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
The season is winding down and the current Prime Time shows will begin wrapping going into next month. The question for several of the genre shows, though, is whether they will be having their season or series finales. I have been tracking the status of all the sci fi and fantasy shows this season in this column, and now I will offer my final predictions as we approach the upfronts when the networks will announce their schedules for next season (that begins on May 14th). Already renewed for next season are The Walking Dead (AMC), American Horror Story (FX), Game of Thrones (HBO), Being Human (Syfy), Person of Interest (CBS), and Grimm (NBC). The only official cancellation so far has been Terra Nova (FOX), and NBC’s Chuck ended its run this season. Following are my predictions on the rest of the genre shows by network (Cancellation Alert statuses are Low, Moderate, Medium, Elevated, and High):
ABC – The alphabet network only had two genre series this season, and they came in on opposite sides of the Nielsens. Fantasy series Once Upon A Time got off to a surprisingly strong start last October and has held onto its audience for most the season. It did dip a bit in December and it has also slid some the last month or so, but it dominates Sunday nights among scripted shows and it is one of this season’s highest rating new shows. This one will definitely be coming back for a second season. Mid-season entry The River, though, is a different story. It debuted to only mediocre ratings in February and sank from there. That one will almost certainly not continue its voyage and I currently have it at an Elevated Cancellation Alert status. Fans of the show can take heart in knowing that Netflix has expressed an interest in picking it up if and when ABC cancels it.
CBS – The J.J. Abrams series Person of Interest already received a renewal notice as mentioned above. Whereas supernatural series A Gifted Man is all but cancelled. CBS has not issued anything official, but the fact that the show was not included in their round of renewal announcements last month and its poor ratings performance seem to indicate a certain end to the freshman series.
The CW – Consider every show on this network up in the air. The ratings have dropped so far The CW, you have to wonder if the network itself will return next season. Assuming it does, consider Vampire Diaries a sure thing to return and probably Supernatural as well. The Secret Circle could go either way and Nikita is certainly a goner. I believe that reruns of The Andy Griffith Show over on Nick at Nite have been beating out new episodes of that one of late.
FOX – [Update 4/27 - Fringe Renewed] Does Fringe return for one more season? That’s a real uncertainty based on the show’s pitiful ratings this season. There have been rumblings that it could come back for a shortened fifth season (and it would be a crime if they were not given a chance to wrap up the story), but be careful playing those odds. By the end of this season it will have reached the magic number of 88 episodes that the syndication market wants to see, so there’s no real financial incentive to keep it going in light of its poor ratings. But fans would certainly be enraged if the story was truncated (the production team has filmed two versions of the season finale, one just in case). Certainly FOX could at least find their way to give the show a final two hour movie of something like that? In any case, I have it at an Elevated Cancellation Alert status at this point. And FOX’s other genre series face a grim future as well. Alcatraz started out at mid-season with good numbers, but began a sharp drop-off after a few weeks. Perhaps J.J. Abrams’ clout can help get the show to a second season (and maybe get Fringe a decent finale), but that’s nothing to count on. I have Alcatraz at a Medium Cancellation Alert at this point. FOX’s third genre series, mid-season entry Touch, has also been under-performing in the ratings of late. That series started out very strong, but has seen a drop in its numbers almost every episode since its debut. They may still give it a shot, though, and see if rescheduling could help its numbers next season. I will place it at a Medium Cancellation Alert for now.
NBC – Grimm already got its second season renewal, and Chuck wrapped up its five-year run this season. And mid-season entry Awake seems certainly to be a one and out series. It debuted to only so-so numbers and has since dropped to CW levels . This one is currently at a High Cancellation Alert status.
Syfy – Being Human received a renewal and Eureka (which just started its fifth season run) will end after this season. Lost Girl is a Canadian import that does not rely too heavily on U.S. ratings for its survival. That leaves only fourth season entry Sanctuary. That show dropped off this season in the ratings and looks to be a toss-up on whether it will return. I currently have it at a Medium Cancellation Alert status.
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.
Ratings Results for the Week of April 15th:
Once Upon A Time (Repeat) (ABC Sun 8 pm) Rating: 1.1 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Low
Game of Thrones (HBO Sun 10 PM) Rating: 1.8 | Trend: Up | Renewed
Eureka (Syfy Mon 9 PM) Rating: 0.6 | Trend: Up | Cancellation Alert: Final Season
Vampire Diaries (CW Thur 8 PM) Rating: 1.0 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Low
Person of Interest (Repeat) (CBS Thur 9 PM) Rating: 1.5 | Trend: Steady | Renewed
Secret Circle (CW Thur 9 PM) Rating: 0.5 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Medium
Touch (FOX Thur 9 PM) Rating: 2.1 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Medium
Awake (NBC Thur 10 PM) Rating: 0.9 | Trend: Steady | Cancellation Alert: High
Nikita (Repeat) (CW Fri 8 PM) Rating: 0.4 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: High
Supernatural (Repeat) (CW Fri 9 PM) Rating: 0.6 | Trend: Steady | Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Grimm (Repeat) (NBC Fri 9 PM) Rating: 1.3 | Trend: Up | Renewed
Fringe (FOX Fri 9 PM) Rating: 1.0 | Trend: Down | Cancellation Alert: Elevated
Ratings Source: TV by the Numbers