Surprise: AMC Renews “Halt and Catch Fire”

new-halt-and-catch-fire-trailer__twocolumncontentFolks, we have what may be the most surprising renewal of the season.  Earlier today, AMC announced the renewal of low-rated Halt and Catch Fire.

In its ten episode season, Half and Catch Fire averaged 800,000 viewers and 0.3 A18-49 demo.  While that may not look horrible, the show debuted to 1.19 million viewers and 0.3 demo, before collapsing to 574,000 viewers and 0.2 demo for its season finale.  That is the lowest performance for an episode of an AMC original drama in the networks history (since Mad Men premiered in 2007).   Yes, lower than Low Winter Sun and Rubicon, both of which last one season.

AMC says the renewal is based on a committed core audience and critical acclaim.  In addition, Halt and Catch Fire is one of the most upscale dramas on television in the A25-54 demographic (behind Mad MenThe Good Wife, and Parenthood, respectively).

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Showtime Renews “Masters of Sex” and “Ray Donovan”

masters-ofsex-and-ray-donovanShowtime has announced the renewals of Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan.  Both will return for a third season next summer.

Despite losing its Dexter lead in, Ray Donovan has held up surprisingly well in its second season.  Through six episodes, the drama is averaging 1.36 million viewers and 0.5 A18-49, down only 6% among total viewers and 10% in the demo from a comparable point last season.  Twelve episodes have been ordered.

Also getting a renewal from Showtime is Masters of Sex.  Similar to Ray DonovanMasters of Sex lost its solid lead in (Homeland) this season.  Six episodes into its second season, Masters of Sex is averaging 810,000 viewers and 0.3 A18-49.  Masters of Sex is down 20% among total viewers and 25% in the A18-49 demo compared to the first six episodes last season.  Twelve episodes have been ordered.

Three Series Renewed

It’s been a busy day, with three different networks renewing three series.

rectifyUp first is SundanceTV’s first original series, Rectify.  Now in its second season, the critically acclaimed drama has been renewed for a third season and will consist of 6 episodes.  That total is down 4 episodes from this past season, but in line with season one.  Per Entertainment Weekly, the first to report the renewal, Rectify is averaging an okay 287,000 viewers in its current season.  The new season is expected to debut sometime in 2015.

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FX has renewed its latest hit drama, The Strain, for second season.  Currently in its first season, The Strain is averaging 2.33 million viewers and 1.1 A18-49 demo in its first six episodes.  FX notes The Strain is the most watched series premiere in network history, with 12.7 million viewers (across all platforms, of course).  The 13 episodes second season will return next summer.  If you’re not yet watching The Strain, I recommend you catch up.  While the series may have started a bit slow, the last three episodes have been quite good, and scary.  I consider The Strain to now be one of my favorite series on cable.

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Finally, MTV has renewed drama Finding Carter.  The series, now in its first season, has averaged 1.25 million viewers and 0.5 A18-49 demo through its first seven episodes.  Finding Carter is the number one new cable series among 12-34 year olds and teens, the key demographics for MTV.  The second season of Finding Carter will consist of 12 episodes and debut in 2015.  TVLine was the first to report the news of its renewal.

Two Series Renewed, One Cancelled

Earlier today, ABC Family cancelled one series while renewing another, and HBO renewed a freshmen drama.

SwitchedAtBirthIntertitleSwitched at Birth, which is currently in its third season, has been renewed for a fourth.  Through nine episodes this summer (11 aired during the regular season) Switched at Birth has averaged 1.42 million viewers.  Once its third season is finished airing, this coming Monday, 71 episodes will have aired.  No word yet on how many episodes have been announced for the fourth season.

In addition to renewing Switched at Birth, ABC Family has cancelled Twisted.  The series aired for one season, consisting of 19 episodes.  During its sole season, Twisted averaged 1.31 million viewers.  That number may look solid, but the show lost viewers as the season progressed.  It began with 1.61 million viewers (for its official premiere, not special preview) and finished with a mere 770,000 viewers.  The season finale figure is one of the lowest, if not the lowest, for a drama on ABC Family in recent memory.

No word yet on the fate of The FostersMystery Girls, or Young & Hungry.  Freshmen drama Chasing Life was given an additional ten episode order before its premiere, and Pretty Little Liars was renewed for two seasons in June.

The-LeftoversFinally, HBO has announced the renewal of The Leftovers.  Reviews have been fairly mixed since its debut, but the ratings are quite good.  In its first seven episodes, The Leftovers is amassing a solid 1.57 million viewers per episode.  Like the renewal for Switched at Birth above, no episode order for season two of The Leftovers has yet been announced.

“Suits” Scores Renewal

suitsNow USA’s number one original series, Suits scored an expected pickup for season five Monday afternoon.

Through the first eight episodes in season four, Suits is averaging 2.59 million viewers and 0.8 A18-49 demo.  Compared to the first eight episodes last season, Suits is down slightly in total viewers (vs. 2.89 million viewers) and in the A18-49 demographic (vs. 1.0).  Last season; however, Suits aired on Tuesday nights and began in mid-July.  It now airs on Wednesdays and premiered in early June.

Even though ratings have slipped this season, Suits is the number one original on USA.  In addition, the two most recent debuts on USA, Rush and Satisfaction, failed to impress.  They are currently averaging 0.5 and 0.4 A18-49 demos, respectively.

The fifth season of Suits will premiere next summer.  It has been given a pickup of 16 episodes.