Canceled TV Shows 2015: ‘Sleepy Hollow’ And ‘Scream Queens’ Struggle In Ratings, But Hang On Thanks To New Industry Trends

The list of canceled TV shows in 2015 has yet to grow, with industry experts saying on-the-bubble shows like Scream Queens and Sleepy Hollow may be saved by some new trends.

This year a number of shows have under-performed, but so far there has been just one cancellation. This week the ABC drama Wicked City became the first show of 2015 to get the axe.

But even shows on the bubble of being canceled have been able to hang on this year, a trend noted by the Los Angeles Times. The report noted that shows like Fox’s Minority Report or NBC’s The Player wouldn’t have survived this long in past years, but there seems to be a bit of hesitancy to pull the plug this year.

In fact it wasn’t until November that a show was canceled this year, something that hasn’t happened since the 1950s. The change comes in the way ratings are tabulated, with television executives knowing that people are more likely to be streaming shows online or on mobile devices, which drives traditional ratings down.

“The absence of cancellations is another sign of the tectonic shifts underway in the television industry. Thanks to digital recording and streaming, millions of viewers no longer watch shows when they are first telecast — making network executives reluctant to kill a program that may be quietly building an audience that’s not being counted by traditional ratings.”

Executives are also more reluctant to cancel shows given how many have revived on other networks, and even online. The Mindy Project, canceled by Fox, found a new home on Hulu. Yahoo! also picked up the canceled fan favorite Community.

Shows are getting more of a chance to prove themselves, noted Joe Saltzman, professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He said that networks are aware of the greater options for television shows.

“The consumer no longer goes to the three networks to see what’s on the air. They use their DVR and streaming to see whatever they want whenever they want to,” Saltzman told the Los Angeles Times.

“In this modern era, it is very unlikely for one program to get an order of 26 episodes,” Saltzman said. “Orders are usually five to 10 to a dozen episodes. And if the show hits, such as ‘Empire,’ the studio or network can order up a new batch of episodes, promote them and put them on whenever they want to.”

There are many TV shows close to joining the 2015 canceled list. Sleepy Hollow has hit a ratings valley, falling below a 1.0 ratings in October. Scream Queens has also struggled despite a big backing from Fox and some big-name guest stars, including Ariana Grande.

Buddy TV’s Kartik Chainani wrote that the show’s format presents more problems. The show centers around a mystery that will likely be solved after the season 1 finale, and other shows with such a premise have struggled beyond season 1.

“It’s hard to make a solid call on the fate of Scream Queens. The Ryan Murphy project has definitely been entertaining in the way it laughs at itself and draws intrigue in its murder-mystery element, but still has a few elements working against it. For one thing, the story doesn’t seem like it would have much to go off of past learning the identity of the killer. Though shows like Pretty Little Liars have managed to draw that out for a long time and even work to continue past it, that isn’t the only thing standing in Scream Queens’ way.”

Despite the struggles in the ratings, Scream Queens and Sleepy Hollow have been able to avoid joining the list of canceled TV shows in 2015, and may have the new industry trends to thank.

[Image via Fox]