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SGU, other Syfy dramas moving to Tuesdays

Thursday - April 15, 2010
Category: GENERAL | Tags: , ,

Syfy Channel will move its Friday night dramas to Tuesdays starting in October, the network announced this week.

Stargate Universe, Sanctuary and Caprica will air on Tuesday nights, where the network has had great success in the summer months with Eureka and Warehouse 13, its two highest rated original series.  SGU and Sanctuary air in the fall months, Caprica in the winter.  SGU then returns for the second half of its season during the spring.

The reason?  Syfy has picked up … wait for it … WWE Friday Night SmackDown, one of the many professional wrestling shows that seem to draw big viewership for cable networks, particularly among the coveted young male demographics.

That series will debut October 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, and run two hours in length.  Rather than pairing Stargate and its other scripted dramas with wrestling, Syfy is opting to maintain SmackDown‘s Friday night presence and give its dramas — which have seen sliding ratings on Friday nights for several years — a try on another night of the week.

SmackDown is a veteran 10-year-old series that has been airing on Friday nights since 2005.  It comes to Syfy from the MyNetworkTV syndication group, having originally aired on UPN and then The CW.  The series launched in 1999 and averages more than 3.4 million viewers each week.

Stargate Universe, the current Friday night leader for Syfy during the fall, draws about half that.

“With Tuesday night, a proven winner for our original drama series including Warehouse 13, there is bigger opportunity for series such as Stargate Universe, Sanctuary and Caprica to thrive on a night with a significantly larger number of viewers available to watch live,” Syfy president Dave Howe said.

The move to Tuesdays makes a premiere of either September 28 or October 5 likely.  The latter would follow Syfy’s pattern of starting off the quarter with new series; but it would also cede a bigger jump on the new fall season to the broadcast networks.

Scheduling Strategy

What seems like a minor shift in scheduling strategy could actually have big ramifications for Stargate and the cable network — hopefully for the better.

Friday night is notorious for being one of the least-watched nights of television, earning the “graveyard” moniker for the big networks.  Because science fiction genre shows struggle with finding a general audience by their very nature, networks and cable channels have typically relegated them to the Friday time slots anyway — where there are lower expectations to perform.

Add the fact that sci-fi fans are statistically more likely to be early adopters of DVR technology and watch their favorite Friday night shows later, and you begin to see why series like Stargate see some of the biggest ratings boosts when the DVR-delayed viewing is factored in.  For shows like Stargate and Battlestar Galactica, those viewership increases have been upwards of 45 to 50 percent.

Taking SGU and other dramas to Tuesdays — a highly-watched night of the week — could pay off in spades for Syfy.  But the competition with bigger network shows, of course, also increases the risk.  The networks’ new fall season is expected to premiere in late September.  And Tuesdays boasts some of television’s biggest juggernauts, including FOX’s American Idol in the springtime.

Syfy Channel previously experimented with Galactica on Sunday nights, but didn’t see much improvement in the ratings for the critically acclaimed series.  It moved back to Friday nights for its final run of episodes.

Syfy is following its sister network USA in taking its scripted series off Friday nights.  USA has seen great success for such shows as Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, and Royal Pains on other weeknights.  It also airs WWE’s other weekly series, WWE Raw, on Mondays.

Whether or not the gamble will pay off for Syfy and Stargate Universe is anyone’s guess.  We’ll certainly be watching the numbers very closely when Season Two begins this fall!

What do you think?  Is it a good move for the network and the shows to go to Tuesday? Sound off below!

(Thanks to Ryan, Morjana, Gary, Madwelshboy, Tanith, Brandon, Justin, Diogo, Jonno, Robert, Meh, Jim, and Jeff for the tip)

NEXT: The press release


Darren created GateWorld in 1999, and today is the owner and managing editor. He lives in the Seattle area with his wife and three children. (More)

COMMENTS (45):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • What they ARE putting on Fridays makes me lol hard, but this might actually be good for SGU. Here’s hoping more viewers tune in live on Tuesday.

  • i’m a fan of sanctuary, and i’m very concerned. BUT, this might be a good thing for it (and sgu and caprica), so…

    the other popular shows of tues night, i don’t watch. :p

  • I’m cautiously optimistic about it. Although SciFi Fridays having been a staple of existence for the duration of this century, I’ll have to retrain people on what night of the week to leave me alone. :)

  • I still fail to see the reason why SyFy show WWE, especially since WWE isn’t sci-fi at all. It’s just mediocre ‘play fighting’ by adults who don’t have real careers.

    Okay, so maybe a move to Tuesday will do SGU some good, but it should be for a legitimate reason, like reserving Fridays for cr*p SyFy produced TV movies, or less american sci-fi, like Red Dwarf or something like that.

  • SyFy hasn’t a clue about what it’s doing. Fans complained about the presence of wrestling…so it added MORE wrestling.

  • In the age of DVR’s it does make sense to move it away from Friday. I think they should of picked Monday though. Going up against American Idol is bad idea IMO.

  • Another thing to consider about the move to Tuesdays…

    FOX: American Idol

    Being that both American Idol and NCIS draw around 20 million viewers each every week, it’s VERY hard to get viewers on that day. I for one will most likely be recording SGU, so I can watch NCIS/NCISLA.

  • I just find it weird because there getting rid of WWE NXT on tuesday’s to move the Syfy shows to tuesday because there getting another WWE show. Why not just put Smackdown in the NXT slot is news to me but they are the network. But SYFY’s rationale has always been that WWE fits into the “imagine greater” slogan. And add to that the fact that Vince Mcmahon and Dick Ebersol (Head of NBC, SYFY’s parent company) are best buddies plays a role. Still I beleive that they should have some loyalty to their programming but I guess that’s why they’re no longer Sci-Fi

  • Good job on the time slot change, failure in the replacement. Wrestling does not belong on their channel.

  • Insanity has hit the programmers or management or both at SYFY. No, not because they are moving those series to Tuesday (though after having established Friday night as the SCI-FI (not SYFY) night of the week, you would think that would remain as a real statement), rather because of the totally irritating, stupid annoying addition of, who cares a fig about fake wrestling, not me, WWE on Friday night. What is any wrestling or boxing doing on the Scifi channel, now called SYFY, at all. I have to pay Comcast around $30 extra per month just to have the SYFY channel included in my “package”. The only way I can see that channel is to purchase a larger package of channels, not one of which I care about other than SYFY, and I absolutely do not spend that $30 per month so I can watch Wrestling on a station supposedly devoted to Science fiction or close shows. I am insulted that the SYFY network would actually make an agreement to show Wrestling on the night previously only scheduling new Sci-Fi series. It makes me consider cancelling my agreement with Comcast and then just using Torrents to download episodes of the series I want to see and screw SYFY.

  • Most likely they are hoping to capture the Tuesday night audience that watches Lost after that show sees its finally.

  • Great job – SeeFee!
    I being moved over for Wrestling is better than being cancelled and being replaced by a “re-imagined” Flash Gordon (*rolls eyes*)

  • TV Schedules are meaningless to me, I DVR my shows and watch at my leasure. The networks need to realize thats what alot of people are doing now.

  • People still watch ‘Lost’???

    Only show I like on tuesdays was ‘Lie to Me’, and it’s not back yet… so … oh well. No biggie for me.

  • Well since Lost is ending :( SGU wont have to compete with it. I might still have to compete with V that is if it gets picked up for a 2nd season.

  • I’m gonna have to DVR Sanctuary now. That was the only show that I made an effort to watch live. But I work late most weekdays, so DVR it is.

  • Next they will go from tuesday to wednesday and put Oprah and Emeril live on tuesdays…

  • SyFy honestly sucks on *any* and all decisions for programming on that network. A trained monkey could possibly make more effective decisions. I work second shift, and I have Fridays off it’s the one thing I like looking forward to on Friday nights. Honestly, Syfy makes just completely makes terrible decisions all the dang time since as far as I can remember. Ugh.

  • I suppose being moved because of Wrestling is better than cancellation and replacement by a re-imagined FG, but…remember, just last year they had something far worse – that completely unfunny embarrassing Outer Space Astronauts. So, you’re absolutely correct, it could be much worse. They could make that series the “centerpiece” of Tuesday nights.

  • About USA’s shows – not true that the move to Weds. was a great success for In Plain Sight: 3.2 mil. and 0.8 demo this week and still a drop from last week’s ratings.

    So far, the move to Tues. and Weds. worked well for White Collar, so-so for Psych and barely at all for L&O:CI and In Plain Sight.

    Tues. would have worked for SyFy during summer. But throughout the regular season? I think that the shows will either drop or stay level. Let’s face it, ratings prove that SGU’s fans DVR the show anyway. I don’t see them jumping on the “live” wagon when it moves to Tues.

  • Im a huge Stargate and WWE fan and in the UK we have Smackdown on a Friday and SGU on a Tuesday. They both get great ratings on these days. So i think its a good thing for SGU that its moving to a Tuesday. It might get better raitings in the US to

  • Part of the problem is that the Sci-Fi executives…wait for it…hate science fiction. They see it as geeky and niche, and have been trying to move away from it for over a decade. They see it as a detriment to their brand and profitability.

    They won’t actually stop acting like m***** until the fans organize a collective letter writing campaign or something similar.

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