After we analyzed which new fall shows were in ratings jeopardy, readers keep asking: What about the returning shows? Fringe? Community? House? Gossip Girl? Your wish for additional stress, granted: Here are some veteran series that returned weak in the ratings this fall and could be in danger when networks make their renewal decisions next year:
– Gossip Girl: The former crown jewel of The CW is barely outperforming Nikita — which airs on Fridays. Viewers can tweet about GG all they like, they need to watch it too. Given The CW’s lowering ratings limbo stick and importance of this show to its brand, we suspect it will squeak out a final season (especially if modestly performing newcomer Hart of Dixie is not renewed and the network has to add another show).
– Fringe: Fox brass says all the right things about Fringe: The well-written fan-favorite has improved its Friday time period, it’s the most DVR’d show on the schedule, they love the series creatively. But it’s tough for broadcast’s top-rated network to look at its lowest-rated weekday series (currently at a 1.6 adult demo rating including the first few weeks of DVR) and not at least think about making a change. You’re never 100 percent secure on a network’s bottom rung.
– The Sing Off: Once, this modest show shocked us by how well it performed during its short-run stints. But the singing competition really crapped the bed when promoted to a two-hour block on Monday nights this fall, typically ranking as the night’s lowest-rated major broadcast network show. We suspect NBC will find a use for it elsewhere in the future, but probably won’t make the mistake of relying on it so heavily during a ultra-competitive part of the year again.
– The Biggest Loser: Even just a year ago, NBC’s weight-loss competition looked unsinkable. And still is, given NBC’s overall performance. But Biggest Loooooser went from pulling mid-3s a couple seasons ago to dipping below a 2.0 in recent overnight ratings, and its name seems all-too appropriate.