If you have an active campaign to support a struggling sci fi / fantasy show or save a cancelled one, send us the information at cancelledscifi [at] gmail [dot] com and we will pass it along.
The Nielsen ratings continue to drive the fate of the shows currently on television, especially at the broadcast networks (and yes, those execs do watch the overnights closely despite what they will tell you). But the tide is changing and fans have social media and digital viewing as tools to let the networks know that there is a larger audience out there than what the Nielsens are measuring (and/or failing to capture). Live tweeting when an episode airs is one of the best ways for fans to show their support. And hashtag campaigns throughout the week are a good idea as well. The other social media sites should also play into this: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever the latest one is can all provide a means for fans to support their shows and get the word out for other people to start watching. Also, watching a show online either through Hulu or the network’s website helps because your views are captured there (whereas only Nielsen families are picked up for the linear viewing). Plus, buying episodes from VOD services like Amazon Instant Video and iTunes will help if done en masse as part of an organized effort, because that goes directly to the bottom line for a show (and takes the Nielsens out of the equation). (I go into more detail on what fans can do to at this link.)
Most importantly, if fans want to send a message, they need to organize, target their campaign, and consistently do any or all of the above to show their support. This is your Call to Action to make your voices (and numbers) known and to do your part to save your favorite shows.
We are in the home stretch before the Upfronts in May when the networks will set their schedules for the 2017-18 season, and now is when fans should be pushing hard to support their shows if they are struggling in the ratings. Getting a show trending on the social networks and also getting a boost to its digital viewing over the next few weeks could provide that final nudge that sways the network executives on a renewal decision as they try to hammer out their slate for the upcoming season. Below is the upfront schedule for the broadcast networks and we should know the fate of all the shows on those channels by that time. So any push from the fans will have to happen before then.
Monday, May 15, 2017 NBC
Monday, May 15, 2017 FOX
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 ABC
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 CBS
Thursday, May 18, 2017 The CW
Here are the shows that could most benefit from a strong showing of support from fans RIGHT NOW. (And you can see the status of all this season’s shows over at the Scorecared at this link.)
Renewals and cancellations since the last Call to Action Post: Colony (USA, Renewed for a 3rd Season), Falling Water (USA, Renewed for a 2nd Season), Time After Time (ABC, Cancelled)
Agents of SHIELD (ABC, Cancellation Likely): We have been here every year with this one since its second season, and Entertainment Weekly currently believes the shows chances to get a fifth (likely final) season are good. One more year is padding to the syndication package for Agents of SHIELD and also gives it the chance to wrap up its storylines so that it plays better to binge-watching. But that fifth season is not guaranteed, so a push from the fans could help sway the network execs. Getting it trending on the social networks as it wraps up its fourth season could help this one as well as watching online (Hulu and the ABC website) and/or buying pasts seasons on DVD or digitally. And perhaps the fans could lobby for an Agent Carter cross-over in the fifth season to give some better closure with that character as well.
Emerald City (NBC, Cancellation Likely): This one looks like it will likely be one-season-and-done based on its low ratings, unless the network thinks it might play well to the international audience. Fans should try to get it trending on the social networks and also watch it online (Hulu and NBC’s website) to give it a boost, and maybe the network will consider a second season.
The Exorcist (FOX, Cancellation Likely): The ratings were not good for this show, but it received high praise from fans and critics. A social network campaign could bring more attention to it, and the show is available on Hulu and at FOX’s website. If the network sees enough support, perhaps they will see fit to keep it around another year to plug up an hour on low viewership Fridays.
The Expanse (Syfy, Renewed): Yes, this show was renewed for a third season, but its ratings remain dangerously low so we don’t want that to be its last. It has been very well received by the sci fi community and TV critics as well, and it delivers on that space-based epic that so many fans have been clamoring for. So we need to spread the word (Syfy is terrible about promoting their own shows). Let people know about the show and that they can catch up with the first season on Amazon Prime (and I expect Syfy to marathon the second the season before its finale on April 19th). This is a show that is built to last for multiple years and it truly is a great science fiction series. If we want it to stick around beyond its third season, we must help promote it and drive as many viewers to it as possible.
Frequency (CW, Cancellation Likely): This one’s numbers were low even for a CW entry, but the Happy Net likes to renew shows, so it still has a chance. Fans should spread the word about the show because the entire first season is now available on Netflix. If the viewership numbers there look good and if this one is trending on the social nets, that may be enough to convince the fifth-place network to give it a second season.
iZombie (CW, Renewal Possible): This show has returned for its third season posting typically mediocre ratings for The CW, but that comes as no surprise. It has a loyal following and it typically gets good marks from critics. But the fans should definitely be very active on the social nets and let others know that they can catch up on the first two seasons on Netflix. The CW currently has a lot of shows in the pipeline, so this one doesn’t want to get squeezed out of the mix.
Guardians of the Galaxy (DXD, On the Bubble): The survival of animated shows is typically driven as much by their merchandising as their ratings, but the linear numbers for this show have dropped far enough that Disney may not have much interest in keeping it around for a third year. Fans may want to spread the word about the show on the social nets, watch it digitally, and buy up the toys (if there are any still on the shelves) if they want another season from this one.
The Last Man on Earth (FOX, Renewal Possible): Right now, the numbers look decent for this show and it is likely not that expensive to produce, so the odds seem to be in its favor. But that is definitely not guaranteed, so fans should give it a push on the social nets and with digital viewing (Hulu and the FOX website) to help improve its chances.
Making History (FOX, On the Bubble): This is currently the lowest rated show in FOX’s Sunday comedy block, having slipped to cancellation levels at this point. Fans should get it trending on the social networks to bring attention to the show, and digital viewing could help as well. This one is barely hanging and needs a strong push at the moment.
Once Upon A Time (ABC, On the Bubble): This show is at its lowest ratings in its six-year run, and it no longer leads the broadcast net shows on Sundays as it once did. The current plan is to wrap up the main story arcs at the end of this season, but its creators have ideas to keep it going into a seventh year. This is another one the Entertainment Weekly believes will be back for another season, but fans should make a show of support on the social nets and with digital viewing (Hulu and the ABC website) to help give it that extra nudge before the network makes its final decision.
The Originals (CW, Renewal Possible): This one has returned for its fourth season matching its series low ratings, but The CW typically gives shows that have lasted this long a final season instead of just cancelling them. Still, a push from fans on the social networks (and watching past seasons on Netflix) could definitely help its chances of getting that fifth year.
Powerless (NBC, Cancellation Likely): This show definitely has very little ratings power, and its numbers have slipped to almost certain cancellation levels. Short of a major show of support on the social nets and with digital viewing, this one looks certainly to be on its way out.
Scream Queens (FOX, Cancellation Likely): The numbers for this show were pretty low in its second season run in Fall, but it did trend well on the social nets. Fans should get active in that arena once again and watch it online at Hulu and FOX’s site. This one could get tacked on to the American Horror Story syndication package (which shares the same creative team), so FOX could consider bringing it back for a third season to use it as Friday night filler.
Sleepy Hollow (FOX, On the Bubble): Are there any fans of this show still out there? Judging by its current ratings, not too many. Allegedly, this one plays well to the international audience which is what has kept it going into a fourth season. So any push from fans on the social networks and/or watching online (Hulu and FOX’s website) would definitely help its cause. Because at the show’s current ratings levels, the network will be hard-pressed to justify bringing this one back for another year.
Son of Zorn (FOX, Renewal Possible): This show’s season average ratings are good enough to get it a renewal, but that’s definitely not guaranteed. It could use a show of support to help nudge FOX toward that renewal nod.
Time After Time (ABC, Cancelled): This show was yanked from the schedule after its fifth episode, and even though ABC did not officially announce its cancellation (because networks hate to do that these days), it is all but gone. If there are any fans of this one out there, they should rally together before the Upfronts. But it will take a monumental effort at this point to change its fate.
Timeless (NBC, Cancellation Likely): This show disappointed in the post-The Voice slot and it is an expensive series to produce. But a very active campaign staging episode re-watch parties is currently underway on Twitter using the #RenewTimeless hashtag. You can read more about that at this link.