‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Ratings Continue To Drop

Published 1 year ago by

Agents of SHIELD Ratings Dropping Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Continue To Drop

Agent Phil Coulson’s vintage Corvette may be soaring ever upward, but the ratings for ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are continuing a slow decline. After debuting with some of the highest ratings in recent history for the network, the show managed to pull in 7.1 million viewers during Episode 5, “Girl in the Flower Dress” – with a 2.6 rating among the key 18-49 demographic, down from the previous week’s 2.8.

Those numbers are still a far cry from trouble on their own, but as Marvel’s first venture onto network television continues to slip in both viewers and demographics, the trend could become problematic. Fast.

To reiterate: being able to pull in 7.1 million viewers without a lead-in on a Tuesday night is nothing to scoff at (and clearly, enough to warrant a full-season order). But while the 34% drop in viewers from the series premiere to its second episode was somewhat expected, the fact that AoS can’t seem to hold steady in its fifth week is a sign that it may be charting troubled waters.

A rocky start is to be expected (even if Disney’s marketing and promotion for the show was hoping to smooth things over), but by this point in the season, most procedural dramas tend to have hit their pace both in structure and audience. And while we would argue that Episode 5 seemed to cement the formula AoS will be following, the show continues to bleed viewers in demographics they need to retain.

One of the luxuries afforded the studio by bringing their shared movie universe to TV (with a fan-favorite character leading the charge) was the existing fan base: a healthy viewership who would give the show more time than most out of a simple desire to see how the S.H.I.E.L.D. fiction would be expanded (and which comic book characters might appear). That assumption may or may not be accurate, but if loyalty is helping boost ratings, that enthusiasm seems to be waning.

agents of shield episode 3 asset coulson Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Continue To Drop

So although the downward trend may not be drastic enough to panic ABC execs, it is also certainly not the kind of foundation Marvel was hoping to launch 4 new TV shows on top of. Details on those projects haven’t been released, but if AoS‘s ratings don’t bounce back soon, those plans might need to change.

Of course, lapsed viewers might be brought back into the mix if the show’s writers decide to counter fan criticism by letting the cat out of the bag concerning Coulson’s resurrection, or simply addressing our most nagging issues with the series. Even if that’s the case, it will still take time for viewer feedback to be implemented. Where the ratings sit at that point remains to be seen.

What do you make of the slipping ratings? Does this come as no surprise, or do you think a rebound is coming soon? Sound off in the comments.


Catch Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. every Tuesday @8pm EST on ABC.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: EW

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. This show is okay, but each week, I wonder should I still watch it. It needs a lot of work. Here are four suggestions I think could make it better:

    1) I believe I read on Screenrant or another web site, that Samuel L. Jackson suggested to Joss Whendon, that they could have him on the show, a la “Charlie” like “Charlie’s Angels”, in which he gives orders over the phone and they carry it out. If Sam Jackson, wants to be on the show somehow (other than the cameo in episode two), someway Joss, you make it happen!!!

    2) Get Cobie Smulders on this show ASAP! With HIMYM now wrapping up, it would make sense to add another solider on the team. Come on Joss, get with it and bring her on the show, other than a cameo.

    3) As others have mention, time to start adding more heroes and villains from the MCU. A perfect start for heroes, would be Heroes for Hire (personally I would still like to see a film version of this) with Powerman and Iron Fist.

    4) This suggestion, I grabbed from the comment above from @Mark Puryear, he took the words right out of my mouth for this one:

    “It seems their trying too hard to stay away from the movies. The reason why people are watching it is because we want to know whats going on the MCU between the films. It would be nice to start alluding to The Dark World, and The Winter Soldier.”

    I believe if they add these four things, it could definitely turn around the show. What do you folks think?

    • Great points!!!

    • FTW

    • All of those suggestions sound like good ideas, but that would require money which I am not sure they really want to shell out on this project.

      • I see your point Slayer, but I think point #3 with Powerman and Iron Fist could cost some money. Both Sam Jackson and Smulders want to be on the show, so I do not think they would overcharge for their services (at least I would hope not :=)). Just the cast mentioning what is going with Thor, Cap, Iron Man and others in the MCU would not cost them anything.

        • how bout the background music turned down a few notches??

  2. So I saw episode 5 (it finished an hour ago) and yeah, for the 5th week in a row, nothing happened and there was zero excitement or interest.

    I’m done with this show.

    • Bye then.

      • See ya.

        *waves goodbye*

        • Just try and keep an eye on it. Whedon shows often start poorly only to improve greatly later on. It took 5 or 6 episodes for Dollhouse and 2 whole seasons for Buffy, yet Buffy progressed to the point of becoming one of the very best shows of its time (and declining again after season 5 but that’s another story). Dollhouse, like Firefly, weren’t given the chance to exist. People like you, too prone to give up, doomed them. I’d hate for it to happen again to yet another Whedon show.

          • This show can’t get significantly better until the cast is improved and the villains won’t improve until the make-up budget is increased. Furthermore:
            1 – a real base of operation is needed, promote Coulson to Regional Director, with Agent Boring as his Deputy Director. When the team goes on a mission, Coulson can head the “away team” (Coulson, May, Skye, extras) like Kirk and Picard. Then pattern Ward’s character after Commander Riker.
            2 – Develop some type of natural threat to the teams Base of Operations, i.e. Place the base in the Savage Lands and add an Island of Doctor Monrau aspect to the environment with Man Apes and create a lengthy secret war fought between S.H.I.E.L.D and the products of S.H.I.E.L.D’s failed genetic experiments- Project Gladiator(akin to the war between Cylons and humans in BSG).
            3 – Have S.H.I.E.L.D’s Cyber Crimes Ready Response Team headquartered in Coulson’s Region (Antarctica) in order to give the cast a reason to venture back into the real world. This will give the show an added dimension and pick up the shows pace (10-20 minutes of secret war arcs, 20-30 minutes of international crime prevention)

    • I really don’t blame you, I’ll keep watching on the off chance this show does get better but I can’t say Agents of Shield getting a second season and when it does get cancelled I hope we can all remember why it was cancelled.

      What I’m saying is let’s not have our own version of the Browncoats.

      • They better not cancel it until we get a proper ending! I’m sick and tired of these shows that’ll never wrap up their plotlines because some random network exec thought it would be a good idea to take TV ratings seriously.

        • TV Ratings mean a lot to a network, it’s sad but the truth is they use them to make money and if a show isn’t helping them make money then the networks are losing money. Please don’t assume I want AOS to be cancelled since I don’t but it’s in need of improvement and to suggest so it’s not to insult the show.

          There’s tons of TV Shows, games, movies and so on that have been bad from the start and then seen a serious improvement. Assassin’s Creed was awful from the first game but now it’s a great franchise and there’s nothing to suggest Agents of SHIELD can’t improve, even at this point I’m hoping the show is given the benefit of the doubt with a second season to prove that the people behind the show know what’s wrong with the show and can improve it.

          and yes if it does end even at Season 1, I’m with you on the show receiving a proper ending. Season 1 CANNOT have an open ending or a cliffhanger on the off chance that it is cancelled and then once the producers can make sure the show has taken off THEN they can start with possible cliffhangers.

          • TV ratings reveal themselves to be particularly preposterous when you consider how they’re calculated. That’s why the reliance in them to cancel a show (or conversely keep one on air) is so infuriating.

  3. So it’s a super hero show with no super hero’s? I get it that it would cost to much to reproduce movie quality events in a weekly TV show but now its little more then a detective show. They need to use or create people with powers that are easy to show “force fields, mind powers, reading of minds and even people of flight” this is what kids want for the show and a few drop ins with an Ironman type or make a one of that uses the suit when needed to add something or this show is DOA.

    • That’s the thing: it’s NOT a superhero show. Did you forget the title? SHIELD personnel isn’t superhuman, for the most part.

      • So? There’s plenty of enemies who can pose a threat without being super-villains, personally I liked the story with Dr. Hall. A scientist growing to hate and fear his own inventions and Coulson sacrificing Hall to save everyone.

        They could use AIM, Hydra, Spectre Society, The Hand, Zodiac and so on.

        • Sure, and they will in due time, but my point was that people’s expectations about this show are badly misplaced.

  4. I’m willing to hang on in hopes that the writers are skimming the internet for reviews and come upon this one, and realize that they’ll have to step up their game.

    People thought they’d be seeing the Avengers here, and, while it was nice, all we saw was Fury, and it wasn’t till the end, and I’d almost changed the channel because I thought it was over.

  5. There is Green Arrow and there was Smallville. I expect more from a Superhero show…but wait…this doesn’t showcase the hero gallery? Yeah. This was a flop idea. And I expected much more from Whedon.

    • And how did Arrow fare in the beginning? Not so well, it was pretty dull too. Then it righted the wrongs. AoS has slightly improved and will probably get better too.

      • Not really. I thought Arrow was a great (if occasionally cheesy) show from the pilot onwards and continued its steady incline in quality.

        • Well that’s the thing about taste. One thing that disappoints you can satisfy someone else. Also, remember Buffy season 1 (and, to a lesser extent, season 2). Nothing great back then but 4 years later, it delivered one of the very best TV moments ever, suspended in grace.

  6. man, if marvel is really shopping some other shows around, it would at least serve them well to go with more established or seasoned actors to carry their shows. what the coming shows, or its worth, will be, whose to say. but the viewing experience should be much more bearable than leaving a character such as skye to be an anchor to their major network property.

    with a show such as sons of anarchy, they pull in recognizable acting vets per episode. not all timers, not Anthony Hopkins or morgan freeman, but established reputable vets. and it helps to enhance the product. not over relying on witty, obnoxious chatterboxes nor one joke per every millisecond.

    • Why create boring new immature and silly scientist when Marvel comics has plenty of interesting scientist with fascinating story arcs like Dr. Wilma Calvin, Dr. Ted Sallis, Dr. Paul Allen and Dr. Barbara Morse from Astonishing Tales volume one and Savage Tales.

      • Yeah, not using existing characters is a mistake. Whedon is so concerned with making his own characters, but really the existing Marvel Universe has so many characters with so much potential. It really makes me sad because I have waited for this for as long as I can remember. I can’t think of any recent Marvel TV shows except that horrible Blade fiasco. This is going to ruin it for the foreseeable future if they don’t right the ship.

  7. Well, maybe this will serve as a wake-up call to Marvel. Instead of seeing this as a potential failure, they can use the lessons learned and develop some shows for television.

  8. Being a fan of Joss Whedon and a huge fan of Marvel, I hate to say it, but this show is pretty bad. I know it’s just my opinion, but I think they really missed an amazing opportunity to redefine television just as Marvel studios managed to make the film industry rethink the way super hero movies are made.

    The idea of a tv show that bridged the cinematic universe with some of the comic universe’s C and D-list characters had such amazing potential. In terms of what special effects would be needed, there would have been little difference in making the extremis infected character in the pilot Luke Cage or USAgent instead. The whole story could have been about the power broker. Too worried that you’ll want to put those two in Avengers 7… You’ve still got hundreds of characters to pull from… Paladin, Night Thrasher (as a vigilante, no skateboard please), Silver Sable, Cardiac, Rage… the list can just go on and on and on… And here’s the thing, based upon fan reaction, you may have a breakout star that gains traction on the show which leads to a movie later.

    I mean, AIM, Present day Hydra, Roxxon… establish their existence through the show.

    And I’ve read enough of other people’s comments to know that someone will say, “But the show is supposed to be about normal people living in a superhero world…” And I get that, I think it’s a mistake, but I understand it. Still, we’re talking about a show where those normal protagonists have come up against powered individuals right? Why not make them recognizable? And I don’t feel like Graviton counts because it was really in name only.

    Beyond that… why make a show about the marvel universe that doesn’t deal with heroic costumed characters in the first place? I mean, yeah, you could make a show about Willie Lumpkin, The Fantastic Four’s mailman… and it’d probably be just as relevant. Maybe a show about J Jonah Jameson and the Daily Bugle offices (no spiderman of course)

    so much more to rant about, but I’ll leave it there.

  9. It’s not a great show or a bad show. It’s just … OK. Still watching it but don’t consider it to be on my must-see list. Having a built-in audience from the movies is a blessing and a curse. Expectations are through the roof. May take more time than usual for the show to get its feet underneath it. My biggest issue is that I don’t find the characters all that compelling yet. Reminds me a bit like Heroes. Started strong and quickly faded.

  10. I would like to reiterate that the show is not bad. I noticed a lot of people mentioned that they do not want to spend a lot of money on it to bring in major heroes. Then they should bring people like Power Man, Moon Knight, ETC. And always there should be mentions of whats going on in the MCU at all times.!!! Give the show a couple of years. Its going to be fine!!

  11. I LOVE this show. And I love Skye, they better not dump her. I also believe the show needs Coulson in it. He’s the glue that holds it all together. This show has amazing potential. The problem is it needs direction, and at the moment it doesn’t have direction. Last week, the 10/22 episode made me realize what it needs.

    So far it’s following a pattern of each episode discovers a new super powered human, who gets killed at the end. That plot line has to stop. They need to have super powered agents. They need to dedicate 2 or 3 shows to developing what SHIELD is, and has, for this show. It wouldn’t hurt for their plane to land on the flying aircraft carrier shown in the Avengers. They also need to decide on how and why Agent Coulson is still alive. I have a suggestion for this. Does anyone remember a rather questionable character called “Deathlok the Demolisher”? The early issues of that comic book were great. But that was about 40 years ago. Nowadays Coulson should be a cyborg that looks human, but is half machine. He should have super strength, and enhanced eyes and ears. But his brain and heart should be human so he has human feelings.

    They also need to make Skye a bonofide agent. Grant Ward should also have super strength, but not be a cyborg. They have to find a different reason.

    Finally I think they have to introduce an evil origination that SHIELD is fighting against. This will mean most episodes have and open end, but that’s ok, because that was 1 thing Stan Lee used to do that made Marvel great. And yes, I was there when Stan Lee created the Marvel universe. So I know what he used to do. Follow his pattern, and Agents of SHIELD should also be great. Nuff said

  12. From the pilot, I found the characters unlikable and a little snotty. I just haven’t been able to gain interest in the characters or the resulting plots.

  13. Has the International audience and timeshifting been accounted for in these ratings?

    • The show does not even air on the same day internationally so, no that does not factor in. And the ratings determine how much the advertising rates they can charge are so they really only care about the North American ratings, everything else is just extra,

  14. Sometimes I think you guys hit the show too hard, am loving how this show is going and it is BARELY starting. But that’s just me.

    • Exactly, “barely starting” being the operative words here. People nowadays want everything right here, right now. They don’t care much for due time and gradual build-ups to revelations anymore. I guess we can thank the internet for it.

  15. This is the best show yet and it seems like it picking up track, i like how its getting deeper and deeper in the story and how it have sudell moment on which they mention superhero here and there where it can lead up to the bigger picture.

  16. It was like when I was a kid and the Batman comics would have an issue all about “Alfred”.People can their action fixes from no many superior shows.Right or wrong,give us superheroes.

    • It’s a show about SHIELD, not superheroes. You’ll get some in due time anyway, just have a little patience.

  17. As of January 2014, the series is pretty much going to get as many people to watch it as they can. But it is a mixed bag. In the next several weeks as we get closer to March and April, we will know if this series gets renewed or gets the cancalation axe.

  18. I think a big problem is no one even knows when this show is on. It goes weeks and weeks between episodes so it’s hard to add to your routine. I have friends who really like this show I actually kind of liked it but after it was off the air for a month I just assumed they stopped making it. And my friends would ask “Why is that show never on?” NBC half assed this show and it shows.

    • Yeah right, like you can’t google the air dates… sheesh!

  19. “Agent Phil Coulson’s vintage Corvette may be soaring ever upward….” Oy. Really?

    “But while the 34% drop in viewers from the series premiere to its second episode was somewhat expected….” “Somewhat?” Really? Somewhat.

    Seriously. You suck. Stop believing you should write for a living. It’s time to find another profession. One that doesn’t require choosing words and putting them in order.

    • Why don’t you write something and prove us just how awesome you are, then, buddy? Jeez, don’t you have better to do than nitpicking over style? Like, I don’t know, adding some substance to the discussion… or just GTFO!

  20. Get the writers from the Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow and get Shonda Rhimes from Scandal. Then maybe Agents of Shield have a chance surviving. Agents of Shield time slot might need to be change to Thursday night lineup as well. I will no longer be watching because the show is boring and predictable. The Tomorrow People on the WB is a much better show then Agents of Shield.

  21. I’ve finally hit the point where I just don’t know if I want to continue watching. I’m losing interest fast. I was hoping for a simple marvel comics type of story line. This show is anything but. Much like “Lost”, it started pretty strong and has declined ever since. Much promise. Not enough basic “Heroes vs Bad Guys” for my taste. I may be tuning out soon.

    • You’re losing interest fast? When the last two thirds of the first season steadily improved with each new episode and when the second season opener was better than anything in season one? Huh! If you want something basic and binary, why don’t you go watch some Michael Bay turd? Oh, and there’s nothing like “a simple marvel comics type of story line”, whether it be in the movies, the show or the comics (except the very old comics).