Merlin: Premiere Gets Less-Than-Magical Ratings; Keep It or Cancel It?

MerlinNBC debuted their new fantasy-adventure series, Merlin, last night. Did many people tune in to watch this new take on an old tale? Will it be allowed to run its course or has the magic tale failed to excite viewers?

Merlin stars Colin Morgan as a young sorcerer who arrives in Camelot, a city where magic has been outlawed by King Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head). While there, Merlin learns that he has an important part to play in the future of Camelot and residents like Prince Arthur (Bradley James), maid Guinevere (Angel Coulby), and seer Morgana (Katie McGrath). Others in the cast include Bionic Woman’s Michelle Ryan, Richard Wilson, and John Hurt as the voice of The Great Dragon.

Though many British shows have been remade for American audiences over the years, Merlin supposedly marks the first time a UK drama has aired on a major US network in over 30 years. But, how long will it last?

Last night, Merlin debuted to an average of just 5.35 million viewers for its two-hour premiere, putting it in second place behind CBS reruns. The supernatural show was also in second place for the 18-49 demographic with an average of a 1.4/4 rating/share.

Should Merlin be cancelled?

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That performance certainly isn’t a magical one for the network and the ratings will very likely decline for subsequent installments. Considering that it’s Summer and that NBC hasn’t spent much money to acquire the series, it looks very likely that the network will air all 13 installments of this season.

While the show’s future on NBC isn’t certain, Merlin will continue on nevertheless. The series has been a hit for BBC One and they commissioned a second season last December. Production is expected to begin soon and will film on location in Wales and France. Unless ratings pick up, it seems doubtful that NBC will be buying it.

What do you think? Should Merlin be cancelled before season one even finishes? Will NBC make the second season available to network viewers? So, cancel or keep Merlin?

Canceled and renewed TV show

214 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. AD156 says

    THIS IS THE BEST SHOW EVER!!!!! it sure doesn’t deserve to be cancelled …
    i loved it and i realllllyyyyyy hope it stays!!! I can’t wait for season 3!!! (if it comes!!! Which it will, I assure u)…:)

  2. says

    My daughter had to record season two from the bbc channel, since I can’t get BBC, and send it to me.
    I love the show and would like to see a season 3 and more. Good light hearted entertainment. Bring it back to the USA

  3. jersey says

    I hope they bring back Merlin. I miss it. Best show on TV I ever watched. What is wrong with NBC for not bringing it back.

  4. Marblecat says

    Has Merlin started in the UK? It is available. Why can’t we get someone to pick it up?? 91% of the fans want it back. Is no one out there listening? NBC has plenty of programming time. Who wants to see celebrities lookiug for their roots? Feed their egos some more so they can emote their excitment. yuck……………

  5. concern fan says

    some times one must show that he is a man by showing one’s ball’s…. hint’s Delta Burke and my so call life.

  6. Merlin Sucks says

    I’m not really a big fan of fantasy series, but watching episodes of Merlin is like munching on a week old popcorn. There’s barely anything new with it, not even cliches, and nothing outstanding with the acting, except for the occasional above average intensity that Morgan and Head sometimes achieve. The series is like a retelling of an age old fable, except lamer cgi and a wannabe LOTR script. I am certainly not impressed. If you like fantasy series, watch True Blood or The Legend of the Seeker. They offer far more compelling stories and better acting.

    • Marblecat says

      I am with Abigail. Who said you need to watxch it???? We like it , so do not mess it up for the rest of us. There are plenty of other shows you can watrch and enjoy. And isn’ t that the point?? It is the re-telling of an old tale.
      And what is the” some times one must show that he is a man by showing one’s ball’s…. hint’s Delta Burke and my so call life.” suppossed to mean??

    • Sci Fan says

      LOL, I have only watched on episode of this waste of my time. I did a search online to see what people thought about it, because I was wondering why it was still even on the air. I understand that with many shows you have to suspend belief and ignore all of the mythos (in this case the Arthurian legend) in order to even try to enjoy the film, but in this case it is just to much.
      Arthur is a privileged jock? Merlin is a kid the same age as Arthur? Lancelot shows up as a teenager and trains with both of them? Uther runs a Camelot copy before the original even exists?
      Is there anything about the original legends that is retained in this show except for the names?
      Rather than call it Merlin and try to gain popularity from just the name, why not be Original and make up something completely different.
      Just a thought.

      ps. At least Hercules and Xena was funny and made fun of the fact that they were not even trying to be faithful to Greek Mythology.

  7. Richard Lanois says

    Dear NBC,

    I’m a member of the fansite MerlinTvShow.com. The fansite is huge- 700+ members, and the majority of us are from the United States. We’re all devoted to watching Merlin, which we think is one of the best TV shows out there. Merlin has it all- great acting (Colin, Bradley, Katie, and Angel, what a great quartet!), wonderful footage, spectacular CGI and special effects, and of course an original plot. While Merlin doesn’t follow true Arthurian legend, it has us enchanted. We American fans really want to see how Merlin goes from season 1 (which was amazing!) to King Arthur and his Round Table.

    We love the show so much, but the problem is that not everyone has access to a computer or can order the DVD. There are so many people who want to watch the second season and who can only do so by watching network television channels.

    We’ve done our research, and we know that you have already ordered the second season of Merlin. What we want is for NBC to air the second season instead of selling it to premium channels like Syfy or BBC America. Please excuse the “bad” ratings you’ve received for season 1- there is quite a huge fan base out there, and it was really your lack of advertising that contributed to these bad statistics. Take a peek at MerlinTvShow.com and see for yourself how many Americans are waiting hungrily for the second season.

    Thank you so much for your time and consideration!

    Signed,
    (NAME), a member of MerlinTvShow.com and a huge fan of Merlin!

  8. Lakinca says

    Here we go again. 90% of the viewers love it , So NBC will cancell it, Maybe the trick is………… that if no one watches a show………… it will be considered sucessful, and stay on the air.
    Can we see it on BBC, on cable, in the USA?

      • Quinn says

        @sci fan I’ll grant you that the first episode is terrible and Arthur is a jerk. It gets better towards the end if the first season and the 3rd and 4th series are very good. It gets really funny and accurate. Even to the point of Arthur’s death :( You kind of have to watch season 2 to really get into it…

      • Quinn says

        Because we love it in America to!!! It is so good and I have come to love all the characters as much as you do in England… Yes we have our own shows but let’s put this on a scale… Merlin or Gypsy sisters? Tough choice. I’m pretty sure that being us, America won’t be able to come up with much better shows than Merlin. So does that answer your question?

  9. manuel melis says

    I WATCHED SEASON 1 AND 2, I HOPE WILL BE MORE AND MORE SEASONS, IT IS A GREAT SHOW, COLIN MORGAN IS FANTASTIC YOUNG ACTOR AND ALL OF THEM ACT VERY VERY GOOD AND THE STORY, IT REALLY KEEP YOU IN FRONT OF THE SCREEN, VERY VERY WELL DONE FOR THE SHOW, I ENJOYED SO MUCH AND I HOPE WILL BE MORE SERIES, THANKS, MANUEL

    • says

      THERS SOMTHING BRILLIANT ABOUT THIS SHOW,THAT WHEN YOU WACH IT IT SEEMS ,WELL SO REAL THET SHOWS HOW GREAT THEY ARE AT ACTING. AFTER ALL , NOT ALL WICHES LIKE LADY MORGANA(KATIE McGRAPH) FLY AROUND ON BROOMS, AND USE WANDS AND COLDRONS

  10. Sue Flynn says

    Please do not cancel Merlin ….. It was a slow starter, maybe – but, it is a new and delightful concept for entertainment … love the show – and hope it returns in January – or at least next summer………….. please!

    • says

      i think merlin is by faf the best show i’ve ever seen, and besides it wont be fair on the peole who want it to cary on. after all the longer it goes on the more people start waching it.think about it if the show dosen’t go on that will be the END of the
      show MERLIN.

      (P.S MERLIN ROCKS)

  11. Macer says

    I honestly didn’t expect much but after watching the first four episodes I believe the show is absolutely amazing. It should continue on. If NBC doesn’t keep it I most certainly hope that BBC keeps producing it. It is worth paying the extra money to get the imported DVDs from the UK.

    On a side note. I thought they could have picked a prettier actress for Gwenhwyfar. Morgana is gorgeous. :)

    Great show. Keep it up BBC. It is like a Harry Potter that doesn’t suck.

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