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
Word just broke yesterday that Netflix is in talks with CBS about picking up Jericho and producing more seasons of that cult favorite series. They are only in the early stages at this point and its uncertain if they would be able to round up the cast members, but if they pull this off there will be a lot of happy fans of the show out there. Should this deal fall through, like the Terra Nova one did, the streaming service could potentially turn their attention to one of this season’s cancelled series. While we have had no official cancellations of genre shows yet, apart from Terra Nova, there are several certainly on the way out. So I will briefly look at each of these and consider their prospects for shifting to Netflix.
The River (ABC) – This show is not cancelled yet, but there is almost no chance that ABC will bring it back. Netflix has already entered into talks about picking it up, though, so consider it the odds-on favorite for this season’s doomed genre shows.
Nikita (CW) – This is one of the CW’s lowest rated shows, but it apparently has a strong core fanbase and it is very popular overseas. Since it is a CW show, it is a lower budget production and thus a more economical pickup. If the network drops it after its second season, this would be a good one for Netflix to target.
The Secret Circle (CW) – This show was supposed to act as the perfect compliment to the CW’s Vampire Diaries (their highest rated show), but it never quite grabbed onto that audience in its freshman year. Like Nikita, it would be a more economical pickup and it has some pedigree with the names of Kevin Williamson and L. J. Smith attached. But would it bring enough positive buzz (and subscribers) to the streaming service?
Alcatraz (FOX) – The prospects for this show looked bright early on, but its ratings sank quickly toward season end, leaving it now on the bubble. It would be a high-profile pickup because it’s a J.J. Abrams show. But would it fit into the budget that Netflix can afford? If they are seriously considering Jericho and The River, then apparently yes and this could be an option if neither of those pan out.
Touch (FOX) – This is another FOX mid-season genre entry that started strong in the ratings but has since tumbled pretty far. This one has Tim Kring (Heroes) and Kiefer Sutherland (24) attached, so it has some name recognition. I give it about the same chances as Alcatraz.
Awake (NBC) – This dual-reality series debuted at mid-season to mediocre ratings and has gone down from there. It hasn’t really developed much of a fan following that I can tell, and it doesn’t really have much name recognition from its producers or stars. I’m thinking Netflix will have little interest in trying to keep this series going.
Chuck (NBC) – This series actually wrapped up this season after a five-year run, but because it has such a devoted fan following I’m throwing it out there as one that Netflix could take a flyer on. I didn’t see the finale for Chuck so I don’t know if that precluded any sort of continuation of the series, but the streaming service would definitely get some attention if they decided to keep the show running. Seems unlikely, but I wouldn’t completely rule it out.
As for the early week ratings, all three genre shows performed at about the same levels. Once Upon A Time remained steady at a 3.0 rating, Game of Thrones rose slightly from the prior week to a 1.9, and Eureka slipped a bit to a 0.5.
I will have the full ratings results for all of this week’s shows in the regular Monday column next week, and you can see the status of all of the current season’s shows at out Cancellation Watch page.
Ratings Source: TV by the Numbers