Ratings debate: Can ‘Nikita’ stay alive on The CW?

Should it stay?

For our third edition of “ratings debates” (check out our take on “Community” and “Fringe“), we turn to a show that has developed one of the most loyal followings of any on TV at the moment — “Nikita.” Unfortunately, it’s also one that it is some pretty serious trouble of getting sent out the door after two seasons.

Why it should go – Ratings. It’s as simple as that. “Nikita” is overall the lowest-rated drama series not just on The CW, but on any major English-speaking network (unless you count “The LA Complex,” which literally just premiered). The show generally alternates between a 0.5 and 0.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic, and this is poor even for a Friday night.

Another issue facing the show is that The CW would obviously like to create a better lead-in for their tentpole “Supernatural,” which has lost some viewers this year without the boost of “Smallville.” They have their Green Arrow adaptation “Arrow” on the way, and it seems like a perfect fit for the timeslot this Maggie Q show is currently occupying.

Finally, there’s no real syndication benefit to keeping “Nikita” around for a third season. It would still need another season to get to the 88-episode count, and a show with ratings this low isn’t going to be syndicated very well, anyway.

Why it should stay – If you are a proponent of total viewers mattering more than the demo, know this — “Nikita” pulls better overall viewers than “Gossip Girl,” “90210,” “The Secret Circle,” “Ringer,” and “Hart of Dixie.” It is also airing on a Friday night, and it’s hard to say whether or not any of the other shows listed would even be drawing these sort of numbers in this timeslot.

You also can look at some other interesting demos here depending on how The CW is planning out their future. If they are hoping to appeal more towards men, they could keep the show — next to “Supernatural,” it’s the most male-friendly series on a network that mostly caters to young women, which is bringing in diminishing returns as of late.

What will happen – Sorry, “Nikita” fans. We don’t see it sticking around. While the quality of the entertainment is high enough to justify a renewal, we just don’t see it staying. The only other shows in any real danger of cancellation at the moment for the network (as “LA Complex” is just a temporary placeholder) are “Hart of Dixie” and “Ringer,” mostly because “Gossip Girl” will get a final season and we have a feeling they are not going to give up on “The Secret Circle” just yet.

There are some slots to be filled for next year, but in between “Arrow,” “The Carrie Diaries,” and an ambitious new series starring “TVD’s” Matt Davis, they are likely to be filled by other shows.

We won’t put the nail in the coffin just yet, but it’s not looking good.

Photo: The CW

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