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SGU Ratings Update: ‘Air’ to ‘Sabotage’

Thursday - May 13, 2010
Category: RATINGS | Tags: ,

Destiny 4 Stargate Universe has rebounded a bit in viewership since the mid-season finale last December. After peaking with 1.6 million viewers (“Live + Same Day”) tuning in for “Divided,” the spring season has gone up and down a bit with the sort of weekly variance one would expect.

“Human” did set a new low for the show, with 1.313 million viewers on Friday. But SGU rebounded significantly the next week, with 1.587 million for “Lost.”

Last week also marked the first time that SGU‘s lead-out series, Merlin, beat it in the Friday night ratings — though Stargate won in the coveted Adults 18 to 49-year-old demographic.

Here’s the full chart of the season so far, starting with the fall:

EPISODE (air date) VIEWERS (million) CHANGE
Air, Part 1 (Oct. 2) 2.346
Air, Part 2 (Oct. 2) 2.346
Air, Part 3 (Oct. 9) 2.447 (season high) + 3%
Darkness (Oct. 16) 2.099 – 14%
Light (Oct. 23) 2.015 – 4%
Water (Oct. 30) 1.974 – 2%
Earth (Nov. 6) 1.626 – 18%
Time (Nov. 13) 1.802 + 11%
Life (Nov. 20) 1.891 + 5%
Justice (Dec. 2) 1.340 – 29%

For the second half of the season, so far:

EPISODE (air date) VIEWERS (million) CHANGE
Space (Apr. 2) 1.486 + 11%
Divided (Apr. 9) 1.600 + 8%
Faith (Apr. 16) 1.422 – 11%
Human (Apr. 23) 1.313 (season low) – 8%
Lost (Apr. 30) 1.587 + 21%
Sabotage (May 7) 1.391 – 12%

None of these numbers include DVR-delayed “Live + 7” data. Until that data is in, we won’t know just how much of its fall audience the show has lost in 2010 and how much shifted to viewing a recorded episode later in the week. For the first half of the season, those numbers added nearly 47 percent to SGU’s viewership, putting it in fifth place in Nielsen’s list of the shows which gain the most from DVR-delayed viewing (as a percentage of their premiere night audience) (story).

For the first half of the season, the series averaged 2.57 million viewers per week, with DVR data factored in (story).

The lower ratings for the second half of the season aren’t entirely unexpected, as any new series typically garners higher numbers for its premiere and tapers off from there to settle into its weekly average.

The numbers may also partially explain Syfy’s decision to give SGU a shot at the more watched and more competitive Tuesday night, starting with the Season Two premiere in October (story). (The network’s highest-rated original dramas, Warehouse 13 and Eureka, air on Tuesdays during the summer months.)

With the notable exception of last Friday, Universe has stayed on top for Syfy’s Friday night shows in 2010, drawing more viewers than either Caprica or Merlin.

Just four hours remain for SGU‘s freshman year. Don’t miss this week’s new episode, “Pain,” Friday night at 9 p.m. (8 Central) on Syfy!

Source: TVbytheNumbers and

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 (41):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • I hate to repeat it, but we were told this was supposed to just keep getting better. SGA fanbase + new audience = ? With only a couple of episodes left in the season how are they going to be able to grow those numbers?

  • Glad to see they are going to be trying another night. Friday just didn’t seem like a good night. I don’t think Warehouse 13 is better than SGU or Caprica…so hopefully the change of nights will help. Tuesdays may be a good night, but I also wonder if the ratings of Warehouse 13 and Eureka aren’t as high as they are because they are on Tuesdays during the summer. I’d be curious to see how well Warehouse 13 and Eureka fared during another part of the year, and how well SGU and Caprica would do over the summer.

  • While I don’t mind Warehouse 13… it has the feel of a comedic drama than anything. The only thing it’s missing is a laugh track.

    SGU, while not exactly like SG1 and SGA (which incidentally is a *good* thing), is more gritty and about emotions and acting more than witty one-liners. But the public is fickle and collectively dumb, so tv shows have to cater to that. Hence every single dumb reality tv show on american channels.

  • “The lower ratings for the second half of the season aren’t entirely unexpected, as any new series typically garners higher numbers for its premiere and tapers off from there to settle into its weekly average.”

    WHAT??? SGU’s second half got less viewers than Stargate Atlantis in its 5. season! It isn’t “typically” that a new series lose so many viewers so fast. SGA’s season 5 average is 1.6 million viewers live + same day. The second half of season 5 got even 1.7 million viewers live + SD. The live + SD average for the second half of season 1 of SGU is so far ONLY 1.467 million viewers.

    It is VERY bad that a NEW series gets in its first season already worst ratings than a five year old series, which it replaced!

    And even Merlin got more viewers for the last episode and Merlin aired later in the evening than SGU. Merlin is also a cheaply imported series from the UK, which were shown there months ago, so that many fans have probably already downloaded the episodes, before they were shown on Syfy.

    And that SGU’s ratings are better than those from Caprica, don’t mean very much. Caprica’s ratings are horrible.

  • Soo can someone explain to me if this is good or bad? lol. Im no good at this stuff. This tells how many people are watching destiny every week? How do they count that, do our tellies transmit back to them? Anyway it looks pretty good if its millions watching lol

  • It’s truly unfortunate, since the 2nd half of the season has been incredibly strong. Loving the direction of the show!

  • Truly unfortunate. I think that many where turned off with the first half of the season and did not return. The second half has been really good.

  • @jeanette178

    It is hard to imagine these ratings being spun as a good thing. SGU was promoted as a show that could bring in new viewers to the Stargate franchise. Now, it appears that SGU is going to have the lowest season average rating of any Stargate show ever on Sci-fi (or SyFy). This is definitely bad news for Universe and the Stargate franchise. While it may seem like a lot, a bare million viewers is not a good thing. Even on cable.

    Moreover, next season it is being bumped from the traditional home of science fiction, Friday night, so it can go head to head with American Idol, NCIS, and Dancing with the Stars on Tuesdays. Yikes.

  • Darren, it seems you were right about the bump the show receives with the Live + 7 day numbers. I just read this on Joe M’s blog:

    “Hmmm. Looking over these live+7 numbers. Human, the last episode charted, received a whopping 47% bump from time-shifted viewers, the biggest to date. That’s almost half our audience! I guess that’s what you get for having a techy fanbase.”

  • As much as I like SGU, they really need to get over this pretentious, moralizing, boring “drama” stuff. That drives the ratings down, as well as draining the life out of the show.

  • The Stargate franchise was rolling along beautifully and then it made a left turn and drove right off a cliff when SGA was cancelled and SGU was pushed off onto Stargate fans as new an improved. First, Stargate didn’t need much improvement and secondly, SGU turned out to be a complete disaster. Of course its ratings are down…. Where SG-1 and SGA had humor and human qualities which made you care about the characters, SGU has none of that. Back to the drawing board and either bring SGA back or give us a new Stargate that preserves the essence of the first two. The SG powers that be violated the cardinal rule of “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”

  • Ouch! lol nothing to laugh about though. This is quite sad to see and not a good sign for this franchise to say the least. I hope the ratings do go up in season 2 after season 1 ends. Life really really killed this series almost 500,000 viewers stopped watching it. I haven’t had the pleasure/shame of watching the rest of the series because they cancelled the series here in Australia after 3 or 4 episodes can’t exactly remember. Anyway I look forward to watching it on DvD when the whole set comes out. It seems there is a massive outcry about this series I do wish the ratings go up for this series and less of the drama soap opera stuff. All the best to SGU.

  • The last two shows in the series were, in my opinion, the best so far.I’m surprised that the overall viewers declined for the live version telecast for the second of those last two. I would have thought anyone having seen the first of those would come back for the second. Perhaps the delayed ratings will show improvement overall for the second of the last two.

  • I’m fairly positive the THREE MONTH HIATUS might have a tiny bit to do with less viewership.

    Half the “new audience” didn’t like SGU, the other half didn’t remember it. Us “veterans?” We’re mostly a mix of both.

  • News like this is hater fuel. These numbers have been, are and always will be flawed.

  • @ DarkElfa

    You think is run by disgruntled Atlantis who are surreptitiously deflating Universe’s numbers to encourage anti-Universe sentiment? Oh my. That’s a theory that would make the birthers proud.

  • Still no sign of BSG writer’s excellence. Maybe ripping off the violin music and “darker grittier” shooting style it’s not enough?

    More adventure and action with great writing and bit of humor = strong ratings. And please use drameh when it’s needed, only.
    BTW: Episode with Rush and his adorable female friend in Wray’s body was just D’AWWWWWW. I hope to see her again, It’s a shame they didn’t get laid this time. It’s her only chance in lifetime, you know? Rush is just a douchebag. Have mercy for that girl!

    I love the fact she talked about ascension with Rush, man. I can understand her, really. She’s like female version of genius Stephen Hawking. People like them deserved better life and health condition than many of us.

  • The long hiatus likely has something to do with it. I really hate the holiday vacation time cop-out nonsense. If a show is good people will watch it regardless of the day.

    If for example 24 aired on say Christmas or Thanksgiving, my entire family would be getting together to watch it and it’d be much more exciting than the millionth rendition of It’s a Wonderful Life or some cruddy Lions game.

    *stops rambling*

  • I wouldn’t worry about the ratings at the moment. First of all, the DVR ratings are very good and even if they don’t mean anything to Syfy, they know the numbers and will do something to make people watch it live (for example, sending the shows to Tuesday night). Will it help the show? Who knows…

    Secodly, we still got the second season. Syfy isn’t FOX, CBS or NBC that will just axe the show if it doesn’t do as good as expected. We will at least have two seasons but I think the third season will also go our way since… let’s be honest, Syfy can’t offer anything OF original programming that would be called sci-fi except
    SGU… If they don’t become Wrestling Channel, I can’t see with what they will replace SGU. They might cut a bit off it budget though…

    And also, the ratings at this point doesn’t mean much… I’ve seen the Ukrainian eps and think that ep.17 and 18 will add more viewers and for finale, maybe even 1.8 -1.9 million viewers might tune in, the cliffhanger is good and, if the first part of the 2nd season is good, we won’t have to worry. And even if the viewers are not there for the finale, we still have got the first part of season 2 when the show (and TPTB) can adjust things to attract viewers…

    Also, SGA and SG-1 were cancelled not because of bad numbers but because the shows were going nowhere… i.e. they didn’t see how they could possibly get more viewers to tune in. Maybe the viewers are not watching SGU at the moment but it’s a young show and there’s still a lot of potential, a whole lot more than in 10 years old or 5 years old show…

  • The fact is SGU isn’t so much of a continuation of SG1 and SGA as it is a side-step in a new direction entirely. The fan base has changed, and it would seem, has declined somewhat. That happens with such drastic changes in format, and it’s certainly no surprise. It will be interesting to see if the live+7 data also reflects this.

  • Darren

    Mathematically, a 47 percent boost from DVR would account for nearly one third of SGU’s audience (on Syfy), not half. But that’s still a huge number.

    It also doesn’t track iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, and (obviously) illegal downloads.

    @psw: The statement you quoted is meant to point out that nearly every series (for Syfy, Warehouse 13 is the only exception I know of, much to its credit) premieres very high — relative to its season average — because more money is spent on marketing and more people give it a try to see if they like it.

    The comparison of SGU Season One’s numbers to SGA Season Five is, of course, important to Syfy. But my point stands for SGA, even moreso than SGU: It premiered with a 3.2 rating, far above the average viewership into which it settled by the end of Season One. Does that mean that most those 4 million viewers were SG-1 fans who fled screaming because SGA was a shadow of its predecessor? Of course not; it’s the way television works.

    It’s utterly ridiculous to see a mathematical fall-off from a series premiere and declare that the ship is sinking.

  • @ Darren

    SGA started of course with MUCH MORE viewers than SGU. SGA’s worst Syfy HH rating was in its first season 1.7 and in its second season 1.5. SGU on the other hand already had once a 1.0 Syfy HH rating. SGU started with much less viewers than SGA, so it can’t afford the lost of many viewers.

    And it is not like SGU is only losing in the USA much viewers. Australia’s free TV channel TEN cancelled it after three weeks and in Germany and the UK the ratings are also getting more and more disappointing.

    I made an overview of the Syfy HH ratings of SGA and SGU and a graph out of the ratings of the USA, Germany and UK. There you can also see clearly, that there wasn’t such a big downward trend in SGA’s first season. Of course after the premiere with a rating of 3.2, there was a fall to a 2.5 rating in the next episode. Then SGA lost viewers until the season low of 1.7 in its 9. episode. But then in the second half, the ratings increased again! The 19. episode got even the same rating again as the 3. episode! The season average of the first half of the season was nearly the same as the average of the second half of the season.

  • psw, I guess, is one of those who run that other forum against SGU…

    Anyway, viewership doesn’t show the quality of the show, let’s just say Atlantis was more “accessible” to casual viewer or, in general, to a typical TV viewer than SGU. Of course, it seems that the numbers were affected by the fact that most of the Atlantis fans left the show too… I haven’t seen many new fans SGU attracted but it has gained some… and not from the category of people who would shout and insult others if their show is cancelled.

    SGA won’t return, we all can only hope for movies so it doesn’t mean anything to SGA situation (or movie situation) if SGU is canned or not. Movies are financed in a different way and the problems why movies aren’t getting made are in no way connected with SGU.

    It doesn’t look that viewersip will drop further, at the moment if feels stable and I don’t really understand what’s the fuss about it…

    As concerns UK and Germany = the same deal, people expected something different from SGU, thought it would be more like Atlantis. It wasn’t.

    In my country BSG did a lot worse than Atlantis ratings wise. Does that mean Atlantis is a better show? I love Stargate franchize but realistically BSG was like Ancient tech compared to Lucian Alliance…

    Also I loved Atlantis seasons 1 and 2 and no wonder that I now get to know that the viewership dropped in them… since viewership always drops in shows that I watch. So it’s a good sign :D that means the show is smart and complex enough to be liked only by people who appreciate it. I really appreciated SGA season1 and, for the most part, season 2- at that time they at least were trying to make an interesting and complex action orientated tv show. That, like in SG1 seasons 9-10, gradually became more like comedy sci-fi with plots already seen not only on Trek shows, but also in Stargate itself and DONE WORSE…

  • hiatus got nothing to do with it happens alot on american shows some have be 4-5 months and when they come back they nearly always get good viewing, sgu don’t because it not that good, space been the best epiosde so far, others had monents but in the end, they try to change something that was not broken and now made it alot worse, mean fan lose out as they be no more money too fund other series later on

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