I want to consider LoK’s ratings for a second, because I think there are some interesting trends to note.
First, Book 1 had a steady schedule, and the ratings reacted accordingly… except for a single hiccup with When Extremes Meet. Interestingly enough, the adult group reacted more negatively than the kid/teenager group did, in stark contrast with the Book 2 trends.
My guess is, the majority of Book 1’s viewer base came from kids looking for something to watch on Saturday mornings. The show got awesome ratings because it was high quality enough to draw a good chunk of those kids, but the kids weren’t deciding when to watch tv based on when the show aired — they were already there to be mined.
In contrast, the adults tuned out when they thought the show had gone on hiatus. That suggests they were scheduling time around the show, but didn’t have the information about its airing. The 600k that caught the show are probably our internet-connected crowd.
For Book 2, the entire non-internet connected adult crowd disappeared. I doubt this was a quality issue; it’s more likely that they didn’t know the show was on. And, for the ones who did know it was on, they were given a very easy way to avoid the lousy air time when Nick put the episodes up at midnight. I bet that influenced the premiere -> third episode drop off — outside of super fans, adults are probably inclined to do stuff on Friday nights.
The kid demo, of course, was all over the place. Kids can’t schedule around shows and don’t have the information to do so, even if they watch the network enough to know the show’s airing again. I’d suggest that the ratings for Peacekeepers suggests a group of around 700k who are connected enough to keep up with the show (which is, not coincidentally, only a bit lower than the general Book 3 kid ratings).
By Book 3, the adult demo stabilized almost entirely. That 400k that the show scored week after week is probably our fanbase and its periphery.
The kids were less stable, but not nearly as volatile as in Book 2. Very few people who weren’t connected even knew about the show.
It’s relevant to point out here that the “kids” group includes 12-17 year olds who Nick probably doesn’t see as their network audience… and given the connectivity issue, I bet they’re a significant chunk of the remainder nowadays. It’s entirely possible that the only actual children who watched Book 3 were relatives and friends of fans.
This is not the portrait of a show in legitimate decline due to audience alienation. This is the portrait of a show that’s been robbed of its greatest source of viewers by the network and rendered impossible to follow by anyone who hasn’t chosen to seek out out.