Advertised by its own network as "Glee meets The Fault In Our Stars," FOX's new hospital dramedy Red Band Society is indeed emulating that once-popular musical show in one aspect... although probably not the particular aspect network execs were hoping for. Glee dipped to a series-low rating in its Season 5 finale, with a scant 1.87 million viewers and an anemic 0.6 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic. (Thankfully it had already been renewed for a sixth and final season.) Red Band Society is near being canceled as it isn't doing much better... and that's not good news for a show that's only three episodes into its run.
The most recent episode of RBS attracted an audience of 3.33 million viewers, pulling a 1.1 rating. That put it at fourth place in its timeslot, behind Modern Family (ABC), Criminal Minds (CBS), and Law & Order: SVU (NBC) — and ahead of only a rerun of Arrow on The CW. Fortunately, when it comes to which shows get renewed and which get cancelled, they only really have to compete with other shows on their own network. CBS is the highest viewed network on television, so it's not really a surprise that the well-established Criminal Minds gets more viewers than the brand-new RBS.
So how does RBS stack up against its in-house competition? Not well, I'm afraid. The only new show doing worse than it at the moment is Mulaney, which absolutely flopped out of the gate with its premiere last Sunday, only drawing an embarrassing 2.3 million viewers and a 1.0 rating. FOX's other two new shows this fall, Gotham and Gracepoint, are both faring better than RBS, which doesn't bode well.
Occasionally networks will give struggling shows more of a chance if they're produced by their own affiliated production company. However, despite airing on FOX, Red Band Society is an ABC Studios production, which gives FOX little incentive towards going out on a limb to save the show. The final nail in the coffin? Ratings tracker site TVByTheNumbers keeps a Renew/Cancel Index of every network show, which has proven quite accurate over the years. Throughout the season, they rank each show on a scale from "Certain To Be Renewed" to "Certain To Be Cancelled" and everything in between. Where is RBS at the moment? Teetering precariously on "More Likely To Be Cancelled Than Renewed." (Hey, at least it's not "Certain" yet!)
If RBS fans can take solace in anything, it's in the show's DVR gains. The Live+3 ratings are the numbers that factor in how many viewers watch a show via DVR up to three days after it aired live. Out of every single show on network television last week, guess which show had the highest percentage increase of viewers when Live+3 was tallied? That's right: Red Band Society , with a whopping 64 percent increase. (FOX also had the second-highest increase: Gotham, with 56 percent.) After delayed viewing was factored in, RBS's ratings rose to 1.8 — still not great, but better.
Sadly, while Live+3 ratings are interesting information, they don't have much bearing on renewal or cancellation, due to the simple fact that most people fast-forward through commercials while watching on a DVR. So while there's a chance RBS's impressive Live+3 gains might convince FOX to at least give it a full first season, there's almost no way the show will return next year. It would take a miracle the likes of which comatose Charlie is waiting for.
Images: Annette Brown/FOX (3)