On the heels of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s modest yet still meaningful uptick this week in the ratings, Marvel TV chief Jeph Loeb remains bullish on the ABC series’ prospects for Season 5.
“We’re hopeful” for renewal, Loeb shared with TVLine as he arrived at Freeform’s Upfront presentation on Wednesday afternoon, where Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger and Marvel’s New Warriors were among the new live-action fare being touted.
Going into its April 18 broadcast, S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 has been averaging 2.4 million total weekly viewers and a 0.8 demo rating in Live+Same Day numbers. In the demo, the Marvel series outranks five other ABC dramas, while also enjoying a 113 percent bump with DVR playback — second only to the network’s sure-to-be-renewed Designated Survivor and fellow bubble show Quantico (both of which see 129 percent gains).
In total audience, however, only DOA Time After Time and the critically lauded American Crime draw tinier crowds.
Thus far for the 2017-18 TV season, ABC has only renewed Shondaland’s Grey’s Anatomy/Scandal/How to Get Away With Murder trifecta, plus The Middle on the comedy side. Last spring, the Alphabet network cut a total of eight in-season dramas (including Nashville and Marvel’s Agent Carter).
S.H.I.E.L.D. opened Season 4 with 3.4 million total viewers and a 1.1 rating, but as recently as mid-February — during the climax of its LMD arc — it hit series lows, drawing just 2 million total viewers and a 0.6 rating. The new Framework/”Agents of Hydra” pod, though, has not only brought on a creative spark (as the heroes contend with a topsy-turvy reality) but also nudged the numbers up to 2.43 mil and 0.8 with this week’s episode, marking the show’s (faint praise alert?) best numbers since its Jan. 10 winter premiere. But is that (literally) too little, too late?
In TVLine’s recent series of Keep or Cut? polls, S.H.I.E.L.D. drew the strongest positive response of three ABC bubble dramas, with 90 percent voting to “Keep” (versus reset-bound Once Upon a Time‘s 76 percent and Quantico‘s 63 percent).
Having been reminded of how great S.H.I.E.L.D. can be when it’s good, how are you now leaning toward the possibility of renewal? With the eight-episode Marvel’s Inhuman set for a September launch, should ABC at least allow S.H.I.E.L.D. a shortened farewell run? (With reporting by Andy Swift)