Cancellation Watch: Outlander and The Leftovers Get Renewed, Legends Has a Modest Debut


Unless otherwise noted, the ratings numbers below are based on the final overnights and may vary slightly from the preliminaries reported on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site.

Outlander-Starz-CancelledSeries Renewals: Starz has announced the renewal of their new series Outlander after that show has aired only one episode. That’s not too surprising of an announcement, though, seeing as the series debut set records for the pay channel. The series may not have delivered huge ratings numbers, but it did well for its network and the premium channels are less concerned with the overnight ratings and more with building their brand and driving subscribers to their channel. And competing pay channel HBO also announced a renewal, that of its new series The Leftovers. That one was not as sure of a thing as its numbers have been considerably lower than several of HBO’s other original shows, and I have had it as somewhat of an iffy renewal prospect for several weeks. But it is not as expensive an entry as HBO’s Game of Thrones or True Blood (both of which deliver much higher ratings) and apparently the network believes that it fits in well enough with the rest of their slate of original programming.  Both Outlander and The Leftovers add to an increasing number of cable–and particularly premium cable–sci fi/fantasy entries that are demonstrating more resilience than what the broadcast networks have been offering to the genre.

Series Premiere: TNT’s latest Summer entry Legends had its debut on Wednesday and it delivered somewhat of a mixed bag as far as ratings results. The total viewership for its 9 PM debut came in at 2.6 million which is decent, but its rating in the 18-49 demographic was only at a 0.5 score. That rating is a good half point below what TNT’s other new genre series The Last Ship has been pulling and that show had 5.3 million total viewers for its debut. But then Legends is likely a less expensive entry than TLS, so the expectations may not have been as high. Legends did outperform the Season 4 debut of TNT’s non-genre Franklin & Bash which followed at 10 PM, but then that show fell below its previous season numbers and it is also has considerably lower production costs. The entertainment sites like Hollywood Reporter, Deadline Hollywood, and The Wrap seem somewhat mixed on how good a debut the show delivered, but none seem to think that it was a bad start. I will keep it at a low Cancellation Alert status for now, but that could change quickly if its numbers sink in the coming weeks.

Following are the full ratings results* for the sci fi / fantasy shows airing Wednesday 8/13 and Thursday 8/14 with my comments.  And keep an eye on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for the latest numbers and any breaking news.

Legends TNT Wed 8/13 9 PM
Rating: 0.5 | Tot Viewers: 2.6 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 1.0 | Cancellation Alert: Low

Not quite certain what to make of these numbers at the moment, so I will wait and see how it tracks over the next few weeks.

Extant CBS Wed 8/13 10 PM
Rating: 1.0 | Tot Viewers: 5.7 | StD Rating: 1.2 | Target: 1.4 | Cancellation Alert: Medium

This one is still pretty low. I can’t imaging that CBS has been happy with its performance.

Defiance Syfy Thu 8/14 8 PM
Rating: 0.5 | Tot Viewers: 1,58 | StD Rating: 0.5 | Target: 0.6 | Cancellation Alert: Moderate

It held steady for another week, but it is still one tick below the target I pegged for it.  With all of the upcoming new entries on Syfy’s development slate, is it worth it for them to keep this one around?

*Metric Definitions:

Rating: Overnight rating in the 18-49 demographic for same day viewing based on the final numbers unless otherwise noted

Tot Viewers:  Estimated total viewers to tune in to the episode for same day viewing

StD Rating:  Season to date average for the rating metric tracked above.

Target:  The estimated average rating that the show needs to sustain to get renewed.

Cancellation Alert:  My prediction of the likelihood that a show will get cancelled.  From least to most likely the statuses are Low, Moderate, Medium, Elevated, and High.

Ratings Source: TV by the Numbers

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2014 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

2 Responses to“Cancellation Watch: Outlander and The Leftovers Get Renewed, Legends Has a Modest Debut”

  1. Nancy Weber
    August 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    I watched legends the premiere, I tried the second episode but got bored. Will no long watch that. I do like Extant, the last ship, the strain and Tyrant. I hope the don’t cancel those.

  2. AJ Landpirate
    September 3, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    Outlander is an excellent show, I am so pleased there will be a second season. I would actually subscribe to Starz just for that show if I was not already subscribed. The Leftovers I found to be just plain stupid and sorely lacking authenticity.

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