Idiot Box: Who Dies First This Fall?

Who Dies First This Fall?

Devin D. O'Leary
3 min read
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October is over, which means the Big 5 networks have premiered the majority of their big fall TV offerings. And with the passing of Halloween, it’s about time to start contemplating which of these new TV shows are doing so bad in ratings that they are likely to become the first casualties of the broadcast season.

Generally speaking, the news is bad across the board. Compared to this time last year, NBC is down 11 percent in viewership, FOX is down 11 percent, CBS is down 12 percent, ABC is down 14 percent and The CW down 17 percent. This reflects an overall trend in the way people watch TV these days, abandoning the traditional broadcast networks in favor of cable, pay-per-view and internet download services like Netflix. On the other hand, basically all of the networks have at least one hit show to brag about.

NBC’s already classic family drama “This Is Us” is pulling in a 3.6 Nielsen rating and attracting around 12 million viewers per week, making it the biggest new show of the season. ABC’s political drama “Designated Survivor” is getting a 3.4 rating and around 13.7 million viewers. CBS’ generic Kevin James sitcom “Kevin Can Wait” gets a 2.6 rating and an average 11.1 million viewers. FOX’s action movie spin-off “Lethal Weapon” earns a 2.4 rating and around 8.7 million viewers. Those are all “keeper” numbers.

The premiere of “Supergirl,” having flown from CBS to The CW for its second season, broke records at its new home. The show is the 5th-place network’s most-watched in the Monday night timeslot in nearly eight years and is racking up the net’s best ratings in a long time (1.1 rating, 3 million viewers). Of course that’s two million less viewers than it attracted back on CBS. And it’s one of the few pieces of positive news for The CW, as two of its shows are malingering at the bottom of the ratings pile. The end-of-the-world RomCom “No Tomorrow” is the lowest-rated show of the new season, gathering a meager .4 rating and about 1.1 million viewers. That’s followed closely by the sci-fi movie spin-off “Frequency,” which adds a similar .4 rating and about 1.4 million viewers to the network. But, since The CW’s ratings are generally lower than the other Big 5 networks and it can’t really afford to keep midseason replacements in stock, odds are those two poorly rated shows might actually finish out their seasons.

FOX’s “The Exorcist” (one of countless movie-to-TV spinoffs this season) is struggling with a 1.0 rating and just 2.9 million viewers. However, the show has demonstrated a certain spark lately (outing itself as a direct sequel to the original movie, for example), and the network may opt to keep it alive until the series finale.

ABC’s indistinguishable legal drama “Conviction,” on the other hand, is already getting the short shrift from its network. Although ABC hasn’t precisely canceled it (for pulling a 1.2 rating and attracting only 5.4 million viewers), the network has cut its series order from 13 to 10 episodes. That doesn’t bode well at all for a second season and could make it the frontrunner for the first officially canceled show of the 2016 season. Sorry, “Conviction,” but you’re looking like this season’s dead man walking.

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