Cancellation Watch: Twin Peaks Falls Off the Cliff, Plus the Scorecard

By | May 31, 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 Drop: Showtime’s Twin Peaks received no good news from the Nielsen’s this week as that one saw its ratings plummet from its already tepid debut. On Sunday, the show aired its third and fourth episodes back-to-back, but only managed an infinitesimal 0.04 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 195K total viewers. I know those two episodes were available early for those who subscribe to Showtime’s streaming service, but I don’t believe that fully explains the 73% drop from the prior week’s 0.15 rating. HBO did a similar thing last year by making the second Game of Thrones Season 6 episode available to streaming early, but the Sunday night linear ratings only dropped by 8% in the second week (which is actually lower than the typical drop we see from a season premiere episode).

So apparently the return of Twin Peaks drew some curious onlookers early, but they departed at a high rate before the show’s second airing. It also dropped out of the Weekly Nielsen Social Top 10 in its second week, suggesting that the social net crowd has cooled on the show. Showtime has an out on this one, though, because they approached it as a “limited series”. But we know that these type of shows are really only limited based on how large the audience is. If the network had hoped for an additional season, they will be hard-pressed to justify it based on the indifference people have shown to this revival. I don’t consider it impossible that another season could happen, especially if the current run ends on a cliffhanger. But I am guessing the network will cut its losses and stick with that “limited series” story.

Ratings Results of Interest: Over on HBO on Sunday, The Leftovers had a 0.30 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 800K total viewers. That network decided to cut that one short to only three seasons after it experienced notable ratings drops from its first to second year. But interestingly it has actually improved slightly on its numbers from last year and actually looks pretty good for a cable show these days. If this coming Sunday’s series finale is not too final, I wonder if HBO might consider a fourth year (don’t count on it).

Last week, the three CW superhero shows all saw slight improvements for their season finales: Supergirl – 0.6 rating with 2.1 million total viewers, The Flash – 1.1 rating with thee million total viewers, Arrow – 0.6 rating with 1.7 million total viewers. But Supergirl and Arrow definitely dropped off in the second half of the season and you have to wonder how strong they will come back in Fall. Luckily for both they air on the fifth-place network that prefers to renew shows rather than cancel them, even when ratings are slipping.

Scheduling Shift: FOX’s The Orville got a slight bit of good news when NBC announced a scheduling shift today. The peacock network was planning on moving their freshman breakout hit This is Us to Thursdays at 9 PM EST which is when the FOX show will be airing this coming Fall. Instead, This is Us will remain on Tuesdays and The Orville will have to go up against the Will & Grace revival and Great News. I still don’t like the scheduling for the sci fi spoof which comes from Seth McFarlane, but this move means the competition will not be quite as stiff.  The bad news for NBC’s supernatural comedy The Good Place is that it will lose the lead-in it would have had from The Voice on Tuesdays, but it gets shifted back to Thursdays at 8:30 PM EST where it did okay in its first season.

Scorecard: Twin Peaks fell to the second to last slot on the Scorecard after its ratings drop, which is not a huge surprise. I don’t know that it will bottom out by the time it ends its run, but I don’t expect it to climb much.

For the regular season broadcast net shows, the network benchmark is now locked in seeing as the season has wrapped up. For the Summer broadcast net genre entries, I will probably set their benchmark at 20% below the regular season number seeing as viewership typically drops off notably this time of year.

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 May 28th (metric definitions below):

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg Net Bench % Var Live+7 Avg Rtg Status
1 (1) The Walking Dead (O) AMC 5.39 0.60 798.2% 7.95 Renewed
2 (2) American Horror Story (O) FX 1.58 0.60 162.5% 3.16 Renewed
3 (3) The Flash (O) CW 1.06 0.50 112.2% 1.88 Renewed
4 (4) The Magicians Syfy 0.31 0.20 54.6% 0.71 Renewed
5 (6) Supergirl (O) CW 0.72 0.50 45.2% 1.32 Renewed
6 (5) American Gods STARZ 0.29 0.20 45.0% n/a Renewed
7 (7) Star Wars Rebels (O) DXD 0.14 0.10 44.7% 0.34 Renewed
8 (8) Westworld HBO 0.80 0.60 33.8% 1.50 Renewed
9 (9) Into the Badlands AMC 0.79 0.60 31.5% 1.44 Renewed
10 (10) Son of Zorn (O) FOX 1.28 0.98 30.2% n/a Cancelled
11 (11) Legends of Tomorrow (O) CW 0.64 0.50 28.8% 1.13 Renewed
12 (12) Arrow (O) CW 0.63 0.50 25.7% 1.14 Renewed
13 (13) Z Nation Syfy 0.25 0.20 24.3% 0.42 Renewed
14 (14) Supernatural (O) CW 0.60 0.50 19.6% 1.09 Renewed
15 (15) Gotham FOX 1.09 0.98 11.6% 1.86 Renewed
16 (16) Shadowhunters Free 0.28 0.25 11.2% 0.50 Renewal Likely
17 (17) Lucifer FOX 1.04 0.98 5.6% 1.84 Renewed
18 (18) Stan Against Evil IFC 0.08 0.08 -4.7% n/a Renewed
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 (21) The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 0.91 0.98 -7.0% 1.48 Renewed
22 (22) The Good Place (O) NBC 1.25 1.35 -7.4% 1.91 Renewed
23 (23) Colony USA 0.26 0.30 -12.6% 0.60 Renewed
24 (24) MacGyver (O) (F) CBS 1.08 1.26 -14.9% 1.67 Renewed
25 (25) The Expanse Syfy 0.17 0.20 -15.0% 0.39 Renewed
26 (26) Timeless NBC 1.11 1.35 -17.6% 2.07 Renewed
27 (27) People of Earth TBS 0.33 0.40 -18.1% n/a Renewed
28 (28) Incorporated Syfy 0.16 0.20 -20.0% 0.34 Cancelled
29 (29) Aftermath Syfy 0.16 0.20 -20.8% 0.33 Cancelled
30 (30) Van Helsing Syfy 0.16 0.20 -21.3% 0.30 Renewed
31 (31) Ash vs Evil Dead STARZ 0.16 0.20 -21.5% 0.34 Renewed
32 (32) Once Upon A Time (O) ABC 0.93 1.21 -23.1% 1.53 Renewed
33 (33) Guardians of the Galaxy DXD 0.08 0.10 -24.0% n/a On the Bubble
34 (34) Vampire Diaries (O) (F) CW 0.38 0.50 -24.7% 0.75 Ended
35 (36) Legion (O) FX 0.45 0.60 -25.0% 1.17 Renewed
36 (37) Teen Wolf MTV 0.22 0.30 -25.7% 0.44 Final Season
37 (35) The 100 (O) CW 0.34 0.46 -25.9% 0.66 Renewed
38 (38) Making History (O) NBC 0.67 0.90 -26.2% n/a Cancelled
39 (40) The Strain FX 0.42 0.60 -30.8% 0.85 Renewed
40 (39) iZombie (O) CW 0.31 0.46 -31.6% 0.65 Renewed
41 (42) The Exorcist (O) (F) FOX 0.67 0.98 -31.7% 1.09 Renewed
42 (41) The Originals (O) (F) CW 0.31 0.46 -31.9% 0.63 Renewed
43 (43) Scream Queens (O) FOX 0.61 0.98 -37.8% 0.96 Cancelled
44 (44) Agents of SHIELD (O) ABC 0.74 1.21 -39.3% 1.58 Renewed
45 (46) Grimm (O) (F) NBC 0.80 1.35 -40.7% 1.43 Ended
46 (47) Powerless (O) NBC 0.70 1.22 -42.6% n/a Cancelled
47 (48) Beyond Free 0.14 0.25 -42.7% n/a Renewed
48 (50) Emerald City (O) (F) NBC 0.69 1.22 -43.5% 1.23 Cancelled
49 (51) Sleepy Hollow (O) (F) FOX 0.51 0.90 -43.8% 0.94 Cancelled
50 (49) The Leftovers HBO 0.34 0.60 -44.0% n/a Final Season
51 (52) Frequency (O) CW 0.28 0.50 -44.4% 0.51 Cancelled
52 (53) Salem WGN 0.08 0.15 -48.0% n/a Cancelled
53 (54) Falling Water USA 0.15 0.30 -51.0% 0.30 Renewed
54 (55) 12 Monkeys Syfy 0.09 0.20 -53.3% n/a Renewed
55 (56) Time After Time ABC 0.53 1.19 -55.9% 0.70 Cancelled
56 (45) Twin Peaks Show 0.10 0.25 -62.0% n/a Final Season
57 (57) 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.  Note that shows on the streaming services are not included because of insufficient viewership data and foreign imports like Doctor Who will not be included because they rely more heavily on their viewership in their home countries.

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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