Sci-Fi Fodder

Ratings Update

It's still early in the new TV season, but early ratings returns are not good. According to Zap2It, "...it's not an especially good time to be a new show, and an even worse one to be a second-year show -- particularly one whose first season was cut short by the writers strike". Unfortunately, that describes several of our favorite Sci-Fi shows.

Here's the rundown:

"Chuck"
"Chuck" (5.9 million, 2.2/8) dropped 18%, which is a series low. Last season, "Chuck" averaged approimately 8.7 million viewers per week.

"Pushing Daisies"
"Pushing Daisies" was down 3.1 million viewers from its average last fall. As a side note, it is still on the TiVo - unwatched.

"Heroes"
"Heroes" is a puzzler. Despite recognition that its third season is creatively the best that the show has offered, ratings dropped 20%.

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"
"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" has recovered a bit. Although there were rumors of cancellation after some very dismal numbers, the show was up 15% after the most recent episode. I think it is safe - for now.

"Fringe"
"Fringe" is a success story. The paranormal crime drama is by far the most-watched new show, drawing at 15 million-ish viewers each week.

"Supernatural"
This was surprising when I found out - "Supernatural" has generated the most positive upswing in viewership of all returning shows this year! According to several sources, "Supernatural" has experienced more ratings growth among the 18-49 demographic this season than any other show on television. It's up over 40% from last season's numbers - people are noticing this show!

Conclusion
Although I am ecstatic about the ratings for "Supernatural", I am very concerned about the status of most of the other shows on my viewing slate. "True Blood" and "Sanctuary" both look very safe; however, I anticipate a leveling off in the ratings for "Fringe". I think it's decent, but not off-the-charts good, so I think we will be seeing the 'core' audience number in a few more weeks, which will be somewhat lower than the debut, but still in the safe zone. Unfortunately, that leaves most of the others in danger of cancellation for the remainder of the fall. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that so many anticipated shows (like "Lost", "Battlestar Galactica", "Dollhouse" and "24") will be making their debuts in January.

Thus, I foresee some cancellations. Let's just hope it's "Knight Rider" (is it just me, or was this show much better when it was called "Fastlane"), rather than "Sarah Connor".



Fred,

Any info on the audience numbers for True Blood episode 5 and Dexter episode 2?

Thanks!

-- Posted by: Rob Moore at October 9, 2008 5:22 PM

Hi!

Great coverage, however I just wanted to correct some of your numbers.

For "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," you said ratings were up 15 percent over the previous week. That is incorrect.

Overnight ratings for "Sarah Connor" last week were an estimated 3.4/5 while this past week were a 3.5/5. That is an increase of not 15 percent, but actually just under 3 percent.

If "Sarah Connor" were to get a 15 percent boost, it would still be nowhere near its first season overnight low of a 4.5/7 (its most current rating is actually 22 percent below that number).

In fact, the most recent episode is off 37.5 percent from its first season overnight average, and let's remember that "Sarah Connor" was a show that was on the renewal bubble at the end of last season. If it was on the bubble then, what do you think would happen if it's lost a third of THAT audience, or even a fifth of its lowest rating of that season?

I don't want to rain on your parade or anything, but I just want to make sure that no one is putting out stories that provide false hope, or misplaced hope based on inaccurate numbers.

I enjoy Film Fodder a lot, and thank you for letting me share some of my numbers!

-- Posted by: Michael Hinman at October 9, 2008 6:01 PM

Here's what I have:

* Latest [10/5]*
"True Blood" 1.0/2; A18-49: 1.0/2
"Dexter" 0.5/1; A18-49: 0.3/1

* Previous Week *
“True Blood” 1.82 mil. viewers (1.1/2; A18-49: 0.9/2)
“Dexter” 1.2 mil. viewers (0.7/1; A18-49: 0.5/1)

[I swiped these numbers from the TVByTheNumbers.com site]

-- Posted by: Fred at October 10, 2008 10:34 AM

Michael, thanks for the correction!

I got the "15%" number from the 'THRFeed.com' site (linked in the article), but obviously they are off a bit.

(and, SyFyPortal rocks. I am a fan.)

-- Posted by: Fred at October 10, 2008 11:00 AM