If you looked at the ratings for Marvel’s “Agents of SHIELD” when it premiered two years ago, it would have been simply absurd to think about the idea of it being in any sort of ratings danger. Yet, we have flash-forwarded now to season 3, and while we think the Clark Gregg series will be back, it is hardly a slam dunk. There are some things helping the series (the Marvel connection certainly is something that ABC wants to have established on the network), but you also have to consider elements like cost and the notion that this show does not do a good job helping out those that air close to it.
Ready to get into the details? Then take a look below at our latest Ratings Bubble Report.
The good news – One thing you really want to hope for is consistency in the ratings. While “SHIELD” is not the juggernaut many thought it would be upon its series premiere, its season 3 average so far is only down around 10% in adults 18-49 from one year ago. That’s a figure that many shows out there would love to have; it’s natural for things to decline, and what you really have to hope for is that you’re not losing a quarter of your audience because of Netflix or something else.
We’ve already mentioned that Disney wants that synergy there with Marvel and ABC, so there’s no sense repeating that. Instead, let’s discuss syndication. This show needs a fourth season to get to that 88-episode point where they can start to sell repeats to other broadcasters. That’s something that is probably not as valuable for a show as it was four or five years ago, but it still matters.
The bad news – Think about all of the special effects, the enormous cast, and all of the students that are put in here. This is not a cheap show to make, and thanks to that it probably has a higher expectation than some other ones that are on the ABC schedule. If it starts to lose another chunk of its viewership, it’s going to get to the point where it may not be cost-effective to maintain it.
Also, the show is barely averaging a higher 18-49 demo rating than “The Flash” on The CW. We’re not trying to create any Marvel vs. DC war on here or another, but that is a sign that the ratings for “SHIELD” are probably not at a level where it can be some sort of big hit anymore.
Current prediction – It’s probably getting a fourth season. Pending some disaster in the final episodes of season 3, we’re about 90% confident on it at present. We feel like cancellation is a bad look for a Marvel property, and they are more likely to just announce a final season before it airs and then hold on to some characters to use for an Inhumans movie down the road.
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