The ratings continue to fall in Peak TV world as the many shows and viewing options fracture the audience more and more each year. But the networks are starting to understand that the old school Nielsen ratings no longer accurately reflect the viewership for their shows. And that offers an opportunity for fans to step up and show their support in ways that the networks will notice and that could help keep struggling shows on the air. Last year 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 influence the networks if they rally together.
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 our Call to Action page which also includes tips for how to put together a Save My Show campaign.
And below are the currently struggling or recently cancelled shows that could benefit from fans banding together and making a strong show of support.
Agents of SHIELD (ABC, Fri 9 PM EST): The numbers are down for this show in its fifth season, but not too bad considering it airs on low-viewership Fridays. And ABC’s entertainment president Channing Dungey has indicated that the network would like to see this one stick around on the schedule. A strong showing of support from fans could help that to happen.
Beyond (Freeform, Thu 8 PM EST): This show did not have great numbers in its first season and has slipped even further in its second year. It did seem to have some support on the social nets in its first year, but I am not seeing as much indication of that this season. Its ratings are below the levels that got Stitchers cancelled last season, so fans those need to get active again if they want this one to avoid the Network Executioner.
Counterpart (Starz, Sun 8 PM EST): This new entry on Starz arrived with a two-season commitment from the network, but you have to imagine that its low ratings are causing the network execs to question whether the second year is worth it. A show of support from fans could help bring attention to this interesting new seris and keep the network from wavering on the second season.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (BBC America, Completed 2nd Season): The fans definitely answered the Call to Action for this show after its cancellation announcement. The online petition is heading toward its second (third?) stretch goal of 75K signatures and is currently just short of 70K. It also topped our Call to Action poll with just under 4,900 votes. But still no word from Netflix on a third season. The fans should remain diligent, though, and keep pushing hard to reverse the cancellation.
The Exorcist (FOX, Completed 2nd Season): This show received a surprise renewal last year considering the low viewership it pulled in its first season. But its numbers have been down even further during its second year run, so its fate remains in doubt. Apparently this one does have a loyal following that is very active on the social networks, and they need to make a strong push ahead of the May Upfronts, when the networks announce their schedules for the 2018-19 season, if they want this one to stick around for a third year.
Falling Water (USA, Sat 10 PM EST): This show has returned down in its second season, though the Saturday scheduling probably has something to do with that. It has an exclusive streaming deal with Amazon that helped it get the second year renewal, so an additional push from the fans could possibly carry it to a third season.
Ghost Wars (Syfy, Completed 1st Season): Syfy’s shift toward supernatural-themed shows did not work out too well in Fall as this one and Superstition (see below) 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 it appears to be headed to certain cancellation at this point.
Ghosted (FOX, Sun 8:30 PM EST): Like Son of Zorn last year, this show’s numbers are inflated by football bleed-over and FOX execs are well aware of that. But it is also less expensive than that cancelled animation-live action hybrid show was. However, Ghosted is bringing in a new showrunner for the second half of its first season which is never a good sign. So if fans want this one to stick around, they need to get active in supporting it.
The Inhumans (ABC, Completed 1st Season): There’s a lot of hate out there towards this show which I don’t quite get because I have rather enjoyed it. But the ratings were low even for a Friday entry, and all indications are that ABC has this one pegged for cancellation. Disney could issue an edict for the network to give it a second season, but that does not look too likely at this point. There is a petition out there to save the show, but it has less than five thousand signatures at the moment. It will take a lot more than that to save this one from the Network Executioner.
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 dropped off pretty quickly and appears to be in schedule spackle mode now as the network uses it to fill up an hour here and there. If fans want it to stick around, they need to get active in supporting it, otherwise Kevin probably will end up getting cancelled.
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 were really weak for this show in Fall. ABC’s entertainment president Channing Dungey has indicated that the network would like to see the show come back and additional seasons are just padding to the syndication run at this point. So if fans make a strong showing of support, this one could possibly return for an eighth season.
The Shannara Chronicles (Spike, Completed 2nd Season): Spike (now the Paramount Network) cancelled this show as expected. But the its studio is currently shopping it around to other venues. This one has shown some notable support on the social nets and made it to the Number 5 spot in our Call to Action poll. Those fans need to band together and make a strong push to help efforts to get another network to pick it up.
Superstition (Syfy, Completed 1st Season): As with Ghost Wars (see above), Syfy’s new supernatural-themed shows did quite poorly in Fall. Superstition barely registered in the ratings and the network did very little to promote it. This one certainly seems to be headed to the Network Executioner, but maybe fans–if there are any–could make a last-ditch effort to save it?
A few other shows that are currently at borderline levels are Gotham (FOX), The Last Man on Earth (FOX), and Lucifer (FOX). Fans of those shows should be diligent and active on the social networks if they want to help them to survive into another season.