Sci Fi TV Status Report: Game Of Thrones Slays Peak TV, The Strain Has Decent Return, and More

By | July 18, 2017

 Reigns Over Peak TV

The Peak TV crunch has been driving ratings down to all-time lows across the dial, with many shows seeing double-digit losses year-over-year. But not so with HBO’s juggernaut Game of Thrones. That one returned for its seventh season on Sunday with record-breaking numbers for the premium cable channel, pulling a 4.7 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 10.1 million total viewers. That’s up from the show’s previous record of a 4.4 rating and 8.9 million viewers for its Season 6 finale. In addition, it tacked on six million viewers from same-day encore runs plus streaming views on Sunday. So while the overall audience remains fractured in the Peak TV era, the viewers are still out there and come together en masse for the right show. Game of Thrones is set to end with its eighth season, but HBO knows people want more from the world of Westeros and it has several prequels and spin-offs in the works.

Game of Thrones still hasn’t beat the numbers for television’s top-rated scripted show The Walking Dead, but it could by season end. TWD had a 5.4 rating average and 11.3 total viewers average this past year, and it is conceivable that GoT could surpass that by the end of its seventh season. And if the  continues, Game of Thrones, which has grown its numbers every year, could beat TWD outright in its eighth season.

Season Premiere:  Returns Up For Its Final Season

Game of Thrones may have drawn most of the viewers on Sunday night, but FX’s The Strain did okay with its fourth season premiere despite the competition. That show pulled a 0.52 rating based on the overnights for 18-49 demo with 1.4 million total viewers (airing one hour after the GoT premiere). Those are the show’s best numbers since its Season 3 debut last year and pretty good for a cable series these days. That show is in its final season.

Ratings Results Of Interest: Several Shows Improve For A Change

On Thursday of last week, Spike’s The Mist saw an improvement to its numbers as it posted a 0.16 rating based on the demo with 487K total viewers. If it can hold around there, or possibly improve, I believe it still has a chance for a second season. On Thursday, Syfy’s Killjoys continued to improve–if only just slightly–to a 0.17 rating with 638K total viewers. That makes it Syfy’s highest rated show for the Summer and I believe it has a shot at a fourth season (but fans need to continue to support it). Dark Matterrebounded from its prior week drop as it pulled a 0.15 rating with 568K total viewers. And Wynonna Earp improved slightly to a 0.13 rating with 496K total viewers. But both of those shows could still use a Call to Action from their fans.

On Saturday, BBC America’s Orphan Black held steadily low at a 0.07 rating with 236K total viewers as it airs out its final season. On Sunday, Showtime’s Twin Peaks slipped to a 0.11 rating with 267K total viewers which is no surprise seeing as it aired directly against the Game of Thrones season premiere. And in any case, I do not expect that revival series to get an extension beyond its “limited run”.

Status Update:  Appears Headed To A Second Season

Chiller’s season-long serial killer anthology Slasher ended its first season over a year ago, and I had assumed that it was another one-and-done Peak TV entry because we had heard no word on its fate. But the website for Orangeville in Ontario, Canada indicated that filming began there on the second season of the show in May of 2017. Assuming that information is correct, I would expect to see that second season on the air later this year or early next. You can read more status updates on shows awaiting word on their fate like Wayward PinesIron Fist and Between here.

Scorecard:  Enters Near The Top Of The Rankings

Coming as no surprise, Game of Thrones returned to the Cancellation Watch Scorecardnear the top of the rankings. With its record-breaking Season 7 ratings (see above), the show starts off at Number 2 in the Scorecard. It couldn’t quite dethrone The Walking Dead, but I expect it to narrow the margin by season end and possibly even overtake that show next year.

The Strain was already in the Scorecard because its third season aired in Fall, and its Summer debut managed to bump it up to the Number 26 slot (up from Number 46). AMC’s Preacher slipped to Number 45 (down from Number 38) despite improving its numbers last week, but I expect it to start climbing back up soon. You can see the full Scorecard results for the week here.

Be sure to follow the Cancelled Sci-Fi TV Twitter for daily ratings results as well as breaking news and updates.

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