When Agent Carter was originally announced back in 2014, fans were elated to not only see Marvel Television finally introduce the first female led property in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also see the further development of a character they came to love after Captain America: The First Avenger. And yet, as the first season aired, viewership continued to decline, eventually reaching around 4 million an episode – not necessarily a horrible number, but certainly not something that guaranteed a second season. Fast forward to May 2015. ABC decided to surprisingly bring back the series for a second season and even decided to move the show’s location from New York to Los Angeles, giving the series a chance to revamp itself for the second season.
And yet, even after all of the fan excitement over news of the renewal, Agent Carter‘s second season premiered to even lower numbers than its season one finale, bringing in under three million live viewers. For any other show, that would have been guaranteed cancellation. But this isn’t just any other show. This is a Marvel show, a series owned by ABC Studios, that has already wrapped production on its ten episode second season. And the Marvel shows typically tend to be great L+7 performers for the network – at least, that was the case with Agent Carter‘s first season, and has continually been the case with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. However, that isn’t the case with season two. In a recent press release from ABC, they revealed the L+7 numbers for last week’s episode, “Better Angels”, and they weren’t exactly great:
“Agent Carter”: L3 = 4.0 million/1.2 rating and L7 = 4.6 million/1.3 rating
(For those wondering: L3 numbers are the live day + 3 day numbers, which are gathered from DVR viewings + On Demand viewings over the three days following the airdate. The L7 numbers are the live day + 7 day numbers taken from the week following the original airdate. For this particular episode, Agent Carter’s live day numbers were 2.9 mil/0.9 – with that 0.9 serving as the 18-49 rating, which networks generally like to see a lot higher – at least over 1.0.)
Those numbers listed above are usually close to what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. manages in same day ratings when it airs on Tuesdays on ABC, and that show always grows with L+7 ratings (usually a good 60% over the course of a week). So to see the numbers that low? It seemingly confirms that a third season is all but a pointless dream for fans at this point – at least, when it comes to ABC renewing it, that is.
If you’ll recall, during the TCAs this year, ABC Studios head Paul Lee said that they’re always developing Marvel projects for ABC, but that they could end up on Netflix where we’ve seen both Daredevil and Jessica Jones take off. So, what if come May, should ABC announce that they’ve decided not to move forward with a third season of Agent Carter, we see the series move to Netflix? Of course, this is all speculation and hopefulness on my end, but think about it. It’s a series that is designed to operate with 8-10 episodes a season with a tight storyline, much like is the case with both Daredevil and Jessica Jones. And although the ratings have been low, the show has managed to be a critical darling of sorts.
Sure, it isn’t doing well on ABC, but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t do well on Netflix. After all, ABC has yet to put the series on the streaming service (at least in the United States), so it’s hard to tell what kind of viewership it could pull should it find itself moving homes for a potential third season – although, I’d guess they’d be decent.
One thing is for sure though, for those like myself hoping for a season three renewal from ABC, the only way that is going to happen is if the remaining six episodes see a rise in the numbers. Otherwise, ABC is sure to give a cancellation confirmation by the time May comes around.