Cancellation Watch: What are the Renewal Chances for The Last Man on Earth and FOX’s Other Sci Fi Comedies?

By | May 6, 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: As we head into the May Upfronts for the broadcast networks I will be looking at some of this season’s marginal series and considering their chances for renewal.  FOX has three genre comedies airing this season, The Last Man on Earth, Son of Zorn, and Making History, and all three of them come from the executive producer team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. But despite the fact that the network has been courting that duo for television development for several years, that have yet to land a hit for FOX, and it is not impossible that all three of their current shows could be gone by season end. The time travel comedy Making History is almost certainly going to be sent to the Network Executioner this year. That show debuted to tepid ratings and it is currently one of the lowest rating shows on the network. And I haven’t seen much in the way of fan support, so I am expecting it to be history by the end of the season.

Son of Zorn, is a bit of a crapshoot. It’s season average ratings look pretty good and it is actually one the network’s higher rated shows based on that, but those numbers are heavily skewed by football overruns into Prime Time in the Fall. When the show did not have a strong lead-in, its numbers were generally pretty tepid. Add to that the fact that it is more expensive to produce than the typical sitcom because of its mix of animation and live action and that would likely make it less attractive to bring back. Plus, this one needs a longer than average lead time for production because of its animation, so it seems unlikely they can have the second season ready for Fall if it gets the renewal nod now. But then FOX has been struggling in general of late and may be willing to bring back anything that had even the semblance of good ratings and they could target this for a mid-season return. I have had this one at the Renewal Possible status, but I am shifting it to On the Bubble because it really needed an advance renewal announcement to start gearing up production. But still consider it pretty much fifty-fifty at this point as it could be held for a later start in the season.

As for The Last Man on Earth, that show has been around the longest and I believe it has the best chance of returning for another season, possibly more. It is a relatively inexpensive sitcom and its numbers are at least at passable levels. It’s also definitely cheaper for FOX to bring this one back for another year rather than ramp up production on a new series that may or may not have the same level of success. One more season will get the show to around 70 episodes (its typical episode order has been 18) which might be acceptable to the syndication market and two more should get it right to the 88 episode threshold. Since FOX seems to want to keep working with Lord and Miller, I’m thinking the network will not want to cancel all the shows they currently have going.  And The Last Man on Earth has developed into a cult show that could fill a slot on the schedule for a couple more years and eventually turn a decent profit in syndication (FOX does own it). I have had this show at the Renewal Possible status for a while and I am leaving it there for now. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if it ended up getting the ax if FOX decided to do a total schedule shakeup, but I believe it has a decent chance of surviving at least one more season.

Ratings Results of Interest: On Monday, FOX’s Lucifer returned from it long Spring hiatus with a 1.0 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demo and 3.4 million total viewers. That’s down from where it was in January but still better than where most of the network’s shows are performing right now. Plus, it has already been renewed for a third season. Leading into that, Gotham also had a 1.0 rating with 3.0 million total viewers. I’m expecting a renewal announcement for that one and I am guessing they are just trying to negotiate contracts at this point. On Tuesday, The CW’s iZombie remained at a 0.3 rating with 925K total viewers. Those numbers are pretty low, but I still believe that the Happy Net will keep this one around for at least one more season. Over on ABC, Agents of SHIELD remained at a 0.7 ratings with 2.1 million total viewers, but word is that one will likely get the fifth (possibly final) season nod. Apart from that, it was all CW shows during the week that are experiencing their typical Spring lulls but which have all been renewed.

The Charts: Starz’s American Gods did not make it into the Weekly Nielsen Social Net Top 10 like I thought it might, though it was in the Daily Top 5 at Number 3. Apart from that, there was no chart activity of note for the week across genre shows.

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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