Cancellation Watch Scorecard: A Look at The Exorcist, Dirk Gently, Mr. Robot, and Other Under-Performing Shows

By | November 7, 2017

IFC’s Stan Against Evil entered the Scorecard on the low side at Number 21, though that show had to go up against Game 7 of the World Series with its second season premiere last Wednesday. It may improve a bit this week, and its numbers are still okay for an IFC entry. Apart from that, there was not much movement on the Scorecard, though The Inhumans, Ghost Wars, Superstition, and The Shannara Chronicles have been moved to Cancellation Likely status. I go into that in more detail in the latest Sci Fi TV Status Report post. Here is a quick rundown on the other under-performing shows on the Scorecard starting from the bottom:




BBC America’s Dirk Gently is lower than the already low ratings it had in its first season, but its Netflix international partnership saved it last year and could do so again. FOX’s The Exorcist remains low, but that one also appears to have international partnerships (and a loyal fanbase) on its side that might help it out. ABC’s Once Upon A Time is performing poorly but ABC could continue to use that one to plug up an hour on low-viewership Fridays while padding out the show’s syndication package. CBS’ MacGyver is down 20% year over year, but it is performing about in line with the other CBS Friday shows. I will reassess that one at some point in mid-season. ABC’s Kevin (Probably) Saves the World is probably heading to the Cancellation Likely designation, but I will give it a few more weeks. Syfy’s Van Helsing will likely benefit from Ghost Wars and Superstition tanking as I mention at this link. USA’s Mr. Robot is looking pretty bad based on same day ratings, but it likely makes up some of that with digital viewing, and it still has a halo from its Emmy wins.  All of these shows could benefit from a Call to Action from their fans.

The scorecard ranks all of the sci fi and 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 rankings based on the ratings through November 5th (metric definitions below):

Rank (PW) Series Net Std Avg Net Bench % Var Live+7 Avg Rtg Status
1 (1) The Walking Dead (O) AMC 4.27 0.50 754.0% n/a Renewal Likely
2 (2) American Horror Story (O) FX 1.14 0.50 128.9% 2.58 Renewed
3 (3) The Flash (O) CW 0.93 0.47 97.9% 1.80 Renewal Likely
4 (4) Outlander Starz 0.34 0.20 68.1% n/a Renewed
5 (5) Supernatural (O) CW 0.68 0.47 44.4% n/a Renewal Possible
6 (6) Riverdale (O) CW 0.65 0.47 39.0% 1.40 Renewal Possible
7 (10) Arrow (O) CW 0.53 0.47 12.3% 1.10 Renewal Possible
8 (7) Ghosted (O) FOX 1.18 1.07 10.3% n/a Renewal Possible
8 (8) The Gifted (O) FOX 1.18 1.07 10.3% 2.60 Renewal Possible
10 (9) Legends of Tomorrow (O) CW 0.50 0.47 7.0% 1.00 Renewal Possible
10 (11) Supergirl (O) CW 0.50 0.47 7.0% 1.00 Renewal Likely
12 (12) Z Nation Syfy 0.18 0.17 2.9% 0.35 Renewal Likely
13 (13) The Orville (O) FOX 1.05 1.07 -1.9% 2.35 Renewal Possible
14 (14) Lucifer FOX 0.92 1.07 -14.0% 1.50 Renewal Possible
15 (15) Gotham FOX 0.91 1.07 -14.6% 1.57 Renewal Possible
16 (16) Channel Zero (O) Syfy 0.14 0.17 -18.6% n/a Renewed
17 (17) The Good Place (O) NBC 1.19 1.47 -19.4% 2.07 Renewal Possible
18 (18) The Last Man on Earth (O) FOX 0.86 1.07 -19.6% n/a Renewal Possible
19 (19) Mr Robot (O) USA 0.23 0.30 -22.5% 0.60 Renewal Possible
20 (20) Van Helsing Syfy 0.13 0.17 -24.7% n/a On the Bubble
21 (n/a) Stan Against Evil IFC 0.06 0.08 -25.0% n/a Renewal Possible
22 (21) Kevin Probably Saves the World (O) ABC 0.78 1.13 -30.9% n/a On the Bubble
23 (22) MacGyver (O) (F) CBS 0.82 1.18 -30.9% n/a On the Bubble
24 (24) Superstition Syfy 0.10 0.17 -41.2% n/a Cancellation Likely
25 (23) Ghost Wars Syfy 0.10 0.17 -42.4% n/a Cancellation Likely
26 (25) The Inhumans (O) (F) ABC 0.60 1.13 -46.8% 1.30 Cancellation Likely
27 (26) Once Upon A Time (O) (F) ABC 0.58 1.13 -48.6% 1.35 On the Bubble
28 (27) The Shannara Chronicles (O) Spike 0.09 0.20 -55.0% 0.30 Cancellation Likely
29 (28) The Exorcist (O) (F) FOX 0.44 1.07 -58.9% 0.70 On the Bubble
30 (29) Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency BBCA 0.07 0.30 -76.7% n/a Renewal Possible

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 or co-owned by the network and/or a sister studio. (F) indicates the show airs on Friday when ratings expectations are lower on the broadcast networks.

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 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

One thought on “Cancellation Watch Scorecard: A Look at The Exorcist, Dirk Gently, Mr. Robot, and Other Under-Performing Shows

  1. Y.Whateley

    It’s a shame seeing The Exorcist, Dirk Gently, MacGyver, and Shannara struggling.

    I think this second season of “The Exorcist” is much better than its first season, and this second season has been one of the eeriest, creepiest things on the air in quite a while. I recommend it for some binge-watching for horror fans who might have missed it so far!

    “Dirk Gently” has been a lot of fun – it comes off like an energetic “Doctor Who” spin-off (and it should: the stories the show was based on began their lives as Douglas Adams scripts for Doctor Who serials!) I have a hard time understanding the apparent apathy regarding this show both from BBCAmerica and from Doctor Who fans, who could do much worse waiting between seasons of Who than to spend that time with Dirk Gently….

    “The Shannara Chronicles” isn’t great fantasy TV, but it isn’t bad fantasy TV either – I’ve found it mostly harmless and rather good-natured in a goofy, retro, 1980s fantasy kind of way, and I’ve grown kind of fond of it. I guess I can understand the apathy over this one – I suspect “Game of Thrones” has been kind of a weird exception in its mainstream popularity, and “The Shannara Chronicles” lacks the unique brand of gravity and cynicism that made at least early seasons of “Game of Thrones” popular. Still, it’s kind of nice to come home and turn on something a little lighter to play in the background while unwinding after a day at work, and “Shannara” fits that bill nicely for me; it’ll be a shame to see it go.

    And, I feel much the same way about “MacGyver”: it makes for some nice, harmless TV to turn on in the background after I get home from work. I wasn’t sure about this show at first, but I think it’s been a fine modern update of the original series: the original tone and spirit of the 1980s original (as well as the famous improvised gadgets) are there, but the addition of larger story arcs, character development, and other hallmarks of modern television storytelling.

    I’m guessing that genre television has been oversaturated with shows, at a time when audiences really aren’t interested. It’s just a shame, because this seems like it’s been a golden age of television for those of us who do enjoy fantasy, horror, and science fiction shows….

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