Can ‘The Leftovers’ snag season 3 renewal despite low season 2 ratings?

Leftovers -We’ve done our best to make it almost no secret at all this year that “The Leftovers” is putting out a strong caliber of content than almost anything else on TV. It’s poignant, beautiful, captivating television anchored by great performances and Damon Lindelof doing some of the best writing of his career.

Yet, at this particular moment this is a show far from guaranteed to be coming back for more, mostly for one simple reason: It’s ratings are pretty miserable, at least in the live+same day measures. As a whole, season 2 is averaging around 640,000 viewers an episode. (Since this is HBO, demo ratings aren’t as important so we’re not really going to focus on them.) This is an enormous decline from season, which averaged around 1.6 million. The show has almost lost a million viewers an episode! What gives? We attribute it to a combination of three different things:

1. Airing in the first season in the summer after “True Blood,” which was a very good lead-in. Many people probably just watched it next out of convenience.

2. The first season being solid, but far from spectacular. We feel like it was tonally at times far too depressing for its own good, and even too broad in its approach. This likely scared a good many viewers off, which stinks because season 2 is so wonderful.

3. The timeslot now is awful. This is a show up against “The Walking Dead,” “The Good Wife,” Sunday Night Football, and “Homeland.” Those are all programs that take away some of its key adult audience.

Now, maybe “The Leftovers” is pulling in great DVR / on-demand / repeat airings, but it is hard to get all of that data during the season. For HBO, we imagine that there will be two components to their decision: Is this a show that is getting enough critical acclaim that it is worth continuing, and are Lindelof, source author / executive producer Tom Perrotta, and the cast interested in telling more stories? If the answer is “yes” to both questions, we feel like it’ll be back. We just think it could be 2016 (or even 2017, if people really want to take their time) until we know one way or another.

Do you think “The Leftovers” will be back for a third season? Share below, and head over here to read more on the incredible episode from last Sunday! Also, sign up over here to get some other news and exclusive teasers on everything we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: HBO.)

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