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 (sometimes Saturdays), which delivers news and updates on genre television. Ratings Source: The Nielsen Company.
Fall Ratings Report
Last week was the official start of the Fall season (though several shows like The Orville got an early launch), and across the broadcast networks it appears that the ratings averages are about where they ended in the Spring (except for Friday night, more on that below). Among the sci fi and fantasy shows, we are seeing some looking good with their debuts and some getting off to slow starts. It's still early in the season and too soon to make judgments on most shows, but those ones starting slow out of the gate rarely manage to catch up and their future is already looking murky.
I covered the Thursday numbers for The Orville, Gotham, and The Good Place in last week's This Week In Sci-Fi TV post. On Friday, there were four premieres, all of which came in below expectations; a theme across all broadcast network shows on that night. ABC's The Inhumans had its two-hour debut and only managed a 0.9 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 3.8 million total viewers. Those numbers look pretty soft for such an expensive series, though its tie-in to the Avengers movies could keep it afloat for another season. On CBS, MacGyver only managed a 0.8 rating with 6.7 million total viewers which has the show at a series low and 26% below its first season average.
On FOX, The Exorcist returned at a series low as it only managed a 0.5 rating with 1.6 million total viewers for its Season 2 bow. The network may have an international syndication deal on that one that could keep it afloat and it does have a very vocal fanbase, so I won't count it out just yet. Over on Syfy, Z Nation returned low for its fourth season at a 0.17 rating with 575K total viewers. Those are still acceptable numbers for a Syfy entry, though, and I would expect this show to at least get a fifth year nod if not more.
On Sunday, FOX's new supernatural comedy Ghosted premiered with a 1.4 rating and 3.6 million total viewers. That was even with its lead-in from The Simpsons and if it holds in that range it should be okay. The Last Man on Earth returned for its fourth season with a soft 0.9 rating and 2.3 million total viewers. But that one is at the point that one more season makes it more attractive to the syndication market, so it has a chance to survive a bit longer.
On Monday, FOX's X-Men tie-in series The Gifted had its premiere and pulled a 1.5 rating with 4.8 million total viewers (based on the preliminary numbers). Those are quite good ratings for FOX on a Monday considering the stiff competition, though superhero shows tend to draw a lot of curious onlookers for their premieres (not so for The Inhumans, apparently). This show is off to a good start, but we will have to see how it tracks in the coming week. Leading into that, Lucifer had a 1.1 rating with 3.9 million total viewers for its Season 3 debut. That is slightly above its second season average and it could coast into a fourth season if it holds around these levels.
- ALSO READ: This Week In Sci-Fi TV: Ringworld, Scanners, And Snowcrash Shows In The Works, Arrow-verse Crossover, And More
#StrangerThings Could Last Five Seasons
As previously reported, the Duffer brothers mentioned that they were eyeing a four year run for their paranormal series Stranger Things. But Netflix apparently wants at least one more year for the show according to executive producer Shawn Levy:
Hearts were heard breaking in Netflix headquarters when the Brothers made four seasons sound like an official end, and I was suddenly getting phone calls from our actors’ agents. The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth. Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely.
So fans can rest assured that the four seasons look like a lock and a fifth year is very likely. That show returns for its second season later this month on October 27th.
#TheLastShip May End Its Tour After Five Years
TNT's The Last Ship wraps up its fourth season later this month and its fifth year has already been filmed with a debut date planned for next Summer. But it looks like that show may end its five year mission at that point. According to what Deadline Hollywood is reporting, the fifth season does not end on a cliffhanger, and it is unlikely that the show will continue into a sixth year. This is TNT's statement on the show:
We shot two seasons simultaneously, the fourth is currently on the air and the fifth will return next summer. We greenlit the fifth with the idea that it could be the final season, however it’s far too early to make that determination.
Based on the ratings declines in the show's fourth season, I have been expecting that the show will wrap up after next Summer. And as the actors could be released from their contracts soon, expect an official announcement in the next month or so.
Could Syfy Tune Out #ChannelZero?
Syfy's horror anthology series Channel Zero, based on the popular internet "creepypasta" tales, has gotten off to a slow start in its second season. It premiered on September 20th with only a 0.13 rating based on the demo and slipped to a 0.11 score in its second week, notably below the 0.19 rating it averaged in its first season. The network has already greenlit two more seasons of this show, but you have to wonder if those could be in jeopardy at this point. I'm thinking not because this show only has six episodes per season and should package well for a run on one of the streaming services. I also believe that production has already started on the third season of the show. But at this point, I definitely do not see anything beyond a fourth season and would not be surprised if the show gets shifted to a burn-off timeslot for its third and fourth year runs.
- Previous Column: 'Star Trek: Discovery' Has Good Launch, A Possible 'Teen Wolf' Spin-Off And More
- See a list of past columns at this link
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