With each fall TV season, viewers get a variety of promising new series and an even bigger variety of returning hits, though not everything is built to last for the long haul. Even though linear TV viewing is in decline overall, this season has seen quite a few shows breaking the mold, such as NBC standout Manifest and Fox’s pickup Last Man Standing. Unfortunately, some shows have much less to celebrate than others.
While no networks have started to pull the plugs on their fall content just yet, we can probably expect to see at least one axe drop before the holidays arrive, with more to come in the new year. For now, here are the nine broadcast TV shows that have the lowest chances of surviving into the 2019-2020 TV season.
The Gifted – Fox
After Fox introduced the non-Batman world of Gotham to welcoming viewers, the network thought it could find similar success with the X-Men-free world of The Gifted. Somewhat surprisingly, though, audiences just haven’t been as rabid about a small-screen fight between mutants and humans, despite The Gifted‘s talented cast and interesting array of comic book heroes and villains. Perhaps because legal issues necessarily hinder the heroes and villains that can be used.
In that vein, it was perhaps optimism for potential X-Men arrivals that kept fans tuned in for Season 1, because viewership has dipped even lower. The Season 2 premiere audience was smaller than every Season 1 episode save for one, and with a demo rating that hovers around the 0.7 mark, it will take a host of powers to save The Gifted from being taken out of the picture on Fox as the new year kicks off.
Blindspot – NBC
Like many dramas before it, Blindspot built its buzz upon a mysterious hook that wasn’t necessarily enough to keep viewers regularly tuning in on a year-to-year basis. Of course, the twisty tattoo-driven drama has managed to make it to four seasons, which is more than any other show on this list can claim to have reached by now.
It’s Blindspot‘s second year of airing on Friday nights, which usually means the end is nigh for any show. Season 3’s numbers didn’t drop so dramatically after the initial time slot swap, but Season 4 has seen a steady down-tick in the stats since its premiere, bringing in less than 3 million viewers an episode. The 0.4 demo ratings definitely don’t help, either, so fans should hope for Jaimie Alexander’s Jane Doe to have a few miracles up her (tat) sleeve.
Murphy Brown – CBS
Former TV hits Will & Grace and Roseanne made splashes with their updated revivals, so CBS thought it wise to give Murphy Brown another crack at adding political commentary to the primetime lineup. Of course, real-world politics has already been a major talking point across all of television in recent years, watering down Murphy‘s most pointed jabs and normalizing the once-refreshing sitcom.
Its numbers on CBS are still respectable, although in six episodes, its live audience has dipped from 7.5 million to 5.9 million, and its key demo rating has dipped from a 1.1 to a 0.8. So it’s not being thrown into its grave just yet, but _Murphy _Brown’s figures are declining in the now all-important delayed viewing numbers, too, and it’s failed to get a full-season pickup from CBS so far. Had critics not largely panned and dismissed it upon its return, we might be talking about it in a more positive light.
Speechless – ABC
As a part of ABC’s diversity-embracing comedy lineup, the Minnie Driver-starring Speechless found a winning hook as a family comedy in which one member has cerebral palsy. Its first season was a big hit with critics and audiences, and while nothing necessarily changed in any big ways, the attention started to wane in Season 2.
Unfortunately, things got even worse in Season 3, though the most recent declines in viewership and ratings were to be expected. ABC slotted Speechless into its newly reformed TGIF lineup, which meant that the show was sacrificing its mid-week viewers for a Friday night audience. Such time slots are generally TV graveyards, minus exceptions like former ABC sitcom Last Man Standing, and Speechless is currently ABC’s lowest-rated scripted show, period.
REL – Fox
Comedian Lil Rel Howery made waves among mainstream audiences on the NBC sitcom The Carmichael Show and in the critically lauded horror Get Out. Unfortunately, his self-starring Fox sitcom REL likely won’t be one his fans will be dying to hear about years from now. Though the freshman comedy probably wowed producers with its premiere totals — 5.49 million viewers, 1.9 demo rating — those stats were buoyed by a post-NFL time slot.
By the next week, when it was pushed back 90 minutes to a post-Family Guy slot, its numbers dipped to 1.99 million viewers, with a 0.8 demo rating, and they haven’t risen above that since. Considering its Live+3 delayed viewing numbers are no longer taking the demo above a 1.0, REL‘s place in Fox’s busy schedule is likely temporary.
Happy Together – CBS
Any time a new CBS comedy debuts, all eyes are on it to see how well it compares to the network’s current and past hits. The comparison isn’t so stellar for Happy Together, starring Damon Wayans Jr. and Amber Stevens West. The show features a fairly wacky plot where a young pop star (played by Felix Mallard) moves in with his older accountant (naturally) and the show plays off of the generation gap between the characters.
Happy Together can boast that its numbers staying pretty consistent over the first half of its freshman season, but those numbers aren’t exactly high enough for the consistency to wow studio heads. (Each episode after the premiere has been watched by fewer than 5 million people.) CBS does own Happy Together, which helps its future chances, but the network has yet to order any remaining episodes for the season, which is as good as a death knell these days.
I Feel Bad – NBC
Ahead of its premiere, the biggest thing that NBC’s comedy I Feel Bad had going for it was Amy Poehler as an executive producer. Starring No Tomorrow‘s Sarayu Rao as the family-oriented character who takes on the titular emotion, I Feel Bad is based on Orly Auslander’s book of the same name, though it got far more negative critical reviews than the source material. This isn’t a show where bad press equal good numbers, either.
Its doubled-up Wednesday sneak peek fared promisingly enough without a new Criminal Minds airing, but the viewership dropped somewhat sharply between just those two same-night airings, from 5.72 million to 3.98 million. Since then, it’s only gotten worse, with episode viewerships topping around around 2.2 million, with around a 0.5 demo rating. Unless something changes quickly, I Feel Bad will start feeling a lot worse.
Lethal Weapon – Fox
By most accounts, Lethal Weapon wasn’t guaranteed to make it into Season 3 after the cast-flipping kerfuffle that surrounded former star Clayne Crawford. But it did, with new lead Seann William Scott serving as a new partner for Damon Wayans’ belabored Murtaugh. Not too long after, Wayans declared he was stepping away from the show as a lead, citing long production schedules being hard on his body.
With cast troubles come ratings dips, and even though Season 3’s premiere got bigger numbers than the chaotic Season 2 finale, the numbers have dropped since. (The Nov. 6 episode showed a slight uptick, but that can presumably be tied to Fox being the only broadcast network airing new eps on Election Day.) Can Scott’s Cole save the day, or is everyone getting too old for this shit?
Midnight, Texas – NBC
It’s almost strange that we’re only just now a few episodes into Midnight, Texas Season 2, considering Season 1 ended last September. Perhaps the second season’s delay played a part in the supernatural drama’s declined ratings for these early episodes, which fall short of those from the previous year. Of course, it could be the fact that NBC shifted Midnight, Texas from Wednesdays to Fridays. (There’s a pattern here.)
Midnight, Texas does have a fairly passionate fanbase, even if it’s not the biggest in network TV, and its viewership has been consistent in these early installments. But while those elements may be all-around good news for NBC’s witches and vampires hoping for another season, they don’t change the fact that Midnight, Texas is currently NBC’s lowest-rated drama, earning around a 0.4 demo rating each week.