As another season nears the finish line, here’s a cheat sheet for what’s hot, what’s not and how the major broadcast and cable nets stack up.
What’s working: “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Bachelor,” two shows that fare especially well among young women, have been bright spots in an otherwise lackluster season. “Black-ish” and “How to Get Away With Murder” were down in season two but still produce well, and the network also has some key 9 p.m. shows that can still be deemed successes but have clearly seen better days: “Modern Family,” “Scandal” and “Shark Tank.” Among first-year series, the already-renewed “Quantico” has fared best (giving the net its best Sunday-at-10 showing in years), while on-brand comedy “The Real O’Neals” has shown a steady pulse.
What’s not: Oddball offerings “Wicked City” and “Of Kings and Prophets” were the latest Tuesday-at-10 disasters for ABC, which is also struggling in the preceding hour with “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.” Another Tuesday series, “The Muppets,” disappointed after a predictably big opening last fall. ABC also needs to find stronger 10 p.m. shows for Monday and Wednesday, where “Castle” and “Nashville” are wasting strong lead-ins.
What’s next: Under new ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey, season four of “Mistresses” and new half-hour comedy “Uncle Buck” are the network’s only scripted summer series, with “Secrets & Lies” being held for the fall. The network’s reality-heavy summer will also include several game shows, including a second season of “500 Questions” and a revival of “To Tell the Truth.” Among next season’s hopefuls is political drama “Designated Survivor” starring Kiefer Sutherland.
Ratings: ABC, down double-digits across the board one year after being the only Big Four net up in both demos and total viewers, will finish the season in fourth place among adults 18-49 and third in total viewers. Still, it’s neck and neck with CBS for No. 1 in non-sports 18-49 averages, and is No. 1 outright among 18-49ers living in homes with $100,000-plus income.
What’s working: “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS” and “Survivor” remain among TV’s biggest hits late in their runs, and overall the network is the most solid and consistent from one night, week and month to the next. Most of the new CBS dramas fared decently enough to merit renewal consideration, with “Supergirl” the top-rated newcomer among adults 18-49. And “Life in Pieces,” airing behind “Big Bang,” gave CBS its first single-camera comedy with a pulse, lasting a full season and likely returning in the fall.
What’s not: “Rush Hour” is the net’s only new drama this season that truly struggled from the start, while comedy is in dire need of a breakout hit as “Big Bang Theory” can only go on for so long. Aside from veterans “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Blue Bloods,” CBS could use stronger shows in the 10 o’clock hour — especially as it looks for ways to boost ratings for its new latenight tandem of Colbert and Corden. And the reality genre hasn’t had any new hits since “Undercover Boss.”
What’s next: This summer will see three scripted dramas on CBS, including returnee “Zoo” and newcomers “BrainDead” (from the creators of “The Good Wife”) and murder mystery “American Gothic.” Looking ahead, the net probably doesn’t have much room for new dramas on its fall schedule, and it has some tough decisions regarding renewals on decent-but-unspectacular rookies like “Code Black” and “Limitless.” With the clock ticking on “Big Bang,” the net figures to be aggressive in comedy, with some series hopefuls fronted by Kevin James, Matt LeBlanc and Joel McHale.
Ratings: CBS relies too heavily on the older half of the 18-49 demo, but thanks to a boost from the Super Bowl and primetime’s most consistent lineup, it’s poised to finish on top for the season in adults 18-49 and 25-54 while winning for the 13th time in 14 years among total viewers.
What’s working: “Empire” isn’t as white hot as during its first season, but it is broadcast television’s top-rated entertainment series in key demos. Among new series, devilish procedural “Lucifer” is the most promising while crime show “Rosewood” has fared decently; both will be back in the fall. “Gotham,” “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy” and “MasterChef Junior” are among other programs the net can count on for decent ratings. And though “The Passion” fared modestly, Fox proved it can deliver ratings with live specials as its “Grease” musical was a smash.
What’s not: Tuesday remains a mess as Fox’s attempt to program the night with all-comedy — including rookies “Scream Queens,” “Grandfathered” and “The Grinder” — garnered tiny audiences and often left it in fifth place. Live-action comedy overall is struggling at Fox, with rookie “Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life” bombing and the once-promising “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “The Last Man on Earth” both underwhelming in their third and second seasons, respectively. The end of “American Idol” also leaves Fox without a reality staple that can draw ratings while chewing up chunks of the schedule.
What’s next: Life without “American Idol” will require some hole-plugging in the second half of the season, but Fox figures to have a mostly familiar fall schedule. The net is targeting projects with built-in awareness, including a revival of “Prison Break,” a reboot of “24” with a new cast, a new take on “The Exorcist,” a new drama from “Empire” creator Lee Daniels and live musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Summer programming includes season two of “Wayward Pines,” “So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation” and new dating show “Coupled” from Mark Burnett.
Ratings: Led by “Empire,” a short-term jolt from “The X-Files” and the final season of “American Idol,” Fox will finish nearly on par with last year’s averages, placing third in adults 18-49 and first in adults 18-34.
What’s working: “The Voice” remains television’s top-rated reality series despite declines in demos, and has been an important asset as a lead-in to numerous programs. Three of the shows it helped this season — dramas “Blindspot” and “Chicago Med” and alternative series “Little Big Shots” — have gone on to perform well and improve timeslots. Among other rookies, Jennifer Lopez drama “Shades of Blue” and office comedy “Superstore” showed some promise, while specials, including musical “The Wiz Live,” original movie “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors” and “Adele Live in NYC,” continue to deliver ratings boosts.
What’s not: NBC’s attempt at a Friday comedy hour with “Undateable” and “Truth Be Told” didn’t work, but otherwise there aren’t too many glaring weaknesses. “The Mysteries of Laura” isn’t a juggernaut Wednesdays at 8, but fared decently enough to think it might return for a third season, while Thursday at 8 remains one of the true black holes across the week for the network after “You, Me and the Apocalypse” and “Strong” disappointed.
What’s next: Reality heavyweights “America’s Got Talent” and “American Ninja Warrior” will do the heavy-lifting this summer — at least until August when the Olympic Games take over and give NBC a huge promotional platform for the fall. With the addition of “Blindspot” and “Chicago Med” (plus planned spinoff “Chicago Justice”), NBC doesn’t have a lot of room for new dramas. It also needs to continue nurturing young comedies like “The Carmichael Show” and “Superstore,” though it’s still unlikely that the net will devote more than an hour here and there to the genre.
Ratings: NBC still has an outside shot to round into a tie with CBS for a share of the season’s adults 18-49 lead, and will finish first or second in every category. In total viewers, it’s tracking for its most-watched season without help from the Super Bowl or Olympics in nine years.
What’s working: “The Flash” remains strong, often beating major networks on Tuesdays. Other Greg Berlanti superhero dramas “Arrow” and newbie “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” also fare well, while “Supernatural” remains solid in season 11 and “The 100” has done OK. Believing in the net’s product, CW topper Mark Pedowitz renewed nearly every one of its current scripted series.
What’s not: As CW has become more balanced gender-wise, its two biggest under-performers are its most femme-skewing shows: “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “Jane the Virgin.” Both will return but perhaps not as a combo on a highly watched night like Monday. The net also needs better production in the hour following “The Flash.”
What’s next: New episodes of dramas “Containment,” “Reign” and “Beauty and the Beast” will increase the CW’s summer scripted output over recent years. Fall hopefuls include “Riverdale,” a teen drama based on the Archie Comics characters, and the net is reviving former Fox late-night series “Mad TV” for primetime.
Ratings: CW is down a little from last year but is now on par with a fading Univision as the No. 5 broadcaster in 18-49 and 18-34.
What’s working: Even in its current diminished state, “Duck Dynasty” remains A&E’s most popular program, while “Bates Motel” is close behind in key demos. “Wahlburgers,” “Donnie Loves Jenny” and “The First 48” also have performed well. Down Syndrome-themed “Born This Way” has earned acclaim, solid ratings and a second-season renewal. And a bright spot this spring has been new jail-set docuseries “60 Days In.”
What’s not: The net revived former CBS crime drama “Unforgettable,” but it has been canceled after drawing soft numbers, and “Damien” has held only a fraction of its “Bates Motel” lead-in. On the unscripted front, “Lachey’s Bar,” “Storage Wars: Miami” and “American Takedown” have been ratings laggards.
What’s ahead: “Bates Motel” is wrapping after its upcoming fifth season, so the pressure is on to find a signature scripted series. Development highlights include a sketch comedy/music series from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and an anthology series from Jake Gyllenhaal about major American cult personas.
Ratings: A&E was a top-20 network for the first quarter, with an industry-average decline of about 10% from last year. In its core demo of adults 25-54, it ranked seventh among cablers.
What’s working: “The Walking Dead” remained the top-rated entertainment series on television in adults 18-49 for a fourth straight year, and the 2015 launches of “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Better Call Saul” and “Into the Badlands” stand as the three biggest bows among scripted series in cable history. “Talking Dead” and “Hell on Wheels” (heading into its final season) also continues to perform well. Overall, AMC in 2015 drew a higher 18-49 average for its original series (3.9) than any other network on television
What’s not: “Turn” and (especially) “Halt and Catch Fire” are modest performers, but return with new seasons this year. And espionage limited series “The Night Manager” is off to a slow start.
What’s ahead: AMC has added a fourth night of originals (Tuesdays) this spring, with “Night Manager” warming up the slot for restaurant-set drama “Feed the Beast.” Still to come is “Preacher,” based on the popular comic book franchise. Projects in the works include Sam Neill drama “The Son,” Kevin Smith-Greg Grunberg late-night talkshow “Geeking Out” and anthology series “The Terror.”
Ratings: Despite double-digit declines from last year, AMC is a top-five cable network in both 18-49 and 25-54.
What’s working: “Being Mary Jane” remains BET’s top program, while other successes include Kevin Hart’s scripted mockumentary “Real Husbands of Hollywood” and reality series “Keyshia Cole: All In” and “It’s a Mann’s World.” And the recent addition of Kelly Rowland’s girl-group reality series “Chasing Destiny” has done fairly well.
What’s not: “The Westbrooks,” “Desean Jackson: Home Team” and docuseries “About the Business” have been among BET’s lesser-performing series.
What’s ahead: Upcoming scripted originals include anthology series “Tales”; Anika Noni Rose and Ruben Santiago-Hudson in “The Yard,” a drama about the world of black colleges and universities; dramedy “Benched”; police drama “Rebel”; and “Comedy Getdown,” a behind-the-scenes look at a stand-up comedy tour. Unscripted series include “Music Moguls,” “Gary Owen Family,” “Joyful Noise” and lyrical competition “One Shot.” And in longform, there’s “New Edition: The Movie,” about the 1980s boy band, and Nelson Mandela story “Madiba,” with Laurence Fishburne.
Ratings: The loss of “The Game” contributed to year-over-year losses of more than 25% in most categories for the first quarter of 2016. It ranked 30th among cable networks in adults 18-49.
What’s working: The “Real Housewives” franchise remains hot, with a new entry set in Potomac, Md., a ratings winner alongside those in Atlanta, Beverly Hills and Orange County. “Vanderpump Rules,” “Below Deck,” “Top Chef,” “Shahs of Sunset” and late-night talkshow “Watch What Happens Live” are other successes. Though not a big hit, Bravo’s first scripted series, “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” has done well enough to earn a big three-season renewal.
What’s not: Not every “Real Housewives” has worked, as the Melbourne edition failed to resonate with viewers. Other lesser-rated shows on the network have included “My Fab 40th,” “Best New Restaurant,” “Million Dollar Listing: San Francisco” and “Mother Funders.”
What’s ahead: Comedy “Odd Mom Out” will return for a second season this summer, and tour-guide docuseries “Tour Group” is getting relaunched. Bravo has also given the go-ahead to scripted hourlong dark comedy “My So Called Wife,” starring Inbar Lavi as a master-of-disguise con artist.
Ratings: During the first quarter, Bravo cracked the top 10 in adults 18-49 and 25-54, posting minimal declines while many of its rivals were down by double-digits.
What’s working: The network remains strong in boy demos, with “We Bare Bears” a nice addition to a lineup that also includes “Steven Universe” and “Uncle Grandpa,” both of which have been renewed for fifth seasons. “Regular Show,” “Amazing World of Gumball” and “Teen Titans Go!” are among its other strong shows, while a re-imagined version of “The Powerpuff Girls” has brought more girls to the network.
What’s not: “Adventure Time,” “Pokemon the Series” and “Be Cool Scooby” have cooled, while “Transformers: Robots in Disguise” never gained much traction.
What’s ahead: “Justice League Action,” based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name, is on tap for this fall, and a new version of the popular “Ben 10” series, which debuted in 2006, is set for 2017. The network also continues to think outside the television box, using its artist incubator Cartoon Network Studios to launch original mobile games.
Ratings: In 2015, Cartoon Network was home to seven of the top 10 animated shows on television among boys 6-11 and 9-14. And among cable networks for the first quarter of this year, it ranked third on a total-programming basis in key kids 2-11 and 6-11 demos and ninth overall.
What’s working: Top shows “Tosh.0,” “Drunk History,” “Broad City,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” “South Park” and “Workaholics” have all been renewed. Both “Key & Peele” and “Kroll Show” had strong final seasons.
What’s not: “Daily Show With Trevor Noah” and “Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore” haven’t been able to approach the ratings of former late-night hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, though the network continues to tout their viewing numbers on non-traditional platforms. Animated series “Moonbeam City” fizzled, as the net continues to have a hard time finding a companion for “South Park.”
What’s ahead: Comedy Central has ordered a pair of programs from Kevin Hart: “Hart of the City,” in which he explores local comedy scenes in various cities, and an untitled-standup series, as well as “Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle,” a new competition comedy special in which comedians go head to head. The network is also working on a broad slate of short-form programs designed for Snapchat.
Ratings: In primetime for the first quarter, Comedy Central ranked 20th among cable networks in adults 18-49, down about 15% from last year.
What’s working: Discovery, the No. 1 cable reality network for men, is led by veterans like “Gold Rush,” “Fast N’ Loud” and “Alaskan Bush People” as well as newcomers like “Diesel Brothers” and “Street Outlaws: New Orleans.” Other hits include the “Naked and Afraid” franchise, “Deadliest Catch,” “Moonshiners” and “Bering Sea Gold.”
What’s not: Lower-rated shows include “Rusted Development,” “Survivorman: Bigfoot and “Airplane Repo.”
What’s ahead: Discovery will dip its toe into scripted waters with “Manifesto,” a drama that tells how the FBI brought down the world’s most infamous criminal masterminds, and miniseries “Harley and the Davidsons,” about Milwaukee schoolmates who built (and rode) the machines that rule the world. On the unscripted front are space-themed documentary series “Cooper’s Treasure” and “Deadliest Catch” spinoff “Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove.” Documentary series include “Sonic Sea,” “Toucan Nation” and “Drought,” about the water crisis in the West.
Ratings: Down slightly from last year, Discovery was a top-5 cabler in adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and total viewers in the first quarter. It was the No. 1 non-sports cable net in men 25-54, claiming eight of the top 10 reality shows.
What’s working: “Gravity Falls” was a big hit (its finale set all-time network records), so its absence is clearly felt. Fortunately, other shows like “Star Wars Rebels” and “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” remain potent. Also, the “Lab Rats” franchise gives it a strong presence on the live-action front.
What’s not: “Gaming Show,” “Pickle and Peanut,” “Kirby Buckets” and “Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything” have been ratings laggards for the net.
What’s ahead: Disney XD has greenlit two original animated series: “Billy Dilley’s Super-Duper Subterranean Summer” and “Country Club,” and has also ordered a third season of “Star vs. the Forces of Evil” and season two of “Two More Eggs.” This summer will see the debut of “Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures,” an adventure comedy series featuring many familiar Star Wars characters, and this fall, Al Yankovic will voice the title role in new series “Milo Murphy’s Law.”
Ratings: Coming off a near record-setting 2015, Disney XD was down in the first quarter of this year by about 15% from last year, finishing in the middle of the basic cable pack. In its targeted demos, it ranked No. 4 among kids 9-14 and No. 3 among the 6-11 crowd.
What’s working: “Pretty Little Liars” has lost steam but remains potent, while “The Fosters” and “Switched at Birth” rate solidly, and new drama “Shadowhunters” did well enough to earn a renewal. Comedies “Baby Daddy” and “Young & Hungry” are modest but steady performers and allow the network to stay in the comedy game.
What’s not: Unscripted series have largely failed to register with audiences, including “Monica the Medium,” transgender-themed “Becoming Us” and “Next Step Realty: NYC.” On the scripted side, cancer-themed drama “Chasing Life” was canceled after two seasons, and “Kevin From Work,” a somewhat edgy single-cam romantic comedy, only lasted one.
What’s ahead: This summer’s slate will include new dramas “Dead of Summer” (from the “Once Upon a Time” creators) and soapy mystery “Guilt” along with cheerleading docuseries “Cheer Squad.” Projects down the road include “Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger” and weekly late-night variety series “Alice,” while a spinoff of “Young & Hungry,” starring Ashley Tisdale, is in development.
Ratings: In its first quarter as Freeform, the network slid about 20% from last year, among the top 15 cablers in adults 18-49 but still No. 2 in women 18-34.
What’s working: “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” set FX ratings records, while “American Horror Story” remains the network’s highest-rated show (among TV’s top 10 dramas of 2015 in 18-49). “Fargo” is coming off a solid second season, while “The Strain” and “Archer” have produced.
What’s not: Kurt Sutter’s “Sons of Anarchy” follow-up, “Bastard Executioner,” was axed after a season. Zach Galifianakis-fronted “Baskets” and “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” with Denis Leary are modest comedy performers but were renewed. And in drama, “Tyrant” and “The Americans” skew older but score decently in total viewers.
What’s ahead: Tom Hardy and Franka Potente will star in the FX/BBC period drama “Taboo,” and Simon Beaufoy is behind 10-part limited series “Trust,” about the Getty family. Pilots include an animated comedy from Louis C.K. and Albert Brooks; “Snowfall,” a 1980s cocaine-epidemic drama from John Singleton; “Happy City,” a half-hour project from comedy group Extremely Decent; and Marvel’s “Legion.”
Ratings: FX is off to a strong start in 2016, finishing sixth among cable networks in 18-49 and 12th in total viewers for the first quarter.
What’s working: The network has done a good job attracting younger viewers by increasing its output of originals, including its first Winterfest programming event in January. On the series front, “When Calls the Heart” hit a series high as it capped its third season, while “Good Witch” is off to a strong start in its second season. “Home & Family,” in originals all year, continues to deliver solid numbers in the morning.
What’s not: “Cedar Cove” cooled off in its third year and was cancelled. And at least in the early going, repeats of “Last Man Standing” haven’t generated much heat in primetime.
What’s ahead: The network continues its themed movie events with the ongoing “Tulips in Spring,” which premieres on May 14. Multi-generational original drama “Chesapeake Shores,” whose cast includes Jesse Metcalfe, Treat Williams and Diane Ladd, will bow this summer. And Hallmark Channel has agreed to become the producer and network home of the long-running Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise, which aired for decades on broadcast television.
Ratings: Hallmark was up slightly in total viewers for the first quarter but shot up by more than 15% in both adults 18-49 and 25-54, ranking 36th and 31st, respectively, among all cable networks.
What’s working: History’s first scripted series, “Vikings,” continues to do well, ranking especially high in key male demos. Other hits for the network include reality shows “The Curse of Oak Island,” “Swamp People,” “Pawn Stars,” “Alone” and “Counting Cars.”
What’s not: Scripted miniseries “War and Peace” didn’t do much earlier this year, while late-night panel show “Join or Die With Craig Ferguson” has delivered soft ratings. In reality, “Engineering Disasters,” “Pirate Treasures of Knight,” “True Monsters” and “The Universe” are among the stragglers at the network.
What’s ahead: History’s push in the scripted arena continues with the eight-hour miniseries “Roots,” bowing on Memorial Day, and the 10-episode historical drama “Knightfall,” executive produced by Jeremy Renner and set for later this year. Also in the works is the scripted military drama “Six,” the story of the elite Navy SEAL team responsible for the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Ratings: History fell off during the first quarter of the year by about 20% across the board, ranking No. 11 among cable networks in total viewers. There aren’t too many networks faring better than it, though, in its target 25-54 demo, where it ranked fifth.
What’s working: The streamer, which offers both an ad-supported plan and a pricier options sans ads, has made a big push into original content. Hulu swooped in to rescue “The Mindy Project” after Fox canceled the comedy last season and launched buzzed about new series “Casual” (which scored a Golden Globe nom), “Difficult People” and cult drama “The Path.” A strong library of acquired series includes “Empire,” “Seinfeld,” “Blindspot,” “Lucifer,” “Fargo,” “The Strain” and “Fear the Walking Dead.”
What’s not: Hulu made a big-bucks purchase of “CSI” rerun rights last year but the veteran CBS procedural does not rank high on Hulu’s list of most popular titles.
What’s ahead: Bizzers took notice in January when Hulu made a two-season commitment to “Chance,” a thriller starring Hugh Laurie as a neuropsychiatrist who gets sucked into a dangerous world. Also ordered to series is “Shut Eye,” a drama about psychics in Los Angeles starring Jeffrey Donovan and KaDee Strickland.
Ratings: Hulu, like other SVOD players, does not release viewership stats. The service did not rank among ComScore’s top 50 U.S. digital media properties for the first quarter of this year.
What’s working: ION’s strategy of tripling up on one series in primetime has helped attract a loyal audience and one that’s more likely to stick with the network through the course of a night and also watch live. Its most popular off-net dramas include “Blue Bloods,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Criminal Minds.” An increase in original holiday-themed movies, including several for Valentine’s Day, has produced ratings spikes. And though they typically air outside primetime, “Saving Hope” and long-running Canadian dramas “The Listener” and “Rookie Blue” still draw viewers.
What’s not: “Leverage” and “Numbers” are among the least-watched current ION offerings.
What’s ahead: The network has ordered a fifth season of “Saving Hope,” which will begin airing later this year. It also plans multiple holiday-themed movies after its “Wicked Week” of Halloween films and “Share the Joy” slate of Christmas-themed movies scored with audiences in 2015.
Ratings: Bucking the general trend, ION is up vs. last year in both total viewers as well as adults 18-49. ION says roughly half of its viewers watch 10 or more hours weekly, ranking in the top five cable entertainment nets for that stat.
What’s working: “Project Runway” continues as the network’s top-rated program. Other hits include “Devious Maids” and unscripted series “Bring It,” “Dance Moms” and the “Little Women” franchise. Also, Lifetime can still grab large audiences with a high-profile original movie, including recent Toni Braxton biopic “Unbreak My Heart.”
What’s not: “The Jacksons: Next Generation,” a docuseries chronicling Tito Jackson’s sons, disappointed in the ratings, while other under-performers have included “Hoarders: Family Secrets” and dance show “Step It Up.” Scripted drama “UnReal” is a modest performer but has brought some critical acclaim to the network.
What’s ahead: Scripted development includes a drama inspired by the life of Selena Gomez; the satirical “Deadline” about an aspiring journalist; and “None of the Above,” about a homecoming queen who discovers she is intersex. Original movies include James Franco’s remake of cult classic “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger”; and Craig Zadan-Neil Meron’s look at the Flint, Mich., water contamination.
Ratings: Lifetime held up better than the typical cable network in the first quarter, down about 5% vs. 2015. It ranked fifth among cablers in women 18-49.
What’s working: MTV continues to be paced by veteran unscripted franchises “Teen Mom” (one of the top 15 shows on TV last year in women 18-34), “Catfish” and “Real World.” New drama “The Shannara Chronicles” has been renewed after a promising first season, while “Teen Wolf” continues to rate solidly.
What’s not: Animated series “Greatest Party Story Ever,” docuseries “Todrick” and “Broke A$$ Game Show” are among MTV’s ratings laggards. And on the scripted front, “Eye Candy” was canceled after a sluggish first season and “Awkward” is coming to an end after five seasons, while “Faking It” and “Scream” aren’t doing that great, but will continue.
What’s ahead: New MTV president Sean Atkins is making a push to renew the network’s focus on music and youth culture, with a slate of series that includes weekly musical/comedy series “Wonderland”; a new music competition series from Mark Burnett; and a re-imagined “MTV Unplugged.”
Ratings: MTV had a bounce-back start to 2016, up between 10% and 15% vs. last year in all categories in the first quarter. Among all cable networks, it ranked No. 16 in adults 18-49 and No. 3 in women 18-34.
What’s working: Musical comedy series “School of Rock” has done well and been renewed for a second season. Other successes coming back include top shows “The Thundermans,” “Game Shakers” and “Henry Danger” and reality competition “Soccer Superstar.” And let this soak in: “SpongeBob SquarePants” has been been picked up for two more seasons.
What’s not: “Sanjay and Craig” has fallen off, while “Harvey Beaks” and “Pig Goat Banana Cricket” haven’t been world-beaters, but were renewed.
What’s ahead: Among new live-action series are sports-themed “Jagger Eaton’s Mega Life” (about the teen skateboarder ace) and “Crashletes,” a viral sports clip series hosted by NFL star Rob Gronkowski, and animated newbies include “The Loud House,” “Bunsen Is a Beast” and “Mysticons.” Nick is planning action-adventure telepic “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” inspired by its ’90s gameshow. “Albert,” about a tiny Douglas fir tree at Christmas time, will be Nick’s first original animated TV movie.
Ratings: Despite a recent downward trajectory, Nickelodeon still ranked No. 1 among all networks on a total-day basis in kids 2-11 for the first quarter of the year. It ranked second behind Disney Channel in other key kids demos.
What’s working: “Bad Girls Club” remains Oxygen’s most popular program, and other successes include uplifting docuseries “Prancing Elites Project” and the “Snapped” and “Preacher” franchises. Among 2016 premieres, “Preachers of Atlanta” and social-media crime series “Killerpost” look the best.
What’s not: Female-comic docuseries “Funny Girls,” “Rich in Faith” (about Kanye West’s pastor friend Rich Wilkerson Jr.) and female football player series “Pretty Strong” were among Oxygen’s lower-rated shows of the past year. And among its recent debuts, Nick Cannon’s “Like a Boss” has struggled, and comic series “Living With Funny” is off to a sluggish start as well.
What’s ahead: Online-romance reality show “Virtually in Love” and docuseries “Douglas Family Gold,” following gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas and her support system, are set for late May bows and will run into summer.
Ratings: In the first quarter, Oxygen was down a bit from last year, ranking No. 51 in 18-49 and just outside the top 40 in female demos. Aside from its true-crime programs, many of the network’s shows target a very young-adult audience whose online-heavy viewership doesn’t translate to the Nielsen numbers.
What’s working: “Lip Sync Battle,” the network’s top-rated program, has become a pop-culture dynamo, while other hits include “Bar Rescue” and the enduring “Cops” franchise. “Ink Master” is the network’s No. 2-rated show, with Spike ordering a ninth season in advance of this summer’s season eight.
What’s not: Spike’s miniseries “Tut” underwhelmed in the ratings and didn’t bring as many younger viewers as the net had hoped, while Jillian Michaels’ fitness series “Sweat Inc.” didn’t do much. And the “Glory” kickboxing events will no longer air on the network due to low ratings.
What’s ahead: Spike is casting a wide net in original series, ordering drama “The Mist,” based on the classic Stephen King novella, as well as music-based gameshow “Tracks.” Next year will also see Spike teaming with the producers of “Talking Dead” for comedy show “Adam Carolla Builds Stuff Live,” and it’s planning science fiction drama “Red,” though production has been delayed due to script and showrunner changes.
Ratings: Spike held up better than most cablers in the first quarter of 2016, virtually even with a year ago. It ranked No. 24 on cable in total viewers and cracked the top 20 in key demos by moving ahead of TLC and Freeform.
What’s working: “The Big Bang Theory” repeats remain the driving force for the network, which also generates pretty good ratings for originals of “American Dad” and solid-enough numbers for the already-renewed vacation comedy “The Detour.”
What’s not: TBS’ top three original primetime series of 2015 — “Ground Floor,” “Cougar Town” and “King of the Nerds” — have all been canceled, so it’s been a time of transition. Cop show parody “Angie Tribeca” generated sluggish ratings in its January premiere, but has been renewed, and “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” has been modestly rated but has been extended through 2016. Late night’s “Conan,” meanwhile, is down about 20% so far this year.
What’s ahead: This summer, TBS will debut ensemble comedy “Wrecked,” about a group of strangers on a deserted island following a plane crash. And the network has given series pickups to mystery comedy “Search Party” and “People of Earth,” about a support group for alien abductees, from Conan O’Brien and Greg Daniels.
Ratings: For the first quarter, TBS ranked No. 4 among cable networks in total viewers and No. 1 in both adults 18-49 and 25-54 — down about 10% from 2015.
What’s working: Top show “19 Kids and Counting” is gone, but TLC still has plenty of proven unscripted hits including “Sister Wives,” “The Little Couple,” “90-Day Fiance,” “Return to Amish” and “Long Island Medium.” Among recent additions, “Long Lost Family” has been a hit for the network.
What’s not: “Dare to Wear,” “Suddenly Royal” and “Coach Charming” are among the under-performers for the network. “Cake Boss” has faded but will be back for an eighth season.
What’s ahead: TLC, which has had to endure the cancellation of two popular reality franchises (“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and “19 Kids and Counting”), is introducing two new families in “Outdaughtered” (the Busby family of all-female quintuplets) and “Meet the Putnams” (with 25 family members living under one roof). It’s also hopping aboard the scripted-series train with Tyler Perry drama “Too Close to Home,” about a young woman who finds herself at the center of a political scandal in D.C. that forces her back home.
Ratings: After falling nearly 15% in 2015, TLC slid by about the same amount in key demos for the first quarter of the year. It ranked No. 24 among cable network in adults 18-49 and No. 19 in adults 25-54.
What’s working: As TNT transitions to programming that’s a bit more daring and cutting-edge, it does so with the knowledge that it has enough solid pieces to keep it afloat. Core series like “The Last Ship,” “Rizzoli & Isles” and “The Librarians” continue to score well — even if the net did lose one of its top-rated shows in “Falling Skies,” which wrapped last summer.
What’s not: FBI drama “Legends” was canceled after a low-rated second season, and “Public Morals” and Sharon Stone starrer “Agent X” were axed after disappointing first seasons.
What’s ahead: This year’s new dramas include “Animal Kingdom,” starring Ellen Barkin, and seductive thriller “Good Behavior,” with Michelle Dockery. Also in the works is an adaptation of “The Alienist” and anthology series “Tales From the Crypt” as part of a horror block curated by M. Night Shyamalan that will bow in 2017. Hourlong scripted dramedy “Claws,” set in a Southern Florida nail salon, was ordered to pilot.
Ratings: In the first quarter of 2016, TNT was down about 10% across the board, but remained among the cable giants. It ranked ninth among cablers in total viewers, seventh in adults 18-49 and moved up to No. 3 in adults 25-54.
What’s working: “Suits” is the network’s top-rated scripted series, while “Colony” and the acclaimed “Mr. Robot” are young dramas with potential. The combo of “WWE Raw” on Monday and “WWE Smackdown” on Thursday produces strong ratings all year, while reality series “Chrisley Knows Best” has been an unsung hero for the network.
What’s not: Dramas “Satisfaction,” “Graceland” and “Complications” were canceled after low-rated seasons, and Donny Deutsch comedy “Donny!” generated little heat during its run. Comedy “Playing House” isn’t a big draw but has secured a third season.
What’s ahead: Summer will include new drama “Queen of the South” (based on a novel that yielded hit “La Reina Del Sur” for Telemundo), returning dramas like “Royal Pains” and “Mr. Robot” and new competition series “First Impressions,” featuring Dana Carvey. Down the road are Ryan Phillippe in “Shooter” (based on the movie starring Mark Wahlberg); supernatural thriller “Falling Water,” set in the world of dreams and subconsciousness; and “Eyewitness,” based on a Norwegian crime drama.
Ratings: In the first quarter, USA was down about 5%, ranking second among all cable networks in adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and total viewers.