The pressure from the Peak TV crunch continues as the ratings vice-grip gets cranked tighter and tighter and the numbers continue to shrink. This Summer, all of the sci fi and fantasy shows have been pulling ratings below the 1.0 level and the majority of them are below the 0.2 level. I know that many people will argue that you have to take into account the delayed and digital viewing, but the former rarely does more than double the overnight numbers and the latter is likely similar, but those have not been widely shared. The fact is that with so much original programming out there, shows are just having a harder and harder time finding much of an audience.
But there is something that fans can do to help their shows. Since the vast majority of us are not members of the Nielsen elite, watching live does very little. But if we are active on the social networks, especially when an episode has its live broadcast, those numbers are counted. Live tweeting along with continued social network activity throughout the week helps get a show trending and brings more attention to it. I also believe that digital viewing helps because the networks see those numbers without the filter of Nielsen sampling. And buying the season pass to a show from Amazon, iTunes, etc. could help as well because that goes straight to the bottom line. I go into more detail on fans can do to help their shows at this link.
We have just recently seen NBC’s Timeless saved by a fan campaign that was very active on the social nets, and Netflix agreed to give Sense8 a finale in response to an outcry from fans. We have also seen renewals for shows like Freeform’s Stitchers and FOX’s Scream Queens (after its low-rated first season) with the networks citing “stickiness” in the social nets. So the fact is that action from the fans can make a difference.
Below are the Summer shows that I currently believe could use a push to get them to another season:
Blood Drive (Syfy, Wed 10 PM EST): This show started with decent ratings for a Syfy entry, but those have dropped off pretty quickly. I’m guessing all the mayhem that this grindhouse show cranks out each week comes with a price tag, and the current ratings may not support that much longer. Fans should get active on the social nets and also watching this one online. In the past, Syfy was giving its shows two seasons to prove themselves, but the network has been quicker to pull the plug of late. So if this freshman entry has a following, they need to start actively showing their support.
Dark Matter (Syfy, Fri 9 PM EST): This show is down slightly from its second season, but not too much. It comes as part of a partnership with the Space Channel in Canada which makes it cheaper for Syfy, and it has reached the third season threshold which means it has a good chance of surviving to at least a fourth if not further to get it to a binge-worthy run. But a shout-out from fans on the social nets could give it that nudge to assure it gets at least one more year.
Killjoys (Syfy, Fri 8 PM EST): This show is in a similar situation as Dark Matter above, but its numbers are slightly lower. I have noticed more support for this one on the social nets, and fans definitely need to get active pushing for a fourth season. On organized effort to watch online an/or purchase VOD season passes could help as well.
The Mist (Spike, Thu 10 PM EST): I thought this show might get a free pass to a second season because it is leading the charge of scripted programming on the network that will be changing its name to Paramount TV. But its numbers have dropped pretty low, pretty quickly. If this one has developed any sort of fanbase, they need to get active RIGHT NOW, otherwise it could fade into the mist…
Preacher (AMC, Mon 9 PM EST): This show’s numbers are down from its first season, though the declines are in line with what we are seeing across all the networks. I believe this one is doing okay at the moment, but that extra boost from fans on the social nets certainly couldn’t hurt it.
Stitchers (Freeform, Mon 9 PM EST): This show has made it to the third season threshold for a cable series, in a large part from the support of its fans on the social nets. But its ratings are down from last year and pretty low for its network, so those fans need to get active once again if they want it to survive to a fourth year.
Wynonna Earp (Syfy, Fri 10 PM EST): This show had pretty low ratings in its first year, but its raucous fanbase managed to help it get the second season nod with their support on the social nets. They definitely need to get active once again, and as soon as possible, because its ratings are no better than last year and Syfy has quite a lot of development in the pipeline that could replace it.
Zoo (CBS, Thu 9 PM EST): This show continues its yearly ratings attrition (though it did see a slight uptick last week) and looks to be on its last leg. The further bad news is that older-skewing CBS is not moved as much as the other networks by social network activity. The good news, though, is that episodes of this show stream on Netflix after their broadcast debut, so fans could focus their efforts there. If viewership looks better on streaming, then perhaps that could make up the difference from the linear numbers. But I’m just not certain that there are enough people out there that care enough about this one anymore.