For anyone who follows TV, you likely know that a move to Friday night is hardly considered good news. While certain shows have prospered there (“Shark Tank,” “Blue Bloods”), it is mostly known as the night many shows go to die. For The CW, this is especially true, with “Supernatural” and “America’s Next Top Model” (at least for a few seasons) serving as temporary success stories.
Last year, “The Originals” was placed on the Friday midseason schedule alongside “The Vampire Diaries,” which means that starting with their January 29 return, they will be forced more to fight for their lives on the air. Will they succeed? We’ve got both good news and bad news today for the Joseph Morgan series. (We’ve already written about “The Vampire Diaries” in our Ratings Bubble Report series; you can check that out over at the link here.)
The good news – Let’s talk syndication first. Four seasons or 88 episodes tends to be the threshold these days for primetime scripted dramas, and we’re getting close to that mark with “The Originals.” With a renewal, it will get there. Sure, syndication doesn’t mean as much as it used to, but that still has to be considered a positive. If you’re interested in some others, how about the fact that this show still has better ratings than “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” “Jane the Virgin,” or “Reign”? You can also look at the upcoming crossover between it and “The Vampire Diaries” as hope that The CW is at least trying to give it a shot to reverse its fortune.
Finally, don’t dismiss measures that aren’t as apparent when looking at live+same day data: Online streams, international popularity, and social-media traffic. All are big for this show.
The bad news – It’s as simple as the fact that the ratings just aren’t great in live+same day, and the decline has been big over the first three seasons. The show averaged around a 0.9 in the 18-49 demographic for the first season, and then a 0.6 for season 2. So far for season 3, we’re looking at a 0.4, and we haven’t even seen the Friday numbers yet (which we expect to be lower). By the end of this season, it’s reasonable to think that “The Originals” could have lost two-thirds of the audience that it had in the first season. That is a cause for concern for a season 4 renewal; if the ratings are already low, what could they drop to next year?
Renewal odds – Moderate to moderately high. We do think The CW would like to give “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Originals” one more season each to wrap things up, but one thing we’re watching here is if “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” and “Jane the Virgin” get renewed based on critical acclaim. If that happens, are “Reign” and “Top Model” really the only shows from the fall schedule that could go away?
Let us know if you think “The Originals” will return in the comments! Also, head over here to get some other news on the crossover coming up, or sign up here to get some further TV news on all we cover, sent right to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: The CW.)