This ongoing column focuses on shows that currently have a question mark concerning their future. You can see the status of all the currently airing sci fi and fantasy shows at this link.
FOX’s supernatural series The Exorcist, which acts as a sequel of sorts to the classic 1973 film, is coming to the end of its second season, and its ratings are no better–in fact notably worse–than its first low-rated season. That show has been well received by critics and has developed a notable cult following, but it has not managed to find a larger audience, in part because it airs on low-viewership Fridays. But it did receive a surprise renewal after its first season despite that fact that most media sites (including us) considered it a certain cancellation. Can it pull that off again in its second season even though its numbers are down by double-digits from last year?
At this point, I’m thinking no, though I am not quite ready to put it at the Cancellation Likely status just yet. Last year, FOX claimed that there was an international audience for the show and also one or more of the FOX execs just happened to like it. But I’m guessing they were hoping that word-of-mouth and a Summer of the first season streaming on Hulu would result in the show building a larger audience into its second year. That’s not the case, though, and in fact its same day viewing numbers are off by 37% from the already low levels it was at last year. The show also slipped to only a 0.3 rating with it latest outing, numbers that would be marginal on even The CW. The Exorcist has been seeing some gains with delayed viewing, but not enough to get it into the Top 25 based on Live+3 or Live+7 viewing. So I am thinking that the FOX execs will have a hard time justifying a third season for this show, unless they have a very lucrative deal in the international market. And it is a shame because this is really quite a good show and might do better if given a different timeslot. It could be served well by a move to one of the cable channels, perhaps pairing it up with American Horror Story on sister channel FX, but I am thinking that is a longshot.
I’m keeping its status as On the Bubble for now, but I would lean toward cancellation if you pushed me on how I thought things would work out. And unfortunately, FOX may make us wait until May again before we learn the final status of the show. That does give fans some time to lobby for the show, and I know this one has a dedicated following. So if they can mount a substantial Call to Action before the 2017-18 season ends, that might help The Exorcist to get a third year nod.
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