Peak TV continues to roll on and fracture the television audience and overall ratings are slipping yet again in Fall 2017. But in the current overcrowded television landscape, we are seeing the networks look beyond the straight viewership numbers and consider other factors, particularly social net activity and digital viewing, to decide if they will keep a show running. This past season, we saw NBC’s Timeless saved by a fan campaign that was very active on the social nets and also with “rewatch parties”. We also saw Netflix agree to give Sense8 a finale in response to an outcry from fans over the show’s cancellation. So it appears that an active and engaged fanbase can help keep a show going in the current era (sadly, not for Dark Matter, though).
Since the vast majority of us are not members of the Nielsen elite, watching live does very little to help out our shows. But if we are active on the social networks, especially when an episode has its live broadcast, those stats 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 what fans can do to help their shows at this link.
Below are the currently struggling or recently cancelled shows that can use a strong show of support from their fans.
Summer hold overs:
Stitchers (Cancelled by Freeform): This show survived through its first two seasons of mediocre to low ratings in part because of its “stickiness” on the social networks, and fans are lobbying hard for a fourth season after the recent cancellation. They currently have several “power hours” throughout the week when they tweet to Freeform, Disney, ABC, Syfy and more using the #SaveStitchers hashtag. They also have an online petition at this link. You can see a full rundown of the campaign at their Tumblr page and you can follow @Kate2900 on Twitter for the latest updates.
Zoo (Cancelled by CBS): I’m not certain how much energy is left in this campaign after CBS announced the cancellation, but fans are still tweeting out the #RenewZoo hashtag and staging rewatch parties and there is an online petition at this link. Netflix partnered with CBS on this show and they are hoping the streaming service will produce a fourth season or at least a series finale.
Fall 2017 Shows:
The Exorcist (FOX, Fri 9 PM EST): This show received a surprise renewal last year considering the low viewership it pulled in its first season. But its numbers are down even further this year, so its fate remains in doubt. Apparently this one does have a loyal following that is very active on the social networks, and maybe they can help to keep it going for another season.
Ghost Wars (Syfy, Thu 10 PM EST): Syfy’s shift toward supernatural-themed shows has not worked out too well as this one and Superstition (see below) have struggled mightily to attract viewers in the Peak TV crunch. If this show has any sort of fanbase, they need to get active on the social nets RIGHT NOW, because its numbers are at cancellation levels at the moment.
The Inhumans (ABC, Fri 9 PM EST): There’s a lot of hate out there towards this show which I don’t quite get because I have rather enjoyed. But it ratings are low even for a Friday entry, and unless Disney issues an edict for ABC to give it a second season, I’m thinking it will be limited-run-and-done after it wraps up its eight-episode first season. If there are fans out there, some support on the social networks could possibly convince Disney to keep it around for another year.
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC, Tue 10 PM EST): This show started out with decent numbers for a Tuesday 10 PM EST entry on ABC. But it has since dropped off and I now have it at Bubble status. If fans want it to stick around, they should get active in supporting it, otherwise Kevin probably will not be able to save his show.
MacGyver (CBS, Fri 8 PM EST): This show’s numbers are down 20% year over year and it is never good to be an under-performing genre entry on CBS. All of that network’s Friday shows are down, but MacGyver has remained the lowest of the three. CBS is not know for paying much attention to social network activity, but digital viewing activity might hold some weight with them.
Once Upon A Time (ABC, Fri 8 PM EST): The ratings drop had to be expected with this one moving to Fridays, but the viewership numbers are really weak on that night thus far. That is only a secondary concern, though, considering this show already has enough episodes for a syndication run and the network is guaranteed to get its money back on any additional seasons. If fans want this show to continue with new episodes, though, their support could nudge the network and/or Disney toward a renewal decision.
The Shannara Chronicles (Spike, Th 10 PM EST): This show’s numbers were not great in its first year on MTV, but the support on the social networks and the delayed viewing (more important to the cable channels than the broadcast nets) helped the quest continue into a second season. But its move to Spike has done nothing to improve its prospects as it is barely registering in the ratings at the moment. If its fanbase is still out there, they need to get active supporting this show.
Superstition (Syfy, Fri 10 PM EST): As with Ghost Wars (see above), Syfy’s new supernatural-themed shows are not doing well this Fall. Superstition has barely registered in the ratings thus far and the network has done next to nothing to promote it. I only give this show a ghost of a chance at the moment, and if there are any fans out there they need to get active in supporting it.
Van Helsing (Syfy, Thu 9 PM EST): This show’s numbers were borderline in its first season, but I believe that its international partnership (with the Super Channel up in Canada) helped it out. But its ratings have slipped in its second year to below the levels that got Dark Matter cancelled this past Summer. Fans are already actively supporting this one on the social nets, and I believe they need to double-down on those efforts to make sure that Syfy doesn’t put a stake in the show.
A few other shows that are currently at borderline levels are Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (BBC America), Gotham (FOX), The Last Man on Earth (FOX), Lucifer (FOX), and Mr. Robot (USA). Fans of those shows should be diligent and active on the social networks if they want to help them to survive into another season.