Cancellation Watch: Tracking the weekly ratings and the cancellation prospects of the science fiction and fantasy shows currently airing on broadcast and cable networks.
By John J. Joex
We head into this week’s upfronts when the networks announce their finalized schedules for next season with little in the way of mystery as all of the cancellation/renewal announcements have been made and we also know most of the pickups (we are still waiting to hear about fate of Syfy’s Sanctuary). So what have we learned from this years cancellations and renewals? About the only thing I can say for sure in answer to that is that the landscape has changed, and some of the old rules just don’t seem to apply anymore. Take for example The CW’s decision to cancel freshman series The Secret Circle but renew low-rated sophomore entry Nikita. The former series regularly outperformed the latter throughout the season, and even though it experienced a significant drop in the ratings toward the end of the season, Nikita suffered from that as well. However, the spy drama has built up a strong international audience and apparently Warner Bros. (who owns the series) considers that enough to keep it going. I’m guessing that The Secret Circle‘s severe drop-off at the end of the season is what killed it and The CW decided to keep Nikita going (despite abysmal ratings on Fridays) because of the factors in that show’s favor beyond the overnight Nielsen ratings.
Then look at what happened with Fringe over on FOX. That was one of the lowest rated scripted dramas across the Big Four networks, and yet it received a renewal for a fifth and final season. And while I definitely appreciate that the series will get the chance to deliver a resolution for its ongoing story arc, I’m baffled as to why the network and the show’s studio agreed to that additional expense. The series is losing money, Kevin Reilly over at FOX made that clear earlier in the year. With this season, it has reached the 88 episode mark that the syndication market looks for, so their was not a financial need to extend its episode count. It will make more money from the eventual DVD sales of the fifth season, but enough to recoup the production costs? Did the network and studio give it that final season because they are committed to the show and care about giving it a resolution that will appease the show’s small but devoted fanbase? Dare I even consider that as a possible motive emerging from the Hollywood machine?
I will be looking at the cancellation/renewal decisions on all of this season’s shows in more detail in a later post, but at this point I just wanted to note that it definitely looks like the rules for the networks have shifted a bit this year.
And two shows that have been renewed but that might be on notice going into next season are Person of Interest (CBS) and Grimm (NBC). The later has had decent ratings most of the season and actually really built up its audience after January. But it had a considerable drop-off in its numbers the last few weeks, which is something that CBS will pay attention to going into next season. And NBC’s Grimm never had great ratings, but apparently good enough to keep it alive on the fourth place network. That one has really slacked off toward the end of the season as well, so it will need to show some improvement in performance when it starts back up in Fall.
The finalized schedules for all of the broadcast networks will be released this week at the upfronts and I will put together a schedule of all the genre shows later in the week. Following is when each of the networks will present at the upfronts:
May 14, 2012 NBC Morning
May 14, 2012 FOX Afternoon
May 15, 2012 ABC Afternoon
May 16, 2012 CBS Afternoon
May 17, 2012 The CW Morning
Following are the ratings results for all of the genre shows from this past week. In some cases, the numbers below are based on the preliminary returns and could change slightly when the final results are tallied. And you can see the status of all of the current season’s shows at out Cancellation Watch page.
Once Upon A Time (ABC Sun 8 pm) Rating: 3.0 | Trend: Steady | Renewed
Game of Thrones (HBO Sun 10 PM) Rating: 2.0 | Trend: Up | Renewed
Eureka (Syfy Mon 9 PM) Rating: 0.6 | Trend: Up | Cancellation Alert: Final Season
Vampire Diaries (CW Thur 8 PM) Rating: 1.1 | Trend: Down | Renewed
Person of Interest (CBS Thur 9 PM) Rating: 2.6 | Trend: Steady | Renewed
Secret Circle (CW Thur 9 PM) Rating: 0.5 | Trend: Steady | Cancellation Alert: Cancelled
Touch (FOX Thur 9 PM) Rating: 2.0 | Trend: Steady | Renewed
Awake (NBC Thur 10 PM) Rating: 0.9 | Trend: Up | Cancellation Alert: Cancelled
Nikita (CW Fri 8 PM) Rating: 0.4 | Trend: Steady | Renewed
Supernatural (CW Fri 9 PM) Rating: 0.7 | Trend: Steady | Renewed
Grimm (NBC Fri 9 PM) Rating: 1.2 | Trend: Down | Renewed
Fringe (FOX Fri 9 PM) Rating: 1.0 | Trend: Up | Renewed
Ratings Source: TV by the Numbers
Summer 2012 Sci Fi Movie Preview: The complete run down on all of the science fiction and fantasy movies hitting the theaters this Blockbuster Season which kicks off in May.
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