The question that a lot of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD fans are asking is, "Does this show have a future?" Looking at Jude Terror's article yesterday, you'd have to be doubting it. The series dropped to an all time low of .6 rating and the ax usually drops at .7. So, are the Agents in danger of cancellation? Things are a lot more complicated than a simple ratings cutoff number. Last week EW.com talked with Channing Dungey, the head of the entertainment division at ABC.
When asked how they felt about the state of Marvel on ABC:
Look, we are incredibly encouraged. Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been creatively the strongest season we've had yet. The episodes just keep getting better and stronger. And that's another one for us that we moved from 9 to 10 and yet even though the HUD levels are softer at 10, the live-same-day has remained the same and that's another one of our shows which regularly goes up triple digits over the seven-day period, anywhere from 100 to 110 percent.
And when flat out asked about the a future for SHIELD on the network:
Absolutely. I'm very bullish on S.H.I.E.L.D. and we're also really excited about our production with Marvel, ABC Studios, and IMAX, which we are working on for next fall as well.
And those wondering about the mysterious John Ridley project:
Yeah, so John is working on a rewrite of that script for Marvel at the moment. We have not seen a new version of it. He's been on production of his show, over in London, and on season 3 of American Crime, so those are the things that have been top of mind for him of late. But I have heard from Marvel that he is working on a revision to that script.
Now, back to whether or not Agents of SHIELD is going to see the axe. Dungey brings up one of the factors against looking at the overnight ratings. People watch shows on DVR or on-demand now as much as the do live and a show that was once at 8 PM being moved to 10 PM, you are bound to shift more than a few viewers from over night into the Live +3 or Live +7 demographics. Networks have learned this and now factor that into their decisions. Other factors are costs of making the show, who owns it and what it means to the network. SHIELD is an ensemble cast without and really big names, so cast isn't that expensive comparatively. Effects budget can be high, but now that Ghost Rider is put away the show is cheaper. Both ABC and Marvel are owned by Disney so there is no third party taking a cut. And It keeps the Marvel Universe in play on a regular basis, something Disney wants. The films and the Netflix series are are higher profile, but they are only prominent for a couple weekends. Weekly episodes of SHIELD helps keep fans interested.
SHIELD has been running in a later time slot with no lead / real lead-in. The best thing that has happened for the show is the CW is moving Legends of Tomorrow to 9 PM on Tuesdays which might me a few more viewers flipping over to keep the comic theme going. We'll see if it helps in the coming weeks.