Deathwatch Winter TV Survival Odds
Which shows are safe, canceled, and in trouble
As you’ve probably heard, broadcast television is suffering through its Lowest Ratings Ever this fall. But that doesn’t mean every show is a goner (networks have to air something — even if it is Dr. Ken). We looked at the ratings to date and spoke to industry insiders to get a sense of which shows are likely to stick around for awhile, and which are in serious jeopardy. Here’s how the field currently stands (ranked from the highest to lowest based on average 18-49 demo ratings for the season including seven days of DVR playback when available):
Blindspot (NBC) — Now tats the way you do it: The fall’s biggest new success story is Blindspot with 12.8 million viewers and a 3.8 rating (why, it’s matching ABC’s Scandal). Having a lead-in from The Voice helps significantly, but last fall’s short-lived State of Affairs proved a show can flop in this slot regardless of having that front-loaded boost. Now here’s the shocking part: Blindspot, which stars Jaimie Alexander as Jason Bourne-like operative, is really the only outright new hit in the 2015-16 season so far; it’s the one new title among the Top 10 shows when measuring either adult demo or total viewers. Most other freshman series doing well-ish still don’t come close to Blindspot‘s average even with a lot on DVR playback added. Like see here in the No. 2 slot…
Quantico (ABC) — It’s Shonda Rhimes karaoke that worked: ABC’s soapy thriller has a 2.8 rating thanks to doubling its numbers with DVR.
Supergirl (CBS) — Kara’s next mission should be to rescue her slipping Nielsens. Averaging 2.8 for the season, sure, but started big and recently hit a new low. Still, Supergirl should receive a full-season order any day now.
Life in Pieces (CBS) — A comedy that snagged it’s full season order and has a 2.5 rating that every other new comedy would envy. But it’s losing more than half of the huge Big Bang Theory lead-in. We suspect CBS will give some other series a chance after Big Bang later this season instead, and then we’ll see if Life in Pieces can stay intact.
Limitless (CBS) — Picked up for the season — it’s doing well enough — but could still use some of that magical NZT for its ho-hum numbers (2.5 rating), or at least some generic Adderall.
Heroes Reborn (NBC) — A high-profile limited series reboot with a 2.3 rating. The “evos” are not supposed to return, but we suspect NBC at least wants this title in its arsenal of options for consideration after seeing its pilots this spring, just in case the network wants to do another round (Heroes Reborn Again?).
The Muppets (ABC) — One of fall’s biggest launches felt a few bumps (2.3 average). ABC is changing showrunners and gave the series a mere three more episodes and called it a “full season” pickup (nine episodes is the tradition, especially for broadcast comedies, albiet it’s a standard that’s increasingly being ignored). ABC wants to make The Muppets better, and we suspect the show will have yet another chance next season.
Rosewood (Fox) — Finally, a Fox show makes the list. Rosewood is like The Mysteries of Laura last season — a Wednesday night procedural most expected to perform poorly that surprised by doing slightly better than poorly (a 2.1 rating, to be exact). It scored a full season order and has good odds to stick around beyond that given the rest of Fox’s lineup.
Scream Queens (Fox) — The most stunning disappointment of the fall (2.1 average), given the show’s high-profile cast, producers and pre-premiere polling data. Still, the scuttlebutt around the network is Fox will keep Ryan Murphy’s campy horror comedy for a re-launch next season with a new premise and a few surviving cast members (the rumor is it will become Scream Queens: Summer Camp).
Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (NBC) — Broadcast’s only new show this fall that wasn’t a traditional scripted drama or sitcom. Sadly for many this did not fulfill its stated promise of delivering the best time ever (1.7 rating). Feels done, but it’s fate is currently unclear.
Code Black (CBS) — CBS threw five more episodes at this medical drama to finish out its first season (1.7 rating), but its season 2 survival odds are on life support.
Dr. Ken (ABC) — Got a full season. Since Dr. Ken is (almost) matching lead-in Last Man Standing on tough Friday nights, and because ABC has had such a brutal time filling this slot in the past (Cristela, Malibu Country, etc), we’re hearing the doctor is more likely to keep sticking around than not despite its 1.6 rating.
Grandfathered and The Grinder (Fox) — Fox’s news hows are in rough shape, but the network has to have some content and some stability. Tuesday night’s Grandfathered and The Grinder are considered ad-friendly shows with promotable stars (John Stamos, Rob Lowe) and they’re sticking around even though nobody is happy with the numbers. Grandfathered is doing a 1.6 rating and Grinder has a 1.4.
Blood & Oil (ABC) — A bust: Don Johnson’s return saw its order cut and the title is off ABC’s midseason schedule after coming up dry in the ratings (1.5).
The Player (NBC) — With that 1.3 average, Wesley Snipes’ game was over weeks ago.
Minority Report (Fox) — Like Scream Queens, a surprising outcome given the auspices (in this case producer Steven Spielberg) and brand (based on the 2002 film). And like The Player and Blood & Oil, this hasn’t been officially canceled, but given it’s numbers (a 1.2 rating), and it’s production cut-down, you don’t need to be a Precog to figure out Minority Report‘s fate.
Wicked City (ABC) — Wicked City managed the seemingly impossible: In a season where nothing is being officially canceled, it got officially canceled (0.8 average).
Truth Be Told (NBC) — Another Not Officially Dead Yet show that saw its order cut. The negative reviews and a nearly negative Nielsen rating (0.7 average) for a Friday night comedy that makes Dr. Ken look like The Big Bang Theory.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW) — Squeaked out an order for a five more episodes this week. But with a 0.3 average it’s tough to see even occasional broken-toy hoarder The CW keeping this show instead of trying something fresh next season.