In this weekly column, I monitor the viewership levels for the currently airing sci fi and fantasy shows as well as their renewal and cancellation prospects. Also check out This Week In Sci-Fi TV on Fridays (sometimes Saturdays), which delivers news and updates on genre television. Ratings Source: The Nielsen Company.
The Network Executioner Sharpens His Ax for The Inhumans, Ghost Wars, and More
We are well into the Fall season and I have yet to move any shows to Cancellation Likely status because I wanted to get a good sampling of the ratings results before making the harsh calls. But as things are winding down (yes, Fall will mostly wrap up in about a month) it is time to pass sentence on several of the shows. ABC’s The Inhumans has done very poorly in its short run ratings-wise, even when you take into account that it airs on low-viewership Fridays. But I have been reluctant to move this one to Cancellation Likely because Disney has a habit of ordering ABC to keep its Marvel Universe tie-in shows going despite low ratings. That may change with this one, though. Unlike Agent Carter in its first season, The Inhumans has not received praise from critics and fans (though I really don’t get all the hate towards this show) and it has actually been trashed pretty regularly on the social nets. There were also rumors that this one was cancelled before it even hit the air. I didn’t buy into that, but I do believe this show’s prospects have slipped to the point that it will be another Peak TV limited-run-and-done casualty. If Disney has movie plans that require this one to stick around, that may keep it on the air for another year. But at this point I am thinking it is headed toward cancellation and there will be little effort by fans to try and save it.
As for Syfy’s two new supernatural shows Ghost Wars and Superstition, neither has made much of an impression this Fall ratings-wise and I haven’t seen much in the way of a fanbase showing support on the social nets. Both have averaged only a 0.10 rating thus far based on same day viewing for the 18-49 demo, well below the numbers that have led to shows like Aftermath, Incorporated, and Dark Matter getting cancelled by that network. It is possible that one or both of these shows could have international and/or streaming partnerships that could make them profitable for Syfy and that could carry them into another season. But short of that, I don’t see them sticking around beyond the current year. And that may be good news for Van Helsing fans because Syfy may not want three cancellations on its record this Fall. That latter series is down year over year and below the levels that got Dark Matter cancelled in the Summer. But it is likely cheaper to produce than that space series, and I’m thinking that if the network decides to ax its two new shows, they will give the sophomore series a stay of execution. Fans of Van Helsing should definitely heed the Call to Action, though, and continue to support that one on the social networks.
As for Spike’s The Shannara Chronicles, the change in networks (it previously aired on MTV) has done nothing to help that show’s viewership. It has only averaged a 0.09 rating based on same day viewing for the 18-49 demographic, which is down 77% from the 0.39 score it had during its first season. Now MTV may be a more-watched network and a drop could have been expected with the shift. But this one is below the 0.14 average that got The Mist cancelled this past Summer. The Shannara Chronicles could have international financing helping to cover is hefty production costs, and it did have a notable fan following supporting it on the social nets last season. I haven’t seen much of the latter this year, though, so I am thinking the quest could be ending for this show. I look at several more of the currently struggling shows (that have not been moved to Cancellation Likely yet) in the latest Cancellation Watch Scorecard post at this link.
Nielsen Releases Viewership Data for Stranger Things
Netflix has kept its viewership numbers mostly mum (as have all of the streaming services), releasing only fragments of data on a sporadic basis. But Nielsen just released some telling ratings results for the second season of Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things. The measurement service’s technology has changed and its families have personal viewing meters they carry with them that that pick up more than just the broadcast network and cable channel shows previously tracked by the television set meters. These new meters detect viewing on all the cord-cutting devices including Roku, computers, tablets, phones, etc., and now it looks like Nielsen is starting to release some of that data. Nielsen unveiled stats last week that equate to Live+3 data for Stranger Things and they claim that 15.8 million people watched the Season 2 premiere with eleven million of those in the coveted 18-49 demographic. In addition, Nielsen claims that 361K people streamed the full nine episodes within 24 hours of the second season release. Following are the numbers for all nine episodes, and remember these are just Live+3 stats meaning that many have just not gotten around to the later eps yet:
“Chapter One” — 15.8 million viewers; 11 million people 18-49
“Chapter Two” — 13.7 million viewers; 9.6 million people 18-49
“Chapter Three” — 11.6 million viewers; 8.1 million viewers 18-49
“Chapter Four” — 9.3 million viewers; 6.6 million viewers 18-49
“Chapter Five” — 8 million viewers; 5.6 million viewers 18-49
“Chapter Six” — 6.4 million viewers; 4.5 million viewers 18-49
“Chapter Seven” — 5.3 million viewers; 3.7 million viewers 18-49
“Chapter Eight” — 4.9 million viewers; 3.4 million viewers 18-49
“Chapter Nine” — 4.6 million viewers; 3.2 million viewers 18-49
Note that these results are subject to the typical flaws of Nielsen family selection, but are likely at least in the ballpark. And hopefully we will start seeing more numbers for streaming viewing in the near future.
Fifty Years of The Walking Dead?
AMC’s zombie-pocalypse series The Walking Dead has been on a ratings decline since early in its seventh season, but the network’s CEO Josh Sapan seems quite optimistic about the show’s future. He commented in a meeting with Wall Street analysts that “We have a chance for a lot of life in the franchise” and also noted that some franchises have been around “30, 40, 50 years”. Now I don’t think he was suggesting that The Walking Dead will last for fifty seasons, but I do believe the network is confident that the franchise will not fade away any time soon, despite the ratings attrition. TWD is still the top-rated scripted series on all of television even though its numbers are down from series high levels of a couple of seasons ago, and I am sure AMC has expectations for an extended run from the main series along with more spin-offs beyond Fear the Walking Dead. So despite this past year’s “Walking Dexit”, don’t expect this show to be leaving the air anytime soon.
Ratings Results of Interest: The Exorcist Improves, The Walking Dead Continues to Drop
On Friday, The Exorcist returned up slightly after being preempted the prior week for the World Series as it posted a 0.5 rating based on same day viewing for the 18-49 demographic with 1.5 million total viewers. That’s not much of an improvement, but its international partnerships and dedicated fanbase could still keep it alive. Over on Syfy, Z Nation improved to a 0.19 rating with 584K total viewers. It remains the network’s best rated scripted series this Fall and I expect it to get a fifth season nod. On Saturday, BBC America’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency remained low at a 0.07 rating with 212K total viewership, but that one appears to be heavily leveraging its international partnership with Netflix for its survival. On Sunday, The Walking Dead slipped again, this time to a 3.8 rating with 8.5 million total viewers, but as mentioned above, AMC’s CEO believes that one has plenty more life in it.
I covered the early week ratings in at this link and be sure to follow the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for the latest ratings results and breaking news. You can see the full ratings results for last week at this link.
Notable Posts from Last Week:
FOX Renews The Orville for a Second Season Read
Call To Action: Van Helsing, The Exorcist, The Inhumans, Stitchers, and More Need Help From Their Fans Read
Will The Inhumans and Once Upon A Time Be Renewed or Cancelled? Read
You can see prior Sci Fi TV Status Report columns at this link