58.5% 0.70 Cancelled
53 (52) 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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