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FOX Renew/Cancel Watch: The Last Man On Earth Upgraded


Key
If you are a first-time reader, the numbers in parentheses may confuse you since we are the only site that uses them. The first number is the % of FOX's non-sports average that the given show is averaging, and the second number is the % of FOX's non-sports average ad rate. Why? Last season the correlation between ad rates and ratings correctly predicted the fate of lower-rated veteran series such as Bones, Castle, and Nashville. While the numbers are listed for all shows, they are most relevant for shows in their 3rd season or above with numbers that put it 'on the bubble'.

Changes from Last Time
-The Last Man On Earth (77/71) upgraded to a likely renewal.

Why Is The Last Man On Earth Now A Likely Renewal?
Being a serialized show, The Last Man On Earth has somewhat of an excuse for having just-OK retention from Family Guy. FOX seemingly has a very strong relationship with its executive producers, Lord Miller Productions, as the company has two other shows on the network right now (Son of Zorn and the upcoming Making History), and a long-term deal to keep producing shows for 20th Century Fox. There's usually only a two-tenth difference at most in its ratings on football nights vs non-football nights, and doesn't seem to be too reliant on its lead-in. For example, earlier in the season it received a 1.0 A18-49 demo rating after Family Guy's 1.7, but is still capable of pulling 0.9s after Family Guy's 1.2s. Its numbers are on par with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and ahead of New Girl.

Most importantly, now that its ratings % of FOX's average has inched up to a 77, it should be away from danger for some time. If it comes back in the spring and collapses, we may be looking at a different picture, but there are still six shows on FOX's fall schedule that are rating worse than it is, putting it just slightly below FOX's average ranking (due to Empire, its median is much higher than its mean).

What's Next?
Soon we will find out if The Exorcist defies this ad rates and ratings correlation and gives me an example of a show in its first season that overperforms expectations but still gets canceled because those expectations were alarmingly low. I'm still more confident in its chances than those of Pitch, which does have a compelling argument that the time slot is only down 1% in raw numbers year-to-year; but don't forget, that was from Sleepy Hollow, which had to move to Fridays because of low ratings. The fact that they went with a reality show called 'My Kitchen Rules' over more episodes of Pitch, combined with it slightly underperforming, tells me that the future doesn't look so bright for it.

Also coming up, I'll be keeping a close watch on Son of Zorn, which has pretty terrible retention out of The Simpsons but is also produced by Lord Miller Productions and rates well above average for FOX, even if that is boosted by some football airings. Given that it's overperforming its estimated ad rate expectation, I can easily see them bringing it back for another 13 episodes, possibly behind Family Guy.