Sci Fi TV Power Rankings: Intelligence Enters the Rankings as Likely to Get Cancelled, Helix Enters On the Bubble

This second edition of my Sci Fi TV Power Rankings comes a few weeks into mid-season and while not all of the shows have returned or had their debuts, there has been enough activity to justify updating the rankings.  Intelligence (CBS) and Helix (Syfy) have had their premieres and each has aired at least one additional episode, enough to give me a gauge at their early standings–not particularly strong at this point, but more on that below.  Teen Wolf moved up several slots with its strong return for the second half of its third season.  Agents of SHIELD has slipped very close to bubble status.  Almost Human leapfrogged The Tomorrow People, though it is still on the bubble and its network seems to want to kill it with their poor scheduling.  Most of the other shows remained basically the same, though some moved up or down based on the movement of other shows.

As I mentioned previously, these rankings only look at shows currently airing (some could be on hiatus, though) or those that are returning.  New series that have aired one or less episodes will not make it into the rankings yet because I have to have some sort of a sampling to make a determination of their status.  And import shows like Syfy’s Lost Girl and Bitten or BBC America’s Orphan Black which are not as heavily impacted by their ratings in the States are not included here either.  The rankings order the shows by those least likely to get cancelled to those most likely.  The number in parenthesis is the show’s prior rank.  Any non-cancelled show in its final season will be addressed separately at the bottom. You can see the full schedule for the mid-season shows at this link.

Cancellation Alert statuses from least likely to be cancelled to most likely: Low, Moderate, Medium, Elevated, High

Renewed or Sure to Get Renewed

1 (1) The Walking Dead (AMC) – This show’s numbers may have dropped some by the end of Fall, but that just meant it was coming down some from the stratosphere.  It is still the top rated scripted show on all of television and almost assuredly locked in for several more years.
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a Fifth Season

game-of-thrones-s42 (2) Game of Thrones (HBO) – This series has grown its ratings and status each season and now rivals the numbers of many broadcast network shows.  Should stick around for the long haul.
Pros: Strong Ratings
Status: Returning for a Fourth Season

3 (3) American Horror Story (FX) – In its third season, this one has delivered its highest ratings numbers yet and has regularly scored well in the social media ranking of TV shows.  It has become a huge hit for its network and has outpaced quite a number of broadcast network shows.
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a Fourth Season

4 (9) Teen Wolf (MTV) – This show already grew its numbers last Summer and now it is continuing to hold strong against regular season competition with the second half of its third season.  Plus, MTV has already renewed it for a fourth year.
Pros: Renewed, Ratings Increase Year over Year, Relative Ratings
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

5 (4) Vampire Diaries (CW) – Still the top rated series on the fifth place broadcast network, and it has topped its competition on the other broadcast channels in its timeslot several times this year.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Declining Year over Year Ratings
Cancellation Alert: Low

6 (5) Supernatural (CW) – This one may be in its ninth season, but it keeps performing well for the fifth place network.  Expect a tenth season and counting.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cancellation Alert: Low

7 (6) Arrow (CW) – It’s numbers looked a bit shaky early in its second season, but it came on strong toward the end of Fall (slipped a bit with its first mid-season episode, though).  With a Flash spin-off potentially on the way, Arrow could anchor a whole line of DC comics related shows at some point.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Fluctuations
Cancellation Alert: Low

8 (7) The Originals (CW) – This spin-off series helped The CW retake Tuesdays (relatively speaking) and looks set to coast into a second season.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cancellation Alert: Low

9 (8) Person of Interest (CBS) – The move to Tuesday at 10 PM EST hurt this show’s ratings in the 18-49 demographic, but it is still one of the most watched shows on the broadcast networks based on total viewership which holds more weight with older-skewing CBS.  Plus it is a third season show.
Pros: High Total Viewership, Third Season Series
Cons: Decline in Year over Year Ratings
Cancellation Alert: Low

10 (10) Grimm (NBC) – It has gone up and down all season, but never dropped enough to cause concern.  It’s still doing well for a Friday series and its a third season show as well, so it looks safe.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Third Season Series
Cons: Ratings Fluctuations
Cancellation Alert: Low

11 (11) Sleepy Hollow (FOX) – A surprise hit early in the season, this one slipped notably in the ratings by the end of Fall.  Its exit at mid-season didn’t deliver spectacular numbers either (though they weren’t terrible) so we will have to wait until next year to see if it can retake any sort of momentum.
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings Early, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

12 (12) The Witches of East End (Lifetime) – It’s numbers were okay for a basic cable series and good enough to get a second year nod.  But it’s definitely no Walking Dead ratings juggernaut, or even Teen Wolf for that matter.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Likely to Get Renewed:

13 (13) Once Upon A Time (ABC) – This one has definitely slipped in the ratings this season, but then so have all of the broadcast net Sunday shows.  It’s a third season series, so that helps.  But it needs to avoid dropping off any further during the second half of the season, and that long hiatus (returns in March) sure isn’t helping.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Third Season Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year, Extended Mid-Season Hiatus
Cancellation Alert: Low

being-human-syfy14 (15) Being Human (Syfy) – This one averaged around a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demo last year and started out its current season at that level.  That’s passable for a low cost Syfy series, but if it slips any further this season then it could find itself in trouble. Does it mean anything that the original BBC version was cancelled after its 5th season?
Pros: Relative Ratings, Low Production Costs
Cons: Mediocre Ratings
Cancellation Alert: Low

15 (14) Agents of SHIELD (ABC) – Started strong then went on a quick decline then rebounded then ended it’s Fall run weak.  And its January return hasn’t brought much of an upsurge, so I am dropping it one rung and have it on the edge of bubble status.  Some think that it is too well known of a franchise for ABC to axe it, but if it sinks below a 2.0 score (which I already thought would be its death knell), they would be hard-pressed to bring this one back.  Could be a nail-biter at the end of the season.
Pros: Strong Early Ratings, Recognized Franchise, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, High Production Costs
Cancellation Alert: Low

On the Bubble:

helix-black-goo16 (n/a) Helix (Syfy) – This new entry from BSG‘s Ronald Moore had an okay bow with a 0.6 rating but then dropped to a 0.4 score with its second airing.  Those numbers already have Haven (see next entry) on the bubble and they bring Helix into the rankings at the same status.  I’m guessing this show needs to stay at least at a 0.5 rating or above if it wants to see a second season.
Pros: Strong Early Buzz
Cons: Mediocre Ratings.
Cancellation Alert: Moderate

17 (16) Haven (Syfy) – This series averaged a 0.4 rating in the 18-49 demo during its 4th season and numbers like that got Alphas cancelled last year.  I’m guessing the best this one can hope for is a shortened final season to wrap up its story lines similar to what Warehouse 13 is getting.  There is still a chance that the fans could influence Syfy’s decision on this one, though.
Pros: Low Production Costs
Cons: Mediocre Ratings, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: Medium

18 (17) Hannibal (NBC) – This series got a second season despite its low ratings in its first year.  But I’m guessing it’s going to need to improve those if it wants to see a third season.  Or will strong buzz on the social networks keep it alive again?
Pros: Recognized Franchise, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Medium

19 (19) Almost Human (FOX) – It had a good debut, but then fell fast. Then it started to show some life with its first two January episodes before FOX decided to preempt it for two weeks.  If the series ends up getting cancelled, you can point to the network’s poor scheduling as a strong contributing factor.
Pros: Good Early Start, Recent Ratings Upswing
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Poor Ratings, Poor Scheduling
Cancellation Alert: Medium

20 (18) The Tomorrow People (CW) – It has fallen to numbers that are iffy even for the fifth place network and its mid-season return brought no improvement.  Does the fact that they are moving it to Mondays in March–a disastrous night for The CW this year–indicate the network is giving up on it?
Pros: Fifth Place Network Series
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Mediocre Ratings
Cancellation Alert: Medium

Likely to Get Cancelled:

21 (20) Revolution (NBC) – It returned at mid-season with a slight uptick but then fell to a series low the following week. On the good side, it is still one of NBC’s higher rated script shows, but then that says more about the weakness of the network’s non-sports/non-reality programming than Revolution‘s ratings performance. I would not say that all hope is lost, but then I wouldn’t bet much on it getting a third season either.
Pros: Relative Ratings
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

intelligence-cbs22 (n/a) Intelligence (CBS) – Not a great place to enter this list.  Its good debut numbers on a Tuesday night with an NCIS lead-in are not enough to counter the major drop the show experienced after moving to it regular late Monday timeslot.  It’s only hope is if CBS were to reschedule it to a better hour, but that’s unlikely especially considering that network has always shown a cold shoulder to sci fi shows.  Josh Holloway and John Billingsley deserve better treatment.
Pros: Good Debut Ratings
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season, Sci Fi Averse Network
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

23 (21) The Neighbors (ABC) – If this one could have pulled ratings a few ticks higher, it might have done okay in its Friday night timeslot with low expectations. And apparently it did receive a full twenty two episodes for its second season, so it still has some time to build up its numbers.  But based on what I have seen so far, I’m guessing that won’t happen.
Pros: Low Ratings Expectations
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: High

24 (22) Beauty and the Beast (CW) – This one ended last season with poor ratings, then it’s network moved it to one of their worst nights for its second year.  It arrived basically DOA, but they are letting it air out its episodes.
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: High

25 (23) Dracula (NBC) – This one started strong for a Friday 10 PM EST show, but then fell fast and far.  It had a bit of an uptick at the end of Fall but then slipped again upon its mid-season return.  It was originally billed as a ten episode “event” series and will likely not go any further.  Consider it de facto cancelled at this point.
Pros: Good Debut Ratings
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: High

26 (24) Once Upon A Time in Wonderland (ABC) – This spin-off series had the odds heavily against it before the season began because of scheduling, and it could never overcome that.  It started low and went down from there.  It was originally intend to be a single season show (with the possibility of continuing if the ratings were good), so consider it de facto cancelled, though it will likely be used to pad out the eventual syndication run of its parent series.
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: High

Final Season:

Nikita (CW) – It got a 4th season renewal but not enough eps for a typical domestic syndication package.  That’s probably because it plays better to the overseas markets and they just wanted to give it the chance to wrap up its storylines.

New shows that have aired one or less episodes: The 100 (CW, Debuts Mar 19th), From Dusk Till Dawn (El Ray, Debuts Mar 11th), Penny Dreadful (Showtime, Debuts May 11th), Resurrection (ABC, Debuts Mar 9th), Star-Crossed (CW, Debuts Feb 17th)

Import shows not included in the rankings: Atlantis (UK, Airs on BBC America), Bitten (Canada, Airs on Syfy), Lost Girl (Canada, Airs on Syfy), Orphan Black (UK, Airs on BBC America)

Why Were They Cancelled?

The Plight of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television in the Face of the Unforgiving Nielsens and Networks

Ever wondered why your favorite science fiction and/or fantasy show disappeared from the television schedule, never to deliver anymore new episodes? The reason why, most likely, is that it was cancelled because its ratings were low. And this book looks at those many cancelled sci fi/fantasy shows as well as the Neilsen ratings and television networks that dictate their fates. Available now for only $1.99 on Kindle from Amazon.com.

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