In this weekly column, I monitor the viewership levels for the currently airing #scifi and #fantasy shows as well as their renewal and cancellation prospects. Also check out This Week In Sci-Fi TV on Fridays, which delivers news and updates on genre television. Ratings Source: The Nielsen Company.
Last week brought two more premieres and both shows continued the trend we have seen this Summer of low linear viewing numbers. On CBS on Thursday, Zoo returned for its third season and only managed a 0.5 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with three million total viewers. That has the show starting at a series low level and also losing 70% of its lead-in audience from Big Brother. This one does have a streaming deal with Netflix where episodes are made available on that service after their broadcast airing, but I don't believe that will help it this year. Braindead had a similar deal with Amazon last year and was cancelled while posting the same ratings levels Zoo is at now. I expect this show to get kicked to Fridays or Saturdays pretty quickly and for this to be its final season.
Over on Syfy on Friday, Killjoys returned at a 0.15 rating with 552K total viewers. That has it below its second season average, but it is probably still at survivable levels. That show comes in a partnership with the Space Channel up in Canada--they pick up part of the production costs--and it is owned by Syfy's parent company NBC Universal. Plus, it has achieved the third season threshold, and typically cable shows that have reached that mark stick around for four to six total to give them a binge-worthy run. I have not heard what the numbers are up north for this show yet, but I believe that it along with Dark Matter (same partnership deal and number of seasons) should survive for at least one more year.
As for the Summer ratings lows we have been seeing for the past month, I'm thinking that the Peak TV crunch is making it harder for shows to draw much of an audience in the off-season. This was a time of year that cable networks used to capitalize on the lack of original programming on the old-school broadcast nets, but the glut of programming has fractured the audience too much. And I am not seeing these shows making up the difference with delayed viewing. There are already signs that the Peak TV bubble is close to bursting (more on that in an upcoming post), and the battle for the scraps of the linear viewing audience could hasten that along.
Ratings Results Of Interest: #TheMist Continues To Drop
Last Thursday, Spike's The Mist slipped yet again, this time to a 0.15 rating based on the demo with 496K total viewers. I still believe the network will keep this one around as it transitions to Paramount TV, but if the numbers slip much more its status could change. On Friday, Dark Matter held steady for Syfy at a 0.16 rating with 619K total viewers and Wynonna Earp improved slightly to a 0.13 rating with 581K total viewers. I still believe the former series has a decent shot at a fourth season (for same reasons mentioned for Killjoys above) while the latter could use some support from fans on the social nets.
On Saturday, Doctor Who posted a 0.20 rating with 655K total viewers for its season finale. And while I don't believe an eleventh season of that show has been officially announced, it is already in the works with a search for a new actor to play the Doctor. On Sunday, AMC's Fear the Walking Dead resumed its ratings drops, posting a 0.83 score with 2.2 million total viewers. The holiday weekend may have partially been to blame and it was still the highest rated show on cable for the night.
Scorecard: 'Killjoys' And 'Zoo' Start In The Lower Half Of The Rankings
Killjoys returned below its second season average and starts off its third year at Number 40 in the Scorecard. For Zoo, I have set its benchmark at a 0.7 rating which is the same level it was renewed at last Summer. But its 0.5 debut numbers start it below that threshold and it will likely slip even further in the coming weeks than the Number 45 slot it holds now. I discuss the prospects of these shows in more detail above.
Slipping this week were Syfy’s Blood Drive (from Number 18 to Number 24), Spike’s The Mist (from Number 22 to Number 28) and AMC’s Preacher (from Number 20 to Number 29). I expect the latter show to remain pretty much stable at this point because it has now settled into Monday nights. But the other two may not have ended their declines just yet.
Most of the rest of the movement on the Scorecard for the week was incidental and you can see the full rankings here.
- Last Week's Column: 'The Mist' Has A Hazy Start, 'Preacher' Looks Okay, And More
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