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How Wrestling is Killing Science Fiction

Wednesday - May 4, 2011
Category: OPINION | Tags: , ,

WWE Smackdown

Usually we just report the news here at GateWorld, but every now and again I feel it necessary to abuse my privilege as chief and editorialize a bit. This is one of those posts.  Please just take it, for what it’s worth, as one science fiction fan’s opinion.

AN OPEN LETTER TO SYFY CHANNEL:

Thank you for the many years of outstanding entertainment you have given to me and my friends.  While I haven’t agreed with every creative or scheduling decision, every killed-off character or series cancellation, I do recognize that because of Syfy Channel I have laughed, cried, and cheered over the likes of Farscape, Stargate, Sanctuary, Battlestar Galactica, and so many others.

Since you ventured into original, scripted drama more than a decade ago, you’ve been one of the best places on television for the genre that I love so much.  And you’ve been one of the safest.  The big networks put the pressure on shows and cancel them after a season or less, sometimes not even airing all the episodes they paid to have filmed.  Firefly. Defying Gravity. The Event. No Ordinary Family. Moonlight. Earth 2. Surface. Invasion. Threshold.  But you give new series time to find their audience.  You’ve rescued shows from cancellation oblivion, you’ve aired those unaired episodes, and you’ve funded additional seasons when it looked like shows like Sliders and Stargate SG-1 were done.

Lately, however, your actions have started to concern me.  Consider this an intervention on the part of those who love you.  While your ratings are high and things seem like they are going great, you are on a self-destructive path.  And it doesn’t just hurt you.  It doesn’t just hurt those who fall in love with your outstanding scripted dramas.  It’s hurting the science fiction genre.

I understand that reality programming is here to stay.  Because it’s less expensive to produce and typically gets as-good or better ratings than scripted fare, reality TV has become a building block for the television landscape in the twenty-first century.  Hopefully that will come with some balance — something scripted, something unscripted, and viewers will choose what they like.  Face Off and Ghost Hunters are cool ideas. But please, do not forsake scripted drama because it doesn’t have as high a cost-benefit ratio.

I think you know this, and it’s not why I am writing today. I’m writing to talk about professional wrestling.  Your mother and I are very concerned about the kids you have been hanging out with.  I recognize that WWE Smackdown is the cool kid: he gets double the ratings of nearly any other show on the network, which is a huge boon to your ratings averages and, ultimately, to your profitability.  Money earned from wrestling can then be invested in making shows that don’t rate as highly. Like the Republicans say, the ratings “wealthy” can create jobs for the “middle class” of TV shows.  It’s not a terrible idea, even if I don’t think that wrestling fits with your network brand.

John Cena (right) delivers a crippling body slam to Caprica (left).

By changing your name from “SCI FI” to “Syfy” it became clear that you don’t want to program for the niche of science fiction fans any more — you want broader appeal.  You want to be popular.  If NCIS repeats became available and you could afford them, you’d snap them up and tell viewers to “imagine greater.”

Those of us who are first fans of the science fiction genre can see the writing on the wall.  When it comes to mass appeal, sci-fi is always at a disadvantage.  Good science fiction television needs to be nurtured, given space and time to grow.  But it will never be hugely popular.  And you don’t seem to be as interested in nurturing these days.

Now don’t get me wrong — I’m not writing you off. A two-year commitment to an expensive show like SGU was terrific, and Caprica‘s ratings were pretty bad. I’m not even saying that expanding to new nights of the week has been a bad idea.  I recognize the business strategy at work in your scheduling choices, and I see where it has paid off.  But the last seven months have told a powerful story to the programming department, and today you have to own up to your mistakes.  Let’s review the course of events that brought us here:

  • You acquired WWE Smackdown, and decided to keep it on Friday nights — where its own fan base expects it. Since it is a 2-hour block, the fall of 2010 seemed like the best time to branch into another night using those shows that were previously on Fridays.
  • So you planned to move Stargate Universe and Sanctuary to Tuesdays, where your other dramas have had great success during the (less competitive) summer months.  (With Warehouse 13 overlapping one week into the start of the fall season on the big networks, maybe you could hold on to some of those summer viewers and keep them on Syfy on Tuesdays.)
  • Caprica still needed an immediate renewal decision, however, so at the eleventh hour you put it in Sanctuary‘s place and kept Sanctuary on Fridays, after wrestling, in the one primetime hour still available there.
  • Tuesday nights during the fall season are incredibly tough.  Caprica sank below 1 million viewers and didn’t survive a month.  Stargate, meanwhile, flirted with disaster in its own ratings, hovering just inches above the 1 million viewer threshold.
  • Stargate finished out its fall run, but compared to its (falling) numbers on Friday last spring, things weren’t looking so good. You cancelled it in December.
  • In January you were ready to premiere a new scripted series, a remake of BBC’s Being Human. The show started strong and did very respectable numbers on Monday nights.  You renewed it and called it a win.  When Stargate returned for its final episodes, you moved it to Monday, too.  But it was a dead man walking, so no one expected a ratings resurrection.
  • Sanctuary, meanwhile, was still on Friday nights — and now it had WWE as a monster lead-in.  You know lead-ins matter.  You know that Fridays at 10 p.m. is now the plum time slot on your network.  You wish that the show you put there would retain a bit more of WWE‘s 2.5 to 3 million viewers, but Sanctuary was clearly doing well enough for a fourth season renewal.
  • Layla puts the squeeze on Sanctuary.

    When April arrived, things got truly telling.  Sanctuary started its spring season with surprisingly low numbers, considering it is a mid-season premiere and it has a 2.8 million viewer lead-in.  Meanwhile, your new Monday reality series Urban Legends premiered after Stargate on Monday, and couldn’t keep even half of SGU‘s already dismal viewership.  Sanctuary and Stargate have always had a similar audience, and Urban Legends could really benefit from that post-WWE time slot — so you did the logical thing and quickly switch them.

  • Now on Mondays at 10 p.m., Sanctuary is pulling in lower ratings than the already cancelled Stargate Universe.

What lessons is a programming executive to learn from this? Putting original (and expensive), scripted dramas on Tuesday nights during the fall season was a disaster.  Sanctuary is a good show, and it didn’t lose 40 percent of its audience because people decided to tune out.  It lost that audience because people expected to watch it on Friday night, where it’s always been and where science fiction has thrived on many networks. And because it had a monster lead-in there.

Now I understand that there are only three primetime hours per night, and you have a lot of good shows.  It helps the network tremendously to air original series on other nights of the week.  One million for a new original is better than 300,000 viewers from a repeat of Hercules.  But you must realize that the ratings for those shows will be proportionately lower than they were on Friday nights — about 40 percent, apparently.  Competing with the big networks on their big nights is still tough.

In short, cancelling SGU and Caprica because they couldn’t perform on Tuesdays was a mistake. You should own up to it.  You should admit that those shows would have performed much better (about 40 percent, apparently) on Fridays, and it’s your fault that they didn’t have the chance. They may well have earned enough viewers to warrant renewal.  But you decided not to nurture them, to give them the space and time they needed to solidify themselves creatively and in their audience.

You know that Stargate Universe is better now than it has ever been, and is even starting to win over some of the naysayers. But you cut it off at the knees, mid-story, without so much as a shortened season or mini-series to tie up this epic story in which you convinced us to involve ourselves.

Why? What was that one critical factor that brought an end to a 14-year franchise that made you a Top 10 cable network, that could have been your everlasting Law & Order or CSI?

Because wrestling has to air on Friday nights.

WWE Smackdown is your highest-rated show, far and away.  The fact that it is so highly rated — that no other show you make, scripted or unscripted, comes anywhere close — should tell you something.  I’d like to tell you it’s because it doesn’t belong on your network, but I’m resigned to the fact that it is a breadwinner.  But it is destroying good science fiction.  If you move it off of Friday nights, most of its loyal and ridiculously large audience will follow.  WWE does monster numbers for USA Network on Mondays. Wrestling fans will watch Smackdown instead of NCIS on Tuesdays, because they are already in the habit of not making good life choices.  Then your ratings still have the wrestling boost, but you’re back to having three hours of primetime real estate to nurture scripted drama.

Think of it this way: If your best friend moves out to the sticks, he’ll have a hard time convincing you to come and visit as often. But if you build a 50,000-seat sports arena in the sticks, fans will carpool and rent buses to get out there.

Big Show (right) prepares to finish off Stargate Universe (left) once and for all.

If you had renewed Stargate and demonstrated that your expectations for Tuesdays in the fall are proportionately lower (about 40 percent lower, apparently), we wouldn’t be having this conversation.  For the show’s creative growth, ultimately I don’t care how many people are watching it.  But to cancel one series and renew another, when the only ratings difference between the two was the night of the week you aired them, was incredibly short-sighted.

You’ve done great with Friday nights in the past, and you are doing great with Tuesdays in the summertime.  I think switching your summer dramas to Mondays will be an even greater success. I’m even happy with your foray into Mondays this winter and spring, even though it has been tougher-going. (I wonder if you had tried Mondays instead of Tuesdays back in October, if SGU might still be with us.)

But wrestling doesn’t belong on Fridays.  Your own ratings data shows that the scripted dramas you put there will thrive for years, and those that don’t get the coveted Friday hour — well, they get killed.  Not because of the show. Because none but the most loyalist follower want to watch an intense, thought-provoking science fiction drama at 10 o’clock on a Tuesday.

Syfy, move WWE Smackdown off of Friday nights. It does great there, and it will do great elsewhere.  It will make your Tuesdays or your Thursdays amazing.  But, more importantly, it will free up the Friday schedule to allow you to support scripted drama again.  Then all of your shows will thrive, and your ratings averages and your bottom line will shine even brighter. As the schedule stands, wrestling isn’t complimenting your scripted science fiction — it is destroying it.

These shows deserve it, and your viewers who watch you because they love science fiction deserve it.  Without it, you aren’t going to be a haven for science fiction any more.  You’ll just be like everyone else.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 (212):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • I think i speak for SGU and science fiction fans when I say thank you Darren well said!!!

  • Now did you send this to Syfy? I’ve also read an article about a month or two ago and they pretty much said the same kind of stuff you were talking about. The head over at Syfy has complete disdain for the actual Sci-Fi drama and is slowly but surely trying to do what he/she can to kill it and it all makes sense with what we see happening over there. Its sad. Reality TV is a joke. Its so annoying seeing a show on TV that is a clear case of “everyone and their mom can get a reality show”. Reality TV really takes the art of acting out of TV. Its not the way to go.

  • the most clever, and balanced comments, that i had ever read about the science fiction gendere and its relation to scifi (SyFy) Network, i readed and its compells me to register to comment, and i think its, alot considering that when that network start, i was just on the verge of wainting it to get latinamerica, but since SG-1 , cancelation, that i did understand but get me angry any way, you know 10 years, 2 season with a diferent lead character, that in my opnion was brilliant all things considered (richard dean anderson shoes), then Movies, and Atlantis cancellation, i belive in the top of the ratings, not exactly in a cliffhanger, but i belive is terribly to let grown spectation, a the smash downs those hopes, but i undesrtand it was a world economy meltdown that coast many peoples jobs, homes, the MGM studios collapses, etc…so the fans buyed and wait, i wonder if the economy hadn’t fall a part did we still have Atlantis or the life spectancy of series is just 5 years, i remember the comments of SG-1 producers about creativity block that was so deseperate tha made mayor jack o’niell a Generall. Yours opinios its a relief son i can say i am really pist with the network, i really give the show its oportunity and it work for me i will miss all what its was about…

  • I didn’t think lead-ins mattered. I guess I overestimated the average american viewer, I won’t do so again.

  • Thank you Darren. You have described everything I have felt ever since SGU got moved to Tuesdays. I knew then it wouldn’t be long before it was cancelled. Now with the move for Sancuary. I don’t see them keeping it past the next season (thankfully they renewed it before the Tuesday move). SyFy has almost completely lost me as a viewer. The only shows I’ll be watching after SGU is finished is Sanctuary and Eureka. When they are done, so will I be. They have forgotten who was the reason the station was created for in the first place. Maybe someday, they will remember but it will be too late for many of us.

  • This is the absolute truth, well said.

    Thankfully the current owners of SyFy aren’t the former execs of FOX, who happened to cancel so many other great sci-fi series(X-Files, Firefly, etc.), so they’ll read this and come to their senses.

    Oh… wait… NEVERMIND.

    Sigh… Keep fighting the good fight, Darren. Those of us without as loud of a voice are with you.

  • I have no need to say anymroe, everything has been said. I just want to say…On behalf of not only Stargate fans, but fans of Science Fiction itself….Thank you Darren. Thank you.

  • Here Here! Well said Darren, I couldn’t agree more! I have long lammented the loss of the glory days on “Sci-Fi Fridays”. Lets hope the powers that be at SYFY hear you and right there ship before the loose all of their loyal veiwers. Though with Stargate gone, I’m not sure that is even possible anymore. For me the only shows they have I’m even interested in anymore are Sanctuary and Battlestar Blood and Chrome.

  • I don’t think Smackdown can be moved due to the WWE requires it to stay where it is, which lends credence to WHY THE HELL IS SMACKDOWN ON SYFY. The SciFi channel is DEAD and that’s why Stargate is going to die next week. I realized when they changed their name to Syfy Science fiction wouldn’t have a home anymore. Hell I can get better Science Fiction from Chiller. It’s over folks. They screwed us on Stargate and eventually Syfy will flirt with an all unscripted tv weekly schedule. Eventually Being Human and all those other new shows will get cancelled due to “ratings” cause that’s what the Lifetime lady looks at when she’s delivering her report to her new bosses at Comcast. Stargate is dead and sadly so is Science Fiction. With over 800 channels we are again scattered into the wind and now have to search out great science fiction. It was a great run, but we all need to accept that Syfy isn’t Science Fiction channel anymore. It’s a carbon copy of USA. Let’s just accept it and move on then we won’t be so angered when they cancel things like SGU.

  • I love it, it’s exactly what I was thinking. Syfy didn’t even give SGU a chance to rebound on a better night. For a franchise that has been going strong for 14 years, SGU deserved the chance to go back to Friday’s, even if Syfy would only take one show to follow wrestling. Now, it’s even sadder that SGU is being cancelled, given the awesome episodes that were being aired. This is something that I really wanted to see play out in a third season, but it looks like I won’t ever get that chance, until SGU gets picked up by another network.

  • We have nobody to blame but ourselves for not being 10 million people. I did my part by being 10 people, but the rest of you just weren’t even trying.

  • Well said Darren. However I would have been more blunt about. III guess some of us can be diplomatic and other prefer blunt. I have to agree with saxgod though. Science Fiction is dead of Syfy. I already miss the glory days of SG-1, Atlantis Battlestar Galactica. That was when Sci-Fi existed and they lived up to their name. I understand the idea behind ratings and I understand the need for them. However you can not put a great show like SGU against the likes of Castle (an other great show BTW) and other heavy ratings pullers. Its suicide. I honestly dont like Sanctuary, Its not my thing. But it doesnt change the fact.that other dont like it. I also feel that it is a HUGE mistake to put someone at the head of a Science Fiction channel who utterly hates and loths the genra. Its like putting a Columbian drug Czar at the head of the DEA. Doesnt make a damn bit of logical sense. But oh well. I know SyFy wont listen, us peons dont know what we are talking about and have to be force fed this horses&%t they call tv…

  • I actually just sent a link to this article along with some personal opinions to SyFy through their feedback email. I would love to have an email address for somebody on the top though so I can make sure they get it.

  • Darren, do you think SGU was getting enough viewers to continue, even when it was on Fridays? I don’t think it was. I agree that if there had been a Sci Fi Friday type of thing where SGA continued/SGU/Sanctuary all aired together, SGU would have fared better. It would have given it more time to find itself, as evidently these seson 2 episodes are much better than the season 1 ones were. But hanging out there, all by itself and not capturing the audiences imagination in that first year was it’s downfall. Since it was the only SG on it was easy to fall away as a viewer. If it had been run along with SGA, people would have been tuning in to see SGA, and would have been “in the neighborhood” so to speak, while SGU found it’s footing. Cross promotions, cross overs, events with the two casts would have been a great help, IMO. But no, they were bound and determined to go it alone, in a bold new direction and see where that got them! Sometimes you need to stand on the shoulders of your parent a bit before diving into the ocean.

  • A well thought out article. It was a pleasure to read and even better: it is true!
    Long live SciFi!

  • Thanks, Darren, for putting into words what so many of us are thinking. The alarm bells started going off when the name changed to SyFy and have grown louder ever since. If it weren’t for Eureka and Sanctuary, I would never watch the channel at all, and I fear for them too. That being said, the viewers who are out there not making the good life choices seem to be driving the bus right now..

  • Sylvia, it’s tough to compare the pre-wrestling world on Syfy with the post-wrestling world. Before WWE, SGU was doing “OK” on Friday nights, but not great. As the article says, its ratings were falling. I’d ascribe various factors to that, including periods where it was airing all by itself with no companion drama. And yes, I think the show itself (namely the pace of Season One, especially the first half) bears a lot of the blame.

    Who knows where the ratings for SGU would have ended up if it had stayed on Fridays. I’d bet good money that, if it had WWE as its lead-in, it would have done as well as Sanctuary did.

    But after Season One, when Syfy blocked out two-thirds of Friday night with WWE Smackdown, it became a different ballgame. The fact that the renewed show is now doing worse than the cancelled show on Mondays is very telling. That’s nothing against Sanctuary. It’s just to point out that sci-fi cancelled both of its fall dramas that weren’t airing on Friday with a 2.5-million lead-in audience.

    The double cancellation seems to indicate that Syfy didn’t lower its expectations for Tuesday nights enough. If they want to air dramas there, they need to be happy with 1 million averages.

  • Didn’t SciFi have wrestling on Tuesdays for several years anyway? Guess they wanted the Friday one instead?

  • @Darren, I suppose the producers of shows will have to learn to make cheaper series than SGU, in order for Syfy to be happy with lower ratings.

    But would we want to see Stargate made on the cheap? I’m not sure how they could do it. It is why there are so many crappy reality shows. A drama that generates profit with one million people watching would, necessarily be low on SFX, name actors and set locations. Someone who could produce a cost-effective scripted sci-fi show that was good would have my undying gratitude!

  • Well said, Darren, but I believe it’s falling on deaf ears as far as SyFy’s concerned. It’s terrible not only for the existence of scripted science fiction but for the little brains out there, starved for a weekly dose of powerful what-if’s and could-be’s. It’s those brains we lose. Wrestling never sent anyone into space, no matter how hard they throw.

  • AMEN DARREN!!!! We ALL should push for this!! How can this end now with NOTHING for a resolution!? Give us SOMETHING, my gosh!

  • Also, remember Tremors, the Series!!!

    I really enjoyed that show, even though they went off the beaten path sometimes. I was so hoping they’d bring back some movie actors for cameo’s. I miss that series too!!

  • I normally just read the posts here but I had to register just to say that this one is barking right up the exact same tree that I have been ever since it was cancelled. Sci Fi has gotten into a routine of murdering its originals in favor of garbage like wrestling (which has nothing to do with Sci Fi!). Despite that, it would thrive on any night; it doesn’t matter. Why SciFi can’t figure that out is beyond me.

    SGU was one of the most thought provoking of the series. It used real life theory and spun it in its own way in great Stargate Fashion. A signal in the Microwave Background? Man, I’m pissed that we’re never going to see what they came up with for THAT! The Naysayers might not have liked the move toward a mainstream story regarding the character relationships, but my Wife actually liked it. That says a lot, she is not a Sci Fi fan. Its too bad.

    Well anyways, Thank you Sci Fi for murdering the franchise.

  • THANK YOU DARREN!!! Thank you for saying what I am sure many people have been saying every since wrestling showed up on SciFi or SyFy. Thank you!

  • You, my boy, Darren are 100% correct with your statement. It doesn’t belong with SyFy. How i would like for Canada’s Space to be available worldwide.

  • its obvious.

    they changed their name to get OUT of sci-fi.

    they want be just another network and air whatever makes them money. we were asked to ‘Imagine Greater’. …apparently Wrestling is greater.

  • Nicely said, but I highly doubt anyone from SyFy will read it, or actually take something from it. It’s a shame that we lost Stargate because of their idiotism, and it’s a shame we will lose Sanctuary because of the exact same reason. Unfortunately, this obviously is the path they’ve taken, I don’t think there will be any changes.

    Oh, and Farscape was cancelled too in case you already forgot… just saying.

    What I don’t understand, though, is why didn’t MGM try to make a deal with Canadian SPACE and British Sky One together? Why does it have to be American Syfy thats the “main TV” that makes it or breaks it? I don’t get it, really.

  • Completely agree with this article. The sad part is, there will be nothing worth watching on TV at a normal hour after next week. It’s a sad day in the Stargate world… :(

  • Well said Darren!! And THANK YOU.

    Unfortunately,as someone said it IS falling on deaf ears and why?Because the contents of heads those ears are on are empty.As you said,they ARE hurting themselves in the longterm by insisting on this self-destructive path.Smart business decision making on part of a former SciFi would be able to keep it’s original audience and then expand it some more for the sake of a $$.That would benefit all.As it turns out smart is too much to ask,just as is fair and loyal,or respect toward it’s long term viewers etc.
    And although I don’t think all this is a writing on the wall,it is true and absolutely needed to be said..writing on the wall was a name change two years ago and directly preceeding as well as immediately following programming policy change.Ending SGA being just the most prominent and noticable first step.Accompanied and soon followed by many others.Many of us saw it immediately as a very ominous sign and sadly were right.
    Anyway this is not a writing on the wall,this is not even a symptom of a disease..this is already an illness,a very serious,long term and I’m afraid possibly a fatal one.One might say the beginning of the end.

    Darren,thanks for joining the rest of us former SciFi fans and viewers that have always been there and were not just visitors during mindless “fun” absolutely despised by every SF fan,called Smackdown,in our outrage.

    Unfortunately SyFy is being bombarded on a daily basis with such letters and campaigns,but it looks like it’s too late for that patient.
    Words and letters are not enough anymore,but losing viewers on a mass scale might be.
    In the end that language,the language of numbers is the only one they understand.If they had a little bit of common sense,they’d also be able to project those numbers long term regarding business consequences as a result of their actions,or the lack of it,as well!

    Unfortunately common sense is also on the list of things that are just too much to ask of current SyFy executives.

  • So Say We All!

    If they return to what made them great, I will happily return my viewership to those programs that brought me to them in the first place, and that they haven’t cancelled yet (not to mention some of the new ones that looking interesting).

    There is a reason I tend to avoid investing my time in shows on network television, and Darren articulates it pretty well in his opening paragraphs.

  • While all this is true, @dr_pants is right. All the “die-hard” Stargate and BSG fans who shunned SGU and Caprica are a huge part of the problem.

  • Hi everybody!!! I am from Bulgaria, Europe!!!
    I m glad finally to be a part from GATEWORLD family!!!

    In my country Wrestling is wathing from the people between 8 and 20/max/ years old, ad it s airing sat and sun days on a comedy channel in 11.00 and 12.00pm!!!
    I think it s a biiiiggg shame Sy Fy to airing it esspeccialy in prime time!
    For shows like a Face off and Ghost…. even not to speak!!
    In our sy fy channel airing only science fiction no programs for CARTOONNETWORK
    :-O!!!
    Even i ve never ssn the program of SY FY, in what i reading it s looking as a channel moving to a black whole -shame!!!!

  • Wow, Darren. You put into words all that I feel. It sounds silly to my friends, but I mourn the end of this great franchise. I am truly saddened by the poor choices made by Syfy. Like many great scifi fans, I have kids and I have a demanding job. Tuning in during the week is so difficult if not impossible. Forget competition from the networks. Nothing on TV can compete with my son’s sports or the many other activities pre-scheduled on weeknights. TV will lose every time. I always catch up on my DVR but it’s not always the same day so apparently my viewership doesn’t count. I almost always used to watch SG live on Friday nights. I just can’t do it during the week. So now I must mourn the passing of a great story that captured and held my imagination beginning so many years ago. I fear it will be a very long time before anything can come even close to doing so again.

  • So Say We All!
    I am so ticked beyond words that they pulled SGU. It was there. I loved my Friday nights with SG1. Sam says something smart, Daniel gets in a bind, Jack says something witty, Tel’c raises an eyebrow. But SGU was an actual drama with VERY diverse characters and plots and they just killed it. Last weeks episode where it showed the “alternate them’s” development was brilliant.
    Friday night is what built that network and they are alienating the people that supported them. Well written article!

  • We should all BOYCOTT Syfy For cancelling SGU!!!They shall fall like they made SGU fall!!!
    Who’s with me?! RENEW SGU OR YOU WILL FACE THE SAME FAITH SYFY.

  • As someone who was an avid follower of the WWF/WWE, I know that Smackdown is taped, whereas Raw is a live show. Since Smackdown is typically taped on a Tuesday, they would have no issue moving the show back to Thursday night, where it was for its first 6 years. I believe the move to Friday was originally a way to boost ratings for them when they were experiencing a slump, but as noted in the article, I’m confident that the fans would follow the switch.

    SGU is a lost cause at this point, and there’s no bringing it back, but let’s hope that Syfy will not make the same mistakes on other shows which still have a chance. Syfy cannot sit idly by and appease the wrestling shows to balance out their ratings, because it is killing their main demographic. Do they really think the majority of the people watching Smackdown are going to stick around to watch Scifi shows?

  • Darren, VERY well written and professionally backed up with their own numbers… I love the old Scifi channel and am not boycotting the channel for this one show, but their actions overall….Not investing my time and attention in another show on this channel…I would love to see BBC America expand their SCFI lineup…

  • That was one of the better written articles I have seen in some time, my only question is, why is this not in a petition type of article so that we may sign it.

  • Science fiction is to SyFy channel, as music videos are to MTV. This world is going bonkers. Science fiction content is going to be a serious non-factor with no viable entity soon. SyFy is totally losing any credibility they have left. Shoot their programming is so wacky they just began airing Starblazers on thursday nights. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up watching and loving Starblazers and it’s a mad classic (FIRE WAVE MOTION GUN!!) but what current generation viewer is gonna give it the time of day or any respect with its extremely dated visuals? Stop the crazyness and give us what we want to see. Give us Stargate!

  • I have also forwarded this letter to feedback@syfy.com

    Anyone who agrees with it should. 1000 people saying the same thing, will ensure someone up the chain reads it.

  • Well with comcast running NBC now there may be some big changes in the works.

    I can see G4 and SYFY becoming one channel.

    versus is going to be renamed and may become show some of the stuff on the universal sports channel (right it’s a sub channel but there are roomers of it going HD but It can’t as a sub channel)

    so the new g4 can become versus 2 and pick alot of the hunting, bull riding , WWE, ninja warrior type shows.

    chiller can become syfy 2 or syfy movie channel.

  • Forgot to mention that Darren is 100% with his views on this one. Well said sir!

  • a very good read indeed.

    don’t worry.

    SYFY or scifi or however they call themselves now will die with Stargate and Sanctuary.

    they killed off one of the best shows of the moment.
    and the shows are taking syfy with em.

  • Well said. thank you for this. I’ve been saying similar things while watching SGU. To end a 17 year (to my count) franchise the way SyFy did. Is in my personal opinion, an absolute slap to the face of SG fans… Just saying.

  • @Syfy (VP Craig Engler) tweeted the following to Gateworld today:

    @GateWorld I think the real issue is that running on Fri, straight through, 1/3 of the audience who tried by ep 3 left by ep 6.

    @GateWorld Typo…by 7. Then we saw a promising recovery in 8/9, then a big drop at 10, then another small recovery after hiatus for 11/12

    @GateWorld Hard to say. By that point I think everyone who was going to sample the show had watched & made up their minds.

    @GateWorld It’s frustrating because the audience grew from 1-3…not a lot, but any growth during first few eps is usually quite promising

    @GateWorld In hindsight I also think 1-3 being somewhat self-contained unintentionally provided an easy break point for sampling viewers.

    @GateWorld Night of the week and lead-in always matter. TV is a complex beast…hundreds of factors impact shows also, not just the obvious.

    @GateWorld Too soon to say about Mondays though. Change is still quite recent. We’ll see how it does.

    @darryljholmes No game. As I explained to @Gateworld, the issues SGU had retaining viewers were on Fri nights well before wrestling.

    @darryljholmes In fact, @Gateworld suggested to me that wrestling might be a good lead in for #SGU.

  • We have nobody to blame but ourselves for not being 10 million people. I did my part by being 10 people, but the rest of you just weren’t even trying.

    dr_pants | May 4 @ 10:38 am

    How many of gateworld watchers are located in the us where they have the SYFY channel ?

    the only one who can do something must have the channel with the stuped neilson box

    they really should make a scifi genre tv channel for online with new series and so on and without location block … if the watch raitings are so importent … if sgu would get global raitings it would have survived but as it’s only for us then it’s just mentaly stuped … whats the point to sell tv shows to other countray tv channels if there channel raitings dont count and there fan base have no meaning to syfy and so on

  • “But to cancel one series and renew another, when the only ratings difference between the two was the night of the week you aired them, was incredibly short-sighted.”

    While I agree with a lot that you say here, I have to take issue with this statement. SGU was not just canceled because its ratings went down due to the change of night. While that was clearly a factor, it wasn’t the only the problem. The show had rapidly declining ratings on Friday night before the switch AND SGU cost a huge amount of money per episode.

    The difference between SGU and Sanctuary wasn’t just that they aired on different nights. One cost substantially more than the other. And one was rapidly bleeding viewers while the other had fairly steady (although modest) ratings.

    I have no doubt that SGU would have done better ratings-wise had it stayed on Fridays and gotten the WWE lead-in. But to argue that it would have made high enough ratings to justify the cost of the show is grasping at straws. According to Craig Engler, if SGU had made the type of ratings Sanctuary was making on Friday, SGU would still have been canceled. It needed to continue making the type of ratings it was getting in the first half of season one and it certainly wasn’t going to get those kind of ratings again. Even with the WWE lead-in.

  • Kudos for your statement, Darren. You’ve expressed what I long thought of SyFy’s descent into mediocrity. Never understood their explanation for the name change, was astounded that we long time fans who watched this channel from its premiere where being forced to “imagine greater” through no brain wrestling.

    I think one aspect of your summation should have included something about the inadequate recording of viewers through the Nielsen system. Time-shifted viewers like myself watched these shows but weren’t counted. And cord-cutters viewing online also should be counted within these ratings as a more accurate sampling of viewers.

    I sat through all those early years with repeats of old sci-fi shows waiting for new content and when we finally got it actively supported with my viewership & money to sponsors. We made them a destination on Friday nights for years.

    When SyFy announced they were moving SGU to Tuesday nights and still didn’t support the show with ads on other stations, I knew they were looking to kill it off. SGU kept getting shifted in time slot and they are now doing the same with Santuary. I don’t watch that show – it’s not my cup of tea, but I can see they haven’t learned from their mistakes with SGU.

    It’s a real shame that US viewers have allowed themselves to degenerate into mindless reality show automatons. Does no one appreciate great drama and absolutely brilliant production values. Where did patience go. Where did SyFy loose its understanding of who made it’s name?

  • I would have been far harsher than Darren, but essentially I agree. I can only dvr on Monday nights; there’s too much good programming I’m committed to elsewhere in the Tele-verse. Too many things SyFy did wrong – from adopting these schizophrenic breaks in programming and rescheduling – I mean, there was NO advertising that I saw for the sudden change to Mondays for Sanctuary (and who else remembers the confusion they caused by changing the return of Caprica, thereby guaranteeing the final nails?). And putting it opposite Castle… who came up with THAT bit of genius? These people simply do not know their jobs or their markets. I refuse to watch any kind of reality programming, and wrestling on a science fiction oriented channel is an insult to the viewership. Truthfully, I’ve given up on the ‘SyFy’ channel.

  • I really wish that television networks would listen to fans Darren but, sadly, they don’t really give a s***. The fact is that fictional drama of any kind isn’t what brings the money in; reality-TV, sports events and these boring “stand up and be my promoter” shows are. The majority of pitches are mothballed after a single season or even a Pilot. Why? Because half the people who run the networks don’t actually bother to watch them, and the other half worry more about how much they are spending on the advertising and when it will appear alongside something they are getting commissions from Pay-Per-View.

    In a number of ways I was glad that a network like Syfy took Sanctuary and made it a fully-funded television show… after what they’ve done with SGU, however, I think productions are much better if they find ways to fund the shows themselves so they can decide when they appear, away from live events that are meant solely to provide revenues to networks that don’t care about the “cult” audiences.

  • I’m home this week and so have been watching the marathon of Stargate on SyFY. At one point, one of their commercials advertising SGU’s series finale was Telford saying “there’s only the day that this ship dies”. What a slap in the face!

    I turned it off. I can watch my dvds of SG1, SGA & SGU instead. I’ll turn it back on to watch SGU end its brilliant short life. Then I vote with my remote to not watch SyFy again. I can always watch Chrome if it’s any good elsewhere.

  • Thank you Darren! Well said! :) Although, I’m afraid that TPTB of Syfy don’t really care about sci-fi anymore. When SGU ends on Monday, I will no longer be watching Syfy. I’ll have no need for them anymore.

  • I’m sorry if I come across as a jerk as I say this but I felt compelled to comment about one thing.

    I agree with pretty much everything in this article except for one thing: “Wrestling fans will watch Smackdown instead of NCIS on Tuesdays, because they are already in the habit of not making good life choices.”

    Please alloy me to explain why I say that I do not agree with that. I love science fiction. Star Trek, Stargate, BSG, Farscape, Lexx, and a number of others. But I also like wrestling. I have ever since I was a child (I’m 30 now). I completely disagreed and never understood why they were moving Smackdown to syfy. And I was afraid that this exact situation might happen. But to insinuate that just because somebody watches wrestling then they have a habit of not making good life choices is wrong in my opinion. Just because you blame wrestling for killing Stargate and possibly other shows, which I also do to an extent but I also blame the syfy channel itself, doesn’t mean you need to offend people that actually to watch wrestling. I understand that most people here probably do not watch wrestling, but those that do didn’t really deserve it. I just feel like it was an unneeded comment.

    Like I said I’m sorry if I came across as a jerk. That was not my intent. I wanted to be respectful in addressing this. I like this site and I respect Darren and enjoy his reporting.

    With that being said I am in agreement with pretty much everybody else in that after the death of Stargate next week syfy will be pretty much useless to me. Except for maybe Smackdown. Vampires and wearwolves do not interest me. I tried Sanctuary, Eureka, and Warehouse 13 when they were just starting but could never get into them for some reason. I prefer not to watch fake ghost hunting shows. I may have stayed to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles if I hadn’t already watched it when it was coming out new.

  • people com’on even true blood, the tudors, secret diary of a call girl, nurse jackie have better ratings than sgu. sorry folks! its not stargate anymore its more of a soap opera stuck in space. jmo

    darren, my question to you is why did it take you this long to write to syfy? you could of helped the sga fans with this you know but your turned your back and started to delete post and threads that had to do with the campaign to help save the show.

    @StargateDominator now you want people to boycott this channel? this is funny because many people have been doing this since sgu premired and

  • Your letter to the Syfy execs was awesome…it’s a shame that it will fall upon deaf ears (or blind eyes as it were). The current execs of Syfy (i.e. Bonnie Hammer and the rest of the former Lifetime TV crew) aren’t interested in the genre and have no desire to see it flourish on this or any other channel.

    To be honest, I expect that Syfy has another two years tops before it is deemed to be a failed venture and is transformed into something else not even resembling or supporting the SF/Fantasy genre. To be honest, I knew that it was the beginning of the end with their acquisition of ECW. They could easily move Smackdown to Thursday nights (the Smackdown show, unlike Raw is taped on Tuesday night in the next city on the WWE schedule) and give Spike some competition with TNA like in the old days (when Monday night Raw on USA competed with WCW’s Nitro). But, that’s not going to happen…the decision to move SG:U and Sanctuary is about killing both shows, and making way for more reality shows.

    By the way, regarding your observation on reality shows; realize that the other attraction for networks picking up reality shows is because they are also very easily disposable when the network decides to cancel them.

    In closing, I would like for me to be proven wrong on all of this, but it’s not likely…. Again; awesome letter and thank you for writing it.

  • Darren, I have 4 words to say to you about your opinion: SO SAY WE ALL!!!!!!

  • But lets not forget the super cool new ORIGINAL show called “Alphas..” Can you imagine it? About people with “abilities.” Hmmmm, what a great idea.

    What I dont get is why some other group doesn’t snag Stargate and take it like sci fi did from showtime– Maybe the first internet only tv station should be created to do quality shows for subscription… time to think in the 21 st century.

    Anyway, well said Darren. Well said.

  • The words in this article that stuck with me the most were:

    “none but the most loyalist follower want to watch an intense, thought-provoking science fiction drama at 10 o’clock on a Tuesday.”

    Ya know what I do on a Tuesday night?
    1. take a nap because I’m tired from work
    2. Make sure I’m ready for work on Wednesday

    No, I don’t have enough energy or patience to watch a show with a strong plot like SGU or Caprica.
    I usually watch – if I watch anything – something more relaxing, funny, or otherwise casual.

    Something like wrestling
    Wouldn’t call myself a wrestling fan but I do watch the Monday night event some of the time.
    And a weekday is a fine day for this kind of thing

    Aside from that, I think it should be made clear to whomever you sent this, that your letter embodies the sentiment of the entire gateworld community and science fiction fans as a whole.
    Thank you very much for this article, your letter to the network, and all your efforts.

  • Awesome and truthful post. I do hope you send this and if you do I would love to sign my name on there in big bold letters for those people to see. Honestly, best news. editorial. post. ever.

  • @ShepardRahl: But was his larger point correct, that you would watch Smackdown over NCIS? Snide comment aside, I think he’s right that the demographics of the two shows, and really most prime time TV, are different enough that Smackdown would succeed no matter where you put it.

    Even if Chrome turns out to be any good (not a guarantee after seeing how Caprica turned out) Syfy will still be extremely weak when it comes to original programming. Sanctuary, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Haven, Being Human, Alpha’s (if it isn’t terrible like Painkiller Jane), and Chrome (if it isn’t terrible like Caprica). That’s it. Some of their reality offerings are fairly original or at least follow a general scifi theme. Ghost Hunters is terrible and D-movie Saturdays are just sad. Stargate was the one dynasty they had and they killed it dead. Atlantis still had a lot of life left in it. SG-1 with a new team would have been great. Hell, a show about one of the Daedalus-class ships would have been cool too (Stargatetrek).

  • This article struck me as more than a little silly and while I don’t want to come off as a jerk I have to say that it’s a bit ludicrous to blame Smackdown for SGU’s cancellation. The fact is that SGU had a quite a rough start and that went a long way towards crippling it. The first few episodes weren’t good, a lot of SG-1 and SGA fans were put off by the new tone of the show and I have to admit I was one of them. They seemed to be making a desperate grab for the critical acclaim that followed Battlestar Galactica around and while I loved that show SGU was sort of clumsy in how it went about it from the ham handed religious visions to music that sounded like it had been lifted from BSG. And yeah, it did definitely get better over time but it was such a bad start I’m not sure it mattered. I only stayed watching the show because of Robert Carlyle and that’s the only reason I managed to hang in till the writers found their stride.

    And now even though it’s a good it’s ratings aren’t. But it’s ratings were never that good, even when it was on Fridays, so it’s ludicrous to blame Smackdown for killing SGU. Sure, it mightn’t have helped but honestly season 1 did more damage than wrestling ever could do. I would have loved a season 3 of SGU but it didn’t happen and I don’t blame Syfy for that. SGU had big ambitions and big cast and while I certainly don’t know the numbers I can’t imagine it was a cheap show to finance and considering the viewing figures Syfy was getting it’s hard to blame them. I really don’t think being on Fridays could have salvaged the show because it took the show a long time to find it’s feet.

    A lot of things damaged SGU and you can’t just ignore these things and blame Smackdown. I’ve been a fan of Stargate for a long time now and while I am sorry to see it end I don’t think I’m ever going to blame Vince McMahon for it

  • The only thing you’re flat out wrong about is that moving programming to *Monday* is a good idea. Sorry, but almost every single Stargate fan I know watches Castle (and I know quite a few Stargate fans). And frankly, most of them enjoy Castle more than they enjoyed the latest variant of Stargate. They definitely like it more than Sanctuary. I’m not sure anything SyFy puts on Monday night can compete with the legacy of Nathan Fillion and Firefly (except maybe wrestling). Considering that CSI Miami vacated the timeslot this season, and moved to Sunday nights, I’m not sure this is a good timeslot to be delving into. CSI Miami has been on since 2002, and I’m sure they didn’t make the decision to move one of their most solidly-performing shows to another night lightly. I think it will only secure the untimely demise of other shows that were otherwise performing adequately. In fact, truthfully, I think that’s part of SyFy’s plan. In a few years, there’ll be nothing remotely sci-fi left – which is exactly how they want it.

  • Very well said Darren, you said exactly what we all who like SGU and Caprica and good Sci-fi feel right now! I fear though that the damage is done. Warehouse 13 and Eureka and Sanctuary have their loyal audiences (I’m one of them) but myself and almost everyone I talk to is of the same opinion: won’t be bothering with any new shows on SyFy. I know right now things aren’t much different, but I bet within a year you will see ratings drops on ALL SyFy series as a result of their actions this past fall and winter. SyFy needs to do something to put themselves back in the good graces of loyal viewers. Maybe it will take something to finish off SGU’s story, I don’t know. I still believe that if there is enough fan demand and SyFy orders it they could pull everyone back together, because everyone really enjoyed working on it.

    SyFy needs to do something fast or in a few short years risk loosing more of its audience.

  • Oh, something I forgot to mention: What if SyFy tried the approach of airing all of its scripted shows like Eureka and Stargate in the summer/winter, and airing its reality based series like Ghost Hunters and Urban Legends in the fall/spring? I think that would work really well for the network, as fans hungry for more scripted shows in the summer would tune in. You would get higher viewers and wouldn’t risk those lower numbers that advertisers hate. Meanwhile, if your reality shows don’t get higher numbers, that’s okay because they’re not expensive thus there’s not a huge loss there.

  • Like everyone else, I agree with Mr. Sumner. I would add, however, that part of the problem is that SO MANY months go by between seasons or half-seasons. By the time a show comes back on, it’s hard to remember to watch or something else is going on. Friday night was the perfect time to unwind after a long week and watch a good sci-fi show (preferably SG-1 and then Atlantis). Moving Sanctuary to Monday nights was a HORRIBLE idea. I love Hawaii Five-O, and I like Castle. Thank-goodness for On-Demand and/or Web sites that show full episodes.

  • Sadly, this is about nothing more than money in and money out.

    Scripted series are expensive… and they get more expensive over time as talent demand salary increases.

    Reality and wrestling unreality schlock have lower and more predictable costs.

    So… without SPECTACULAR ratings, scripted at a huge disadvantage.

    It’s one of the problems with 24/7 programming. It’s a hog, and it doesn’t mind garbage.

  • Word!!!!! This all true. Great info and insight. If only Syfy exects could get this.

  • The only reason I even to cable was to watch Stargate on Sci Fi. I cancelled my cable in 2008, and I refuse to resubscribe until wrestling is removed from Sci Fi.

  • Hell. Yes. You have laid out in the most amazing, beautiful and logical way all the feelings that have of late been bubbling out of me in the form of shrieked curse laden quasi-sentences.

  • well at risk of getting flamed on here i would just like 2 say that i do like wrestling however i am angry at syfy for canceling stargate universe wrestling is in my opinion sports/drama/entertainment and has nothing whatsoever to do with sci-fi and does not belong on that network whats next dancing with the stars on a horror channel??? anyways we will always have this problem until tv networks change they way they do things moving shows around to suit specific time slots in an attempt 2 get better ratings is just stupid and selfish cos we all know what happens 2 shows that dont get the ratings dont we? the simple fact is that people want to watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it and with just about everyone these days having a fast internet connection and some tvs and consoles that also connect to the internet the solution is simple bin the tv schedule and replace it with a index of shows for people to select and watch at any time they like and each time a show is viewed just like youtube for example will display how many views each episode gets so if there is genuinly no real interest at all in a show during a trial period then at least the network will know that show is a no go and suspend till a later date or cancel if things were done this way every show would get a fair chance and better all round for everyone its just a shame that this idea may never become a reality well not for a few decades anyway unless there is demand for a service like this what is needed is a petition or something demanding tv networks to change and embrace the future for the good of the shows the networks and the viewers i know i would rather pay for a service like this than risk getting into a show i might like in the future only 2 find out it will get canceled now thanx 2 syfy i will never watch another series tv show on their network again until they stop canceling shows well thats my 2cents lol hope u guys n gals enjoyed the read :)

  • When Showtime dropped Stargate, I dropped Showtime. As the decade has gone by and most networks have gone to rerunning remade or very low-budget movies, I’ve stopped watching most TV. I am down to about 6 shows and some late night talk shows on occasion. Sy Fy has 3 scripted series left that I watch: Stargate (oops), Sanctuary, Eureka, and 2 other good ones, Warehouse 13 and Merlin. NBC has Chuck, ABC has Cougar Town (not sci fi at all, but it is Courtney Cox). And my cable folks don’t carry BBC America, so I wait for the DVDs on Dr. Who. As these drop off, my TV will become an ornament, other than the nuclear winter of DVDs I’ve acquired over the years. 500 channels of “reality,” tornados, Roman ruins, homes, food, and informercials…have fun!

  • I’m in the same boat Mike. I watch more but that list got a lot smaller this year with two of my longtime favorites, Stargate and Smallville ending (I’m happy for a nice ending to Smallville though, totally satisfied with it). The ones that I watch that I know will be back next season:

    Fringe, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Merlin, Game of Thrones, Warehouse 13, Sanctuary and Eureka. Chuck is still on the fence but I would bet more for it returning in some form than against it.

    You don’t have to worry about SyFy canceling Merlin.

    I watch some non-Sci-fi stuff like Castle and some Discovery stuff but my list of sci-fi shows is slowing getting smaller and I’m sure next year it’ll be even samller :( I don’t plan on watching anymore new shows at this point (except the BSG prequel show and POSSIBLY the FOX series Terra Nova out of shear curiosity).

  • Great article Darren. The one thing I want to know from Syfy is, why wrestling? I mean I understand wanting the ratings that wrestling brings but when SG-1/SGA fans started complaining that (btw, none of none of these complaints are mine. I love everything about SGU, I’m just stating what others have said about it)

    1. SGU has too much drama

    2. The characters are too immature.

    3. The characters complain too much.

    4. SGU is not a show I would want my kids watching.

    5. SGU doesn’t have enough science fiction.(I still don’t understand how a ship that fly’s trough stars to recharge its shields is not considered Sci-Fi enough by some people but it was an actual complaint that I read)

    These are just a few of the complaints that I read posted by fans of SG-1/SGA when SGU first aired.
    So why did Syfy replace it on friday nights with a show that

    1. Has more drama than a daytime soap.

    2. Has the most Immature acting grown men and women I have ever seen.

    3. Has wrestlers standing there for 10-20 minutes complaining about losing their last match.(years ago you could turn on a wrestling show and actually see some wrestling)

    4. I would much rather my kids grow up watching a show like SGU than to have them grow up learning from a stupid show like wrestling. (this is part of what is wrong with the current generation of young people, Just look who their teachers are, it saddens me to see how many parents let their kids learn this junk.)

    5. Someone PLEASE tell me where the Science fiction in wrestling is. (you don’t see wrestlers flying through stars to recharge their shields)

  • Guys some Shows just sucked and whould not lived another Season even when they were send in the beste Time Slot.

    Or why Does Doctor Who exists since 1963? plain and simple : MAKE GOOD SCIFI no matter how bad the FX look just dont kill the Story not with Drama

  • “Wrestling fans will watch Smackdown instead of NCIS on Tuesdays, because they are already in the habit of not making good life choices.” Classic!

  • Darren – while I do think you make some very valid points – especially I feel that moving SGU to Monday nights was a strange move, I do feel you’ve missed a very important point here; SGU’s ratings were poor by the end of the first season – poor for such an expensive show. It didn’t have stellar ratings to start with, I mean, 1.7HHr and 1.8? That’s very disappointing for the show’s premiere episodes, especially with such heavy advertising. It just couldn’t afford the exodus from the viewers that left in droves. There’s usually a signigicant loss of viewers by the end of a show’s first season and if your viewing figures aren’t excellent to start with? Well, you’re in trouble.

    I find it very strange that SyFy shows wrestling. I don’t see how that’s anything to even loosely do with science fiction! Though I’m no fan of it, I do find it a little rude to insult its viewers though – we don’t know them, and it really irritates me the way some scifi fans like to run around all over this site claiming intellectual superiority.

    However, I guess SyFy needs decent ratings to survive. It’s no good filling the channel with expensive scripted shows that don’t bring in enough ad revenue, is it? If it did this, surely it would go under? It’s a business that has to survive however it can. If it did really poorly, there’d be no channel to show scripted scifi on.

    SGU was very lucky to get a second season renewal, Engler has said on Twitter SGU needed 2.5 – 3 times higher live + same day than it was getting recently. Clearly it hasn’t had those sort of ratings for a LONG time, even in the back half season 1.

    The move to Tuesday for season 2 seemed logical. Clearly SGU wasn’t getting enough viewers. So try another night where other shows had done well. Try and garner some fresh viewers, as there are more around. It clearly didn’t work, but I can well understand the logic behind that move. ‘Hey, let’s give this failing show another chance to prove itself. We’re worried about it, it’s not pulling in what we expected or need, so let’s not give up on it, Brad et al have been good to us, let’s try again.’ That’s what I think was behind the move.

    So, while I do see that scripted shows are facing an uphill battle in such a competitive market, and let’s be honest, we all know scifi is a niche market anyway, I personally feel it’s the show itself that was one of the most major problems here. People tried, didn’t like, and moved on. I’m sure there are other factors too, but I can’t take the attitude that it’s mainly wrestling’s fault. I feel that’s naive, not looking at the cost of SGU and the fact it’s never been a big in the ratings or had critical acclaim in it’s first season.

  • After having a bit to think I have additional things to say. 1 the only show I will watch on SyFy is the new BSG series. I just hope they let it run longer then 2 years. 2. In addition to the name change to SyFy I also saw more writing on the wall was when the SG MMPORG games go bye bye. And 3 eith there being fan made Trek shows do you think the same thing can be done with SGU? I would give my left kidney to see the show through. I hate being left dangling.

  • Well written editorial Darren.

    Someone mentioned about WWE saying that Smackdown “has” to air Friday nights. It’s funny ’cause I remember the time when UPN had Smackdown on Thursday nights and did pretty good with it.

    I really don’t think that WWE is 100% in the drivers seat when they are in negotiations with cable companies. Heck Smackdown has been on at least 3 different cable stations in the last 10yrs. Doesn’t sound like a great track record for them either.

    I’m pretty sure if SyFy had told them that Friday nights were a no go that the WWE would have caved to another night. But alas when you have someone at the helm of the company that doesn’t care for science fiction then I guess the point it moot.

  • Are you saying that viewers are incapble of deciding what they like and don’t like and sit blindly watching something because it follows a programme they like. We all have free will Darren and the ability to watch something we like and to switch it off if we don’t like it.

    Not enough viewers liked SGU, the reasons have been listed over and over. Many gave it a chance and then stopped watching, how is that the fault of Wrestling. Wrestling brings in the revenue to Syfy to enable them to afford new scripted shows, but these shows still have to perform on their own merits and in relation to how expensive they are.

    SGU was a very expensive show that didn’t live up to its ratings expectations, it didn’t gain a new audience and could barely sustain its existing one. How is that the fault of Wrestling or Syfy. Syfy cannot demand what their audience watch. Wrestling will always be popular as are many of the big sports, you cannot compare a sporting phenonema like wrestling to science fiction which has always had a niche market.

    SGU was given the same chance to suceed as every other show that airs on Syfy. Other shows on Syfy have achieved much higher ratings than SGU, so that shows that science fiction can achieve good ratings if the show is appealing enough.

    The ratings for SGU had already plummeted while it was on Friday night. They were already on a downward spiral. But you feel that Syfy should have been happy with these mediocre ratings. Why do you think that Brad Wright and MGM decided to end SGA for SGU. They did it to gain a larger audience and to appeal to the mainstream audience, but they failed at both. Why do you think they should have settled for lower figures.

    SGU was moved to Tuesday in the hope of achieving more viewers. But it didnt work – because the problem was with the show itself. If it was due to the competition and the day why did WH13 manage to gain much higher ratings in the same time slot and with the same competition. Simple answer is because its a more popular show.

    SGA were achieving higher numbers in its 5th season than SGU was at the end of its first and would most likey have retained highter numbers if the writing and overall storytelling had not declined so much over the years.

    SGU took the franchise in a new direction that just didn’t appeal to enough viewers, plain and simple, if those viewers chose to watch wrestling or somehting else then that is because they didn’t think SGU was interesting enough or warranted their viewing for whatever reason. That is the right of every viewer.

    If Wrestling and Syfy were the cause of SGU failing then how can other shows manage to florish. How do you explain that. How do you explain why SGU failed in every other country it was aired in and there was no wresting or change of date or time to blame. How do you explain why it has failed so dismally in the UK. Why do you chose to ignore that main reason that SGU failed, it didn’t appeal to enough viewers. Why did 1 million stop watching in season one when it was on friday night, the so called prime time. Why did it continue to fail on Tuesday night when other shows florished.

    I doubt Syfy or MGM would have been happy with 1m viewers when they could achieve the same viewership for shows that cost a fraction of the cost, what business sense would that make. They cancelled SGA to increase their viewership, or so they hoped. Why would MGM put more money into SGU than they put into SGA and be content with lower ratings and less revenue.

    Shows like Wh13 have clearly shown that Syfy can indeed achieve higher ratings for their original scripted shows and that is down to the originality and talent of those producing those shows. WH13 has succeeded because it appeals to the viewing audience, SGU didn’t.

    Sanctuary is a far cheaper show than SGU and mabye the ratings that they are achieving now are sufficient because of the cheaper cost of the show. I think Syfy are aware that a monday 10pm slot is more likely to get less viewers than a 9pm slot on any other day of the week. But SGU didn’t just fail on one night, it failed on every night it was shown on, it failed in other countries when the night was never changed and there was no wrestling in the equation.

  • @blackhawlk: Lead-ins and lead-outs matter. If they didn’t — if every TV viewer sat down with TV Guide at dinner time and plotted out their strategy for television viewing that night — then Urban Legends wouldn’t have risen 211 percent when moved to the post-wrestling time slot.

    This is because most viewers will simply watch what’s on, unless they know that another show they like is on another network. Something has to motivate them to click that remote, whether positive (“NCIS is about to start over on CBS!”) or negative (“Oh geez, can we please not watch this?”).

    I’ve never denied that SGU had problems in holding on to viewers, or that it was an expensive show (and thus likely necessitated higher ratings to justify its renewal). Syfy is right to point out that that initial fall-off from episode 103 to episode 110 is significant. What I do deny is that the scheduling hasn’t impacted the ratings just as much.

    @All: For me, this is about one thing: 8 to 10 p.m. on Friday nights. These are two incredibly important hours for a scripted drama in the science fiction category, which we know already has an uphill climb to appeal to casual viewers (especially in the fall and spring seasons). We’ve even lost Syfy’s 10 p.m. hour now, and Sanctuary‘s live viewership is down 40 percent.

    Whatever else we might have to say about wrestling, network branding, SGU‘s inability to hold on to the viewers it started out with, etc. — by not airing scripted drama on Friday nights, the network is doing a disservice to science fiction television.

    If this article comes across as bemoaning the cancellation of SGU in particular, I’ve missed the target. It’s just the most obvious example, because it is a show that was moved off Friday nights and then cancelled. Would things have turned out different if it had stayed on Friday? Syfy suggests that the answer is no. But, of course, we’ll never know.

  • Darren – SGU was loosing viewers on FRIDAY night. How long did you want them to wait before doing anything.

    I’m really not sure what point you are trying to make. You are making contradictory statements. On the one hand you say that wrestling is killing science fiction but then you say it helped SGU as a lead in. Which is it. Wrestling has been airing on Fridays since 2005 and I havn’t seen any articles accusing it of kiling science fiction before.

    As explained numerous times now, the change from Friday happened because the ratings were plummetting. Did you expect Syfy to sit back and do nothing – just to hope that they would improve. Why should they continue to take a loss in the dim hope that the ratings would improve. They took action and tried a new day. Yes a competitive day, but also one with the most viewers. If SGU appealed it would have stood its ground, but it didn’t and the ratings went into cancellation territory. SGU was already cancelled before it was changed to Monday and the ratings didn’t really impact the outcome anymore.

    You have based your article on contradictions and what-ifs and feel the need to tell Syfy how they should run their business. SGU had 2 years to prove itself and find an audience, more than most shows would ever get.

    You also insinutate that your viewing preference is more important than the Wrestling viewer who is in the habit of making bad life choices. I don’t think Syfy can take into acount the preferences of individual viewers. They have to take the overall numbers into account and consider their profit margins, otherwise they would go under and then there would be no new scripted shows to air on Friday nights at all. Business’s cannot operate without making a profit.

    I watch shows on their own merits and have found some of my favourite shows from just flicking around with the remote control. I’m sure this is the same for many viewers. I may tune into something that looks interesting and because it followed a favourite programme, but I would quickly SWITH OFF if I didn’t like it. That’s how a show gains an audience. They keep watching if they like it and stop if they don’t. SGU had an audience but not enough kept watching.

  • @blackhawlk Two points.First Warehouse 13 airs during summer when the competition is very very different(non-existant).
    And the second thing..the fact that you call wrestling a big sporting event,well says it all now,doesn’t it?

  • “Wrestling fans will watch Smackdown instead of NCIS on Tuesdays, because they are already in the habit of not making good life choices.”

    Nicely put Darren but was it necessary to give a “back-hander” to wrestling fans? I’m a wrestling fan AND a Stargate fan. I have mourned the death of each Stargate series as much as the next person. It’s not the wrestling fans fault that SyFy have turned away from the fans that made them.

  • nice article but I don’t think wrestling or schedule change to monday affected SGU’s ratings performance. SGU didn’t do well on Friday and one could already predict early on that ratings wouldve continued to fall sharply. As for wrestling, it probably attracts more viewers to syfy who may or may not have at one time taken the chance to watch stargate. If you think the channel is getting dumber because of wrestling, well i can agree with that but i dont see how that led to SGU having horrible ratings. They gave it a shot, they had two serious sci-fi shows, which has never happened before, and it failed. I think they are beginning to understand what the majority of viewers really want and unfortunately their future schemes will cater to the mainstream. In my opinion they should start doing sitcoms that make fun of geeks. give them what they want.

  • Thank you Darren.. That’s all I can say, pretty much all anyone can say.. At least you’re doing something for us, so again, Thank you

  • wow great letter. well written, syfy wont listen or read. there are some people on this list here that want syfys address i have it somewhere if i find it i will post it

  • Amen! Once SGU goes I wont be watching the channel anymore. Its a shame, decent sci-fi is hard to find nowadays

  • Interesting letter Darren, but I must say that if SGU had been a worthy successor to SG1 and SGA, it would have found a home any evening with respectible ratings. But there are those of us who loved those previous shows that dislike the melodramatic flair of sgu. So the ratings went down and continued that slide to the end. For me, NOTHING could have induced me to watch sgu again, it was not the style of show I enjoy; but then I was not a fan of the re-imagined BSG. Leave the draaaama to the soaps and give me a well acted, well lit, interesting show with at least a few characters with some redeeming values. I still watch Syfy when there is something worth watching on it- namely ENT and TNG reruns these days. (thank heavens for Sg1 and SGA dvds. =D )For me sgu was simply the wrong show and not worth my time.

  • i also like to comment more once i had purged part of my grieving by the show cancellation, reading most of this posts, i think its abaout the people behind the caracters, finding the cancellation by twets from the fans, is they wish to continue their careers, and talk bad about the network, maybe ends like CS, of Two and Half…i put a little example besides the ups and downs and preferences betwen SGU, SG1, and SGA, look Robert Carlyle, Gemini Award Winner for Continuing Leading Dramatic Role 2010, even that kind of acknowledgment, and of course the all cast Louis Ferreira Col Young, Brian J. Smith (Lt Matthew Scott), Elyse Levesque( Chole), Davi Blue (Eli Wallace), Alaina Huffman (TJ), Jamil Walker Smith (Master Sgt. Ronald Greer), Peter Kelamis (Brody), Patrick Gilmore (Dr. Volker), Julia Benson (Lt Vanessa James), Jennifer Spence (Dr. Lisa Park), Ming-Na (Camile Wray ),Lou Diamond Phillips (Col Telford ), many others, the acting is in my humble opining outstanding, the efects are so mature and impresive that reminds me the Battle of Asuras, in SGA season 4 episode 11 Be All My Sins Remember’d, wich i beliive is the peak in VFX, also SGU won several LEO awards, Best Cinematography in a Dramatic Series Michael C. Blundell, Best Dramatic Series John G. Lenic N. John Smith Robert C. Cooper Brad Wright Joseph Mallozzi Carl Binder, Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Series Rick Martin, Best Screenwriting in a Dramatic Series Brad Wright, Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series Julia Benson, Best Visual Effects in a Dramatic Series Shannon Gurney Mark Savela Brenda Campbell Craig Van Den Biggelaar Krista McLean…so was a great ride and i am going to miss that feeling of wondering whats going to happen next…just the void…for now

  • From 1 Scotsman to another…aye mate sometimes it’s just got to be said.
    Well put.

  • Another tweet from @Syfy:

    @thejasonlewis If we never aired WWE we still could not keep them. Simply not enough vieweres to sustain

    Then this Q and A:

    Q) @mkaiser818 After a show’s been cancelled, is it possible/what are the chances of it ever coming back? e.g. SGU, does that rely on MGM?
    A) @mkaiser818 It really depends by show & the circumstances around it. You’re correct that MGM owns SGU and would need to initiate, etc

    A2) @mkaiser818 In general it’s very difficult to bring back any cancelled series, especially in the modern TV environment. Also…
    Shows are usually canceled due to low viewership, so hard for someone else to step in & grow the audience.
    Q) @WalterJP86 has anyone ever thought of putting a show as online only or direct to DVD instead of just canceling it? A) Yes, not feasible

    Q) @blueaeryn1 Have U started to factor in the check-ins from social network sites like @getglue to gauge viewership? A) We look at them

    Q) @bluelittlegirl Can/would you explain why that isn’t feasible? A) Can’t even cover production costs through just DVD/online sales

    Q) @jasonpbecker Will we ever get to see shows online that were cancelled but don’t have a large enough audience for physical media release?
    A) @jasonpbecker Probably. We’ve looked at a model for it but currently does not work. In the future will get more tenable.

  • sg1 and sga were good cause every episode started with a new storie and new adventure trough the gate .. sgu is one ongoing drama story
    yes we got to see few aliens but all the planets they opened trough the stargate had no inteligent lifeforms in it and there for no story … two episodes only with one with 6 legs alien beast’s and other with alien plants who wanted to kill them

  • I’m sorry @SyFy but that’s just BS. You barely even tried. You tried one night that you NEVER tried and when it didn’t work, instead of trying something else you just canceled it. Yes, I know they put it on Mondays but that doesn’t count because it was already canceled by then.

    And how do you know if you never aired WWE and kept it on Fridays you wouldn’t have the viewers?? You never tried it!

    SyFy, its this simple. You betrayed Stargate fans, possibly your biggest group of fans next to WWE. You had us on a high note last year with your enthusiasm for everything that was coming and now we have absolutely NOTHING. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

    This is not good. We are bigger than you think (not huge like Star Trek or Star Wars of course) and we will make sure to tell our friends to avoid SyFy like the plague because they will just dissapoint you in the end. This is bad publicity, that you didn’t even throw us a bone hurt you badly. You will begin to loose viewers because of your actions this fall and spring and I know you will not admit its not only because of your decisions to cancel big franchise series but also because of how you handled said cancellations. If you’re looking back a year from now and scratching your head wondering why you lost viewers over the last year, think back on Stargate Universe and Caprica.

    News travels fast on the Internet, and everywhere I go, even Star Trek sites I hear nothing but bad things right now about SyFy.

  • This is really all just noise. The bottom line is that SGU was more expensive to make and wasn’t getting the audience to keep it going. This did start on Friday night. The question seems to be whether Syfy should have given it more time. Unfortunately, such decisions are business decisions. It is the bottom line that makes the decision. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if enough people were watching the show. But they weren’t. People can pick apart the ratings system all the way, but it’s the only game in town and the producers knew that. They made a big bet on understanding what people wanted to watch and they simply missed the mark. Did the schedule changes hurt the show? Of course. Was the show doing well enough before them to have survived? No. It really comes down to Wright and Co. putting all of their eggs in one basket and just picking the wrong basket. It is unfortunate that SGU is starting to get good and won’t have the chance to keep getting better. But I can’t blame Syfy for this because Syfy was promised a big ratings grabbing show and wasn’t given what they were promised. No one likes it when people back out of promises. And when you’re a business and people don’t deliver what’s promised, decisions usually are made against those who made the promise. I’m as much against Wrestling being on Syfy as anyone else, but Wrestling brings in the numbers. Like it or not, it has helped pay for some of the sci-fi shows by getting the numbers that they struggle to. There’s less pressure on them as a result. But I think demanding that Syfy continue airing a show that was probably at a point where it was actually costing them more than it was making them is just unrealistic. It’s not like they can say to the advertisers “We can’t prove it, but we think a lot of people watch so will you give us more money?”. Even if everyone at Syfy were a huge fan of the show, they couldn’t have really made any other choice.

    At least the franchise knows now what doesn’t work. If/when there is a next installment of some form for Stargate, they will hopefully take this very hard-learned lesson and ensure it doesn’t happen again. With this information and Wright no longer calling the shots, there could be hope for the future.

  • Some people aren’t sure if Sanctuary could get a S5, even if it moves back to Fri, IMHO, Fri will be better off for the show, and right now, if things stay like this in S4, on Mon, the show has got about a 0% chance of a S5, whereas they’ll be… a lot better on Fri. Maybe it’ll be enough, maybe not, but it’ll be a lot better on Fri, and I’d take my chances there.

    I, personally, will feel better knowing Sanctuary didn’t get a S5 after having a better chance on Fri, than having a 0% chance on. Yes, Sanctuary isn’t doing as bad as that other show, but Sanctuary doing quite bad for Sanctuary. I would like to have ANY Syfy show paired with Sanctuary on Fri, I like TNG, but I feel it’s too old, and the show deserves a more modern day show. To me, the first day was a test to see how’d it do, they failed, and last Mon was kind of a make up test, and they failed that too. I once saw a documentary on Mork and Mindy, and although I don’t remember a lot of it, I believe they were moved from a night that didn’t do them so good, and finally they were moved back to it’s regular night. Btw, it also lasted only 4 seasons. :( Another show I used to know of was Caroline in the City, which also lasted 4 seasons, and I read that it kept being moved to a worse and worse time slot, and eventually, the show was canned. Shame really, I liked it. Oh, and it ended on a cliffhanger. :(

    I bring this up because I know that we have like 7 eps in S4 to see how it goes, and that’s cool, but suppose it stays on Mon, and suppose the first 5 episode ratings are bad, and the other 2 are good, it won’t matter because a good part of the first half of the season was bad, and not enough to make it to a S5. Truly, I feel the show would be much better better suited on Fri, and if it doesn’t make it to a S5, I believe it’ll have a much better chance there as it ever would on Mon.

  • SCI FI FANS!! Take heart, BBC America is taking up the mantle, indeed not only is there doctor who, they run star trek, exfiles and starting in June they will run Battlestar Galactica..perhaps they might even someday pick up Stargate..wouldnt that be interesting.

  • It seems to me that an evil alliance of goa’uld, wraith, and replicator scum overrun Stargate Command wiping out SGU and other “dendrite-growing” shows… The Asgards died out, Tok’ra were blown to pieces, even the Ancients migrated to a better place… Nobody called in the Furlings. Does anyone dial 911 just about… NOW??

  • Darren, you hit the nail on the head with this article. I remember when the network had SciFi Friday with Stargate SG1 / Stargate Atlantis / Battlestar Galatica, all back to back. I looked forward to 3 hours of good sci fi every week. I didn’t record it and watch it later, I had my pizza and beer and was set, every Friday and they went out and partied. I don’t even think the station is trying with the Original SyFy movies anymore. I watch the SyFy channel less and less now and I’m seriously thinking of getting rid of my cable in order to save money.

  • It’s sad. You could see it coming from the moment wrestling was put in the schedule. Thanks NBC for trying to destroy a genre. You’ve done well in your quest. Warehouse 13 and Eureka are all I have left. Once they cancel them, and they will, I will be done with Syfy channel. It looks like I will be forced to be done with the Scifi genre on TV all together. Thanks NBC. Thanks Wrestling. I appreciate you giving me a reason to turn off my TV. I’m sure me not watching any of your stations was what you had in mind.

  • Very well-written letter, and I agree–wrestling has no place on the channel, because it’s inappropriate for science fiction fans, and because it’s entirely without entertainment merit since it’s intended to pander to the lowest common denominator of TV viewers.

    That said, it was NOT wrestling that killed SGU–it was the fact that most fans didn’t tune in since they didn’t like it. It’s self-delusional to say that the show failed because wrestling was on Fridays. If people liked it, they’d tune in no matter when it was on, or they’d record it. The fact that folks weren’t doing so means it would have failed anyway, because it was an inferior series.

  • I was watching some special features for Star Trek: TMP a while back, and they were taking about how ratings were counted back then, and someone said if (I think) the ratings system was like how it is today, back in the 60′s, TOS could have gone on a bit longer, and I feel they should have.

    Amanda said in an interview that she thinks they can do 5 seasons if funding holds up, and I’m not sure if that’s there plan or not, but if it is, I’ll do anything to help them achieve it.

  • I watched SGU from start to finish and its definitely had issues. It finally started getting good once they left the lame alien and Lucian Alliance story lines behind. But by then half the original viewers were gone. SGU has a large cast and was very expensive. SyFy really had no choice but to end it. Even if there was no wrestling it just wouldnt have been able to survive with under 1.5 million viewers. Maybe they could have concluded Season 2 by killing off 90% of the cast (fans could vote for the ones to suffer DEATH BY DRONE).

    If I had done SGU I would have taken 3 SG-1 cast members (like Daniel, Tealc and Mitchell) a few from Atlantis (Sheppard, Ronon, McKay and Keller as doctors and someone to McKay sane) along with half a dozen or so peripheral cast members among them Rush and maybe Eli – most of the rest were rather worthless. Forget about the communication stones (those were the worst episodes) Cut them off from Earth almost completely – perhaps Destiny could have occasionally sent/received status reports once in awhile. Atlantis seemed to get less interesting when it was just too easy travel between the Milky Way and Pegagus galaxies. Start with the Drone ships immediately but make them smarter (something like space version of SKYNET)

    Anywho, Stargate is in the same position Star Trek was in when ENTERPRISE was cancelled. The Trek series last 18 years (1987-2005) and Stargate 14 years (1997-2011). Those 2 franchises had one heck of run. Will either franchise return to TV some day? Not until the publics fascination with large crappy unscripted TV, crime type procedurals burns itself out.

    At least FRINGE is getting a Season 4 despire mediocre ratings due the fact the core cast is so small – only 3 (4 if you count Astrid). The only other shows Im planning on watching are Walking Dead on AMC and possibly Spielbergs “Falling Skies” alien invasion series on TNT next month and maybe Terra Nova if the early episodes are good though it sounds like Land of the Lost with the dinosaurs and all. Just never got into series like WH13, Sactuary, Eureka others mentioned here – though I watch them occasionally.

  • “If you move it off of Friday nights, most of its loyal and ridiculously large audience will follow. WWE does monster numbers for USA Network on Mondays. Wrestling fans will watch Smackdown instead of NCIS on Tuesdays, because they are already in the habit of not making good life choices.”

    Smackdown is taped on Tuesdays. They won’t do it live, it’s never been done live.

    You’re asking them to get rid of their highest rated show for the network for some shows that will get probably less than half that audience?

    It’s a business. They do what is best for the business. A cult following doesn’t sustain what they need for the shows to stay on air.

    And you insult wrestling fans too? Why? Would it be fair for us to insult you for making the “bad” life choice of being obsessed with a science fiction show? That was a real low blow and totally unnecessary.

    WWE = Money for USA and SyFy, which means money for NBC. They’re not going anywhere despite what a cult following says, and the cult following of Wrestling is far bigger to counter it.

  • you’re acting like SyFy has even the slightest say in when SmackDown airs. WWE basically dictates where, what and when they air. when they rejoined the USA network, they were overjoyed and it was treated as a “homecoming”. they regularly go 15, 20, sometimes 30 minutes over time on Monday Night Raw (which is live, as opposed to SmackDown which is taped on Tuesdays), and USA doesn’t care because of the ratings they bring in. I’d be shocked if SyFy had any say whatsoever in when SmackDown airs.

    I’m admittedly on the other side of the fence than most commenters, as I only watch SyFy for SmackDown and found this article on a wrestling site, but you gotta see both sides. I understand your frustration but I really don’t think its SyFy’s call.

  • I heartily agree on the article, but I think SGU was doomed either way. Season one was terrible, and once you lose your viewers, it’s nearly impossible to get them back.

    They threw too much money at a show that really didn’t need it, both in effects and actors (Science Fiction has always thrived on turning never-heard-of actors into cult icons)

    I would love to see a new Stargate, properly done like SG1 or SGA, or any space opera at all, to be honest. And I think it’d need the Friday slot that WWE is absorbing atm.

    And as much as I’d like to know how it was meant to end, I really won’t miss SGU. The latter part was pretty good, but not enough.

  • They couldve waited a little bit after SGA to distance itself. The fans wouldve been more accepting and wouldve made viewers more curious about SGU. And the first teaser promo shouldve included something about a message in the universe concerning the big bang.

  • Facts are quite simple..if WWE was there to help pay for other…SF content,then WHERE is that content!?All we can see is that content being killed off one by one!I don’t believe how blind some people can be.
    Another thing and that also is a fact..after the initial wave of ppl frustrated by the cancelation of SGA and some other reasons had left,SGU stopped losing viewers.The numbers got constant.Till the beginning of experimenting and shifting it around.The thing is you gotta now when to hold them and when to fold them..or when to walk away.Something those suits have obviously never got a handle on.And if they had just left it where belongs,on Friday it would be garnering higher numbers and by now I’m positive it’d be around 1,5 mill and rising,thus actually justifying it’s budget.Finale could have brought even higher numbers than that and promise only good things in the future.Now,of course that isn’t the case because the show has been canned!
    I’m even amazed by the numbers SGU is getting even with it being canceled.
    Very sad,especially cause SGU in my opinion had the potential to become the best series out of three with it’s focus on,shall we say less campy and more cerebral storytelling..something that certain people who only wanted ass-kicking just couldn’t understand.

    But what gives me personally at least some satisfaction is the fact that this awesome letter of yours @Darren unlike in most of these comment section,garnered such a unison and positive response.Out of 115 responses so far,at least 100 are completely favorable.The ones that are not are familiar names that keep singing the same tune constantly and that nobody here takes seriously anymore.Also most of those few negative comments lost the true meaning of your letter,which used SGU only as an example,but was really about sci-fi in general on a tv channel that should nourish such content.Positive responses though make up about 90% and that is a first!!I don’t think that had ever happened and it is very indicative of this entire situation.
    Good job!
    I’ve also talked to a lot of people around me and heard out their thoughts and the thoughts of other people that they know…let me just say that this frustration and attitude towards the worst tv channel(previously at least somewhat respected,not talking about the ones that were never any good)out there is incredibly widespread and as I predicted few months ago,WILL undoubtably be felt by SyFy!!
    Then they will know what all of us meant regarding “smart” and “logical” business decisions as someone here call them.
    SyFy’s business decisions are about as smart and logical as a black market fence mentality enterprenour trying to make the biggest buck as he can,as soon as possible..preferably overnight and then get the hell outa there ha,ha! IT WILL FAIL,I’ve seen it too many times regarding other ventures!
    Long-term strategy does not exist..SyFy Channel is a lost cause and mark my words;in two-three years it either will become something completely different and miserable(yea,even more miserable than it already is),or it will not exist at all,but will be sacrifised so that their loser bosses up at NBC could survive without too much spanking on their bank accounts.
    It is a tragedy,it is a comedy all roll into one.
    But they will learn the hard way that as Mr.Obama said;When we say we won’t forget,we mean what we say!!

  • Actually Darren is on the numbers, and while some of you are bemoaning the loss of SGA and slamming SGU as the cause…being factual removes the emotion and is a good thing..I remember Farscape and Babylon 5 in the first years had a week start…but started to climb in numbers and fans after the pieces were set..to say the SGU was holding steady, even on Monday leads me to believe it could have grown on Fridays…This is taken from the extrapolation that Sanctuary lost 40% on the move to Monday….Also WH13 and Eureka (as stated many times) are summer shows with 0 competition…

  • Ohhh and only one more Episode and I have no reason to ever watch Syfy again…I will tune in to BBC for all my SciFi

  • I registered to say this…

    While I no longer watch WWE (I prefer TNA out of the two big wrestling companies these days), you have to realise that WWE Smackdown can’t possibly move to tuesdays.

    Reason?

    That’s the day they tape the show. Raw live on mondays, Smackdown, NXT and the second half of the Superstars tapings on tuesdays. Smackdown being their second biggest show means they want at least 24 hours to make sure the show is properly edited in time for its friday night slot.

    Then again, I’m in the UK, all our WWE shows are on the sports channels and our SyFy has shown soft core pornography for the longest time.

  • @tb1342 – Only the biggest loss in ratings occurred when it was still on Friday.

    The slow start is what started SGU’s demise. The people who made it were veterans in the business at this point. They know how the game works. They knew they had to play by the Nielsen book…they simply failed.

  • Interesting article , some of which I agree with and some I don’t. I’ve been a sci-fi fan for as long as I can remember, for me it’s “my” genre.

    I also enjoy watching wrestling as well ,I have to admit.

    Regarding Smackdown on a Friday night to start with , frankly I think it says something about the quality of the programming if Smackdown can so comprehensively beat what “SyFy” ( yes I think we all agree that monkier is just terrible ) was showing previously.

    Smackdown has it’s own audience, and whilst it doesnt particularly fir the networks name , it’s such a no brainer in terms of revenue and ratings. I doubt you will see Smackdown move to Thursdays anytime soon as that would put it in direct competition with TNA Impact over on spike. And whilst I don’t doubt Smackdown would win the ratings between the two , it’s not a fight WWE would need to make at this point. If SyFy wants their Friday night back they’d need to make a very good argument to WWE to either move it to Tuesdays or Wednesdays. If the WWE went to live broadcast for Smackdown that would possibly be ideal , as they’d show it live on the Tuesday rather than taping then airing on Friday. It would entail logistical issues and I would assume cost more money to do so, so thats probably not going to happen, but would probably be worth a punt.

    In terms of the original programming that has been on Fridays in particular and in general on Syfy, it’s simply not been good enough. BSG was all sorts of awesome and clearly vastly superior to anything since and currently airing on SyFy and managed quite nicely when it moved to Sunday nights in series 3?

    Atlantis was also in my personal opinion the better series compared to SGU , I like the idea of SGU , like the actors, but it hasn’t clicked as a Stargate series for me and I think many were probably the same. Now I’m sure these numbers will be available somewhere but I’m fairly sure BSG was tipping 1.8′s , 2.0 averages, Atlantis was doing 1.3′s – 1.5′s, the last few series of the again in my opinion superior SG1 was probably doing a bit less than that towards its end.

    Caprica was fairly terrible , Dresden Files were terrible, SG:U is ok , but doesnt compare to it’s siblings, Farscape was killed by the network due to ratings and cost if i remember correctly, which was also an issue with some of the other canadian based shows due to exchange rates…Painkiller Jane was terrible, Flash Gordon was terrible.. you’ll see a theme here.

    What SyFy has found is a niche in fun and quirky shows which aren’t necessarily a full blown sci-fi show both in tone , content and the reduced need for FX shots. Warehouse 13, Eureka and a clutch of Reality shows.

    Whilst I’m sure that Friday night has been good for Sci-Fi it’s certainly not the game changer mentioned in the article ( is it not ironic many shows went to die in Fox’s Friday night death Slot? Firefly we miss you, Fringe keep fighting the good fight! )

    But if a program is GOOD ENOUGH , it’ll do well , if it’s mediocre then obviously not and I think thats where we’re at. I want SGU to do well as a Sci-Fi show but it’s not that good. It’s been a while since we had a TNG or DS9 or a B5 , or those four gloriously mad seasons of Farscape or the wit and fun of SG1, and it doesnt look like we’ll be treated to anything as good as they were for a while.

  • @Hot Soup, BSG in its last season was getting approx 1.4 million viewers per ep (2nd to last up to 1.7, not sure what the final ep did, probably quite well). Which was an improvement over the prior season. SGA in it’s fifth season averaged 1.6.

  • As I further think about it, I still agree with Darren but at the same time what Darren said was only 50% of the problem. The other 50 was the writing and I think Hot Soup pretty much hit the nail on the head.

    Now, I’m not an SGU hater. I love the series and think its a great STARGATE series, but how many of us would have watched it had it NOT been a Stargate? What if they kept the concept but stripped the Stargate mythology from it and change names/people, etc. Would we have watched it? I know I probably wouldn’t.

    Season 2 of SGU, especially Season 2.5 is what SGU should have been from the beginning. The writers are largely responsible for the other half of the problem. In season 1, are characters were basically losers. The only one that most people really liked was Eli, and even he was a loser – an MIT dropout. Season 2 our characters are much more likeable and I’m starting to really connect with them but season 1 lacked the interesting characters a new series requires to attract an audience. Lost, BSG, Babylon 5, Fringe, all the best Sci-fi dramas have this, characters that you genuinely care about and want to follow every week.

    The other half of the writing problem is the fact that SGU lacked that BAM moment that really sucks you in as a viewer. Again, looking at past SF drama series, Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica both had these. Its that “HOLY CRAP WTF I TOTALLY WASN’T EXPECTING THAT!” kind of moment, the moment where you’re just so shocked at the direction it took that you just HAD to follow the next season to see the resolution. Battlestar and B5 both had these moments at the end of their first seasons with the assassination of the Earth Alliance president in B5 and the shooting of Adama in BSG. Their first seasons were far from perfect and had they been canceled at season 1 I think the legacy left by both shows would have been very different, but that finale is what capture me the most as I was getting into the series, that moment that told me that what I was watching was not your usual standard fare of science fiction and that this was something special. Stargate Universe never had that moment IMO. The cliffhangers they DID have were so dull and badly paced that when the series returned I barely remembered the first part of the two-part episode. Case in point when the series returned for season 2.5, both my mom and I barely remembered what happened at the end of 2.0. Season 1 had a nice finale, but the last moments, which are the most important, the “Best of Both Worlds” moment, were so melodramatic…the last shots we see before the break is of Young looking up at the cieling? WTF? One of the stupidest cliffhanger endings Stargate has ever done.

    So yes Darren, I believe you are ABSOLUTELY right in your assessment of Science Fiction, SyFy and Wrestling and how its hurting the channel, but at the same time, that’s only half the equation, the other half is the writing and for that, you only have the writers to blame.

    Like I said, I’ve enjoyed SGU from the beginning. I know had the series been renewed it would only be getting better but at the same time, had it not been part of the Stargate franchise, I probably wouldn’t have been interested in it as a casual viewer of science fiction. Not in the way I’m interested in non-franchise series like The Walking Dead and Fringe.

  • Browncoat, I forgot about Smallville and Fringe…ordered Smallville season 10 yesterday when I preordered SGU season 2 (thanks, Gateworld, for posting about that). And by the way, glad someone pushed through a Farscape Peacekeeper Wars to give the series a good finish! I agree with Countrymuddin in that SGU was too dark, like many other series…I watch TV for escape from “reality” and stress. I joke how I’d get a kick out of seeing more series just show folks having a “regular day” every so often. I also told a friend yesterday maybe wrestling would draw an even bigger audience if they added a Stargate. A couple other points: I can understand cancellations based on ratings, but I’d think 1 million is not a bad number for cable. At least it would take little extra to finish a story arc, even a low-funded TV movie. I also don’t understand these mid-season months-long breaks, as well as the dartboard changes to the night/time a show airs, often making it hard to impossible to keep up with schedules. Anyway, bring back Ric Flair and a Stargate and watch wrestling ratings soar!

  • Sci-Fi and pro wrestling are my two favorites. I think your whole article here is silly, if not utterly moronic. I was psyched when FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN moved to SYFY (We all at least agree this logo change is silly!) simply because it would provide the network with, not only a hugely watched program providing an awesome lead in spot but also it would give SyFy exposure to a lot of viewers who would not normally watch it. Win/Win. I also really enjoy a lot of the sci-fi reality programming. What they really need to do is stop showing so many AWFUL, AWFUL made for sci-fi movies and mini-series. Honestly, if I was not already a fan of SyFy network it would not take more than one 5 minute sample of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus to make me never turn back to the channel. Some of the original programming is really great (SGU, Eureka, BSG and Sanctuary is ok) but Warehouse 13? Really? I can’t get through a single episode. I think if SyFy is to stay viable they need to get back to what they did best. Re-run all of the hard to find/forgotten sci-fi programs we all love, and then do some original programming too. Having FN Smackdown as a cornerstone program on Fridays is a godsend. Thank the lord for Vince!

  • bless you sir, hopefully syfy gets the hint and puts our shows back on, if they were smart they would run stargate atlantis and universe like they once did with sg1.

  • ok we just going around and around in circles about how and why sgu got canceled loads of different criticisms etc if i really wanted 2 i could find flaws in every single show i watch and as for people not letting their kids watch sgu cos they dont think its suitable what about sga with all the life sucking wraith which could give kids terrifying nightmares and possibly some adults 2 lol anyway i think sites like youtube have the right idea u search for what u want 2 watch u get an ad at the begining then u can watch the video networks could do the same for example lets take all the shows that would show that week they could still air them at their designated times as usual but people with televisions consoles and computers with high speed internet connections can if they wish go to that networks site and pick what programs they want 2 watch and even arrange a playlist if they wish so that way all shows would get true ratings on how a show is really doing in terms of people being interested or not infact the networks would actually make even more money since subscribers would have to pay a small fee for the additional service so instead of relying on a prime time of about 2-4 hours 24 hours a day of income from all shows is alot better the shows are already paid for so why let them go 2 waste get bad ratings and get canceled. when so many good shows are put on at the same time by different networks naturally viewers are forced 2 choose what they fancy watching at the time for example i like both wwe and sgu but i would rather be able to watch both and there is no reason why viewers should have to choose in the 1st place the technology is there so why is it that networks have not done what im suggesting it wouldnt cost that much to do and it would make them even more money because of the stupid ratings system we may now never know how sgu will finish and if we will ever see any stargate again ever and it seems that most networks no longer care about the loyal viewers they just want the big monster ratings during prime time i would like what i suggested to become a reality but 1 voice is not enuff so instead of complaining why doesnt the viewers do something about it 2 many good shows have been canceled over the years when it doesnt have to happen shows like stargate will never bring in millions of viewers cos like me people know that there is little point in following a show every week cos u know it may get canceled for example lets say 1000 people go to a cinema 2 watch a movie and say about half way thru 700 walk out to watch something else so therefor should the cinema stop the movie at that point leaving it unfinished? NO of course not so why are tv shows treated as such if i start watching a tv show or movie i want to watch it till the end and only then do i pass fair judgement on the content of the show/movie so PLEASE lets make the networks listen and change the way they bring entertainment 2 us thanx 4 reading :)

  • Hi and thank you Darren Summer and All who read this,
    For several weeks now, I have been fighting hard to get SyFy to see the light so to speak. The light that they REALLY need to see which is the one that is shinning upon its soon to be former subscribers. In my whole life I’ve never seen such an emotional outpouring of unhappiness with a network and with good reason. Most of these people purchased the Sci-Fi “SyFy” channel for Science Fiction, not for wrestling, not cooking, mask making, ghost chasing, or many of the other shows that SyFy is currently running with audacious enthusiasm! Pointing this out has got me blocked from SyFy’s Facebook page! Unlike other people who post there, I used no profanity in my postings there, just intelligent observation and cutting wit that apparently cut them a little too close to the bone. I’m glad they can’t stop YOU from posting your VERY ACCURATE view of their current situation on this site, because if they could, they probably would. Darren Summer, on the SyFy forums right now, the word is that they have responded your wonderful post. When I asked where it was, I was directed to twitter where I found several short tweets defending SyFy’s position. Are they kidding? If they are going to respond to your post they should do it here, or at very least on Facebook or on the SyFy Forums. Stargate Universe now comes to a sad end along with ALL OTHER STARGATE SHOWS and that has the fans both in tears and up in arms, but we’re supposed to understand because business is business. I don’t think so. If you drive to a store that calls itself Strawberries R Us, and all they have is grapes, are we supposed to understand that Strawberries are expensive and business is business and just buy the grapes? I think not. If the store owners are honest, then maybe the should change the name of the store to “Random Fruit”. At least then their customers wouldn’t get mad over the cost of gas that it took to get to the store. Perhaps SyFy should just change the name of the channel to “ACG” which would stand for the “AnyCrapGoes” goes network! THEN the fans would not be so mad and they can go ahead and show what ever wish to show. Joseph Sardone

  • @Mike slightly off topic, but I’m waiting for the complete series release on blu ray. I’m sure they’ll do it at some point.

  • @Darren

    I think you are quite right about wrestling and the decline of good scripted TV. However I think it really comes down to the effect wrestling has on the brain of the viewer. When I was a kid i liked watching WWF for the sheer spectacle. As I got older I realized if I didn’t stop watching it I would suffer irreversible neurological atrophy (brain deat one cell at a time).

  • Anyway, I haven’t watched wrestling in decades. Scripted sci-fi shows have always been #1 for me. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for something of the caliber of Babylon 5, Farscape and Stargates (ALL of them) to grace our screens and engage our minds.

  • @Darren

    You seem to do better in collecting ratings data than myself, so I’ll ask for some help here.

    Assuming that the rating system used in each country is 100% accurate (mine and many other eyes rolling here), how do the PROPORTIONS of viewers between countries compare?

    For instance, SGU has averaged approx 500,000 viewers per ep in Canada and 850,000 in US. With approx 12,000,000 viewing households in Canada that amounts to 4.166% of viewers. Compare that to 110,000,000 households in US, that’s only 0.772% of viewers.

    THAT is a colossal difference. I wonder how the proportions in the UK, Australia and other countries compare? If the proportions were similar to Canada’s would that mean that the rating system in US is completely bonkers? Or that most (but not all) Americans really are brain dead from watching too much wrestling?

  • I found this article through a wrestling forum. I am glad you have a soapbox where you can say something horribly off base and everyone agrees with you.

    First of all, the move to SyFy is something I was very much in favor of. I think the ratings go hand in hand. Guess what else does really well on SyFy? Reruns of Star Trek. Guess what this wrestling fan also loves? Reruns of Star Trek. I also like the Star Trek movies and the major studio sci fi films that are aired as well. On the other hand, when Smackdown aired on Mynetworktv, very little resonated with me. Urban sitcoms and courtroom dramas. Shows that wrestling fans typically do not follow. Smackdown was the same for mynetworktv, their highest rated program.

    Then there’s your comment that wrestling fans don’t make the right choices, and prefer Smackdown to NCIS. Well, please tell me, what is so much more sophisticated about studio dramas with scripted fight sceens and predictible story arcs? Wait..that doesn’t sound too different from wrestling, except for the fact that you know…wrestlers are the cloest thing in real life to the superhumans and phenoms of science ficiton.

    You want to blame anything? Blame the content of your programs. I’ve tried watching Merlin. I’ve tried watching Caprica. I’ve tried watching Sanctuary. Guess what? They’re all as horribly acted as wrestling without the athleticism or spectacle, not even the eyecandy for both genders [because face it, the divas are sexy and the guys are all in top form] and the production values are simply low. Star Trek could hold its own on NETWORK television, nothing on SyFy can. There’s not anything on SyFy even on the level of Dr. Who on BBC [which also airs Star Trek reruns, thank God, and have done well with rugby and I bet you they could sneak in catch wrestling and get views]

    You want the SyFy thing fixed? Pour all the money into a new Star Trek and you’ll get the ratings. here’s plenty of intelligent programming that could air in the lesser time slots. Where is the anime that completely disappeared from the network that Cartoon Network doesn’t think it can afford to air? How about some documentaries actually about science that History Channel can’t get away with? Why not some tech news and gaming coverage like TechTV used to have? Or space coverage outside of the hard to find and low quality NASA channel? Even a children’s block is easy to program with superhero shows and Power Rangers, which not only bring in a new demographic but I bet you lots of the core sci fi demo loves too. And yes, sports, especially the ones that don’t get mainstream coverage like martial arts and chess. Your network is in ruin because the only thing worth watching IS your most hated show [Smackdown] and Star Trek reruns

    But then there’s what really makes your comment off base, do you know why Smackdown airs Friday?

    Because Smackdown is a scripted program, not live or reality like Monday Night Raw. Smackdown actually films on TUESDAYS and is then edited up until Thursday, and padded with recaps of RAW and Superstars/NXT. Demanding Smackdown to be aired on Tuesday LIVE would cost Syfy EVEN MORE MONEY, decrease the quality of the program itself [since two LIVE shows in a row Monday and Tuesday would be even more time intensive and involve more logistics] and the ratings itself would suffer, because believe it or not most of wrestling fans love the fact that it is spaced out. Especially the more casual fans, most of them would not be up for two nights in a row unless they were serious about it.

    Meanwhile, your beloved Star Gate or whatever half assed drivel it is you are so riled up about is filmed weeks before it is aired. An entire season can be produced and it can be aired whenever it is wanted to. There is no live venue to deal with, no injuries, no talent management, nothing, it’s exactly like the day time soaps you are so happy to condemn.

    Want to save sci fi? Don’t settle for the crap. Demand the production values, demand the level of acting, and demand the originality and value of the story telling. How many of the shows you mention will truly capture a generation like Star Trek or Star Wars when they can’t even get to a Galactica like level? How many 8 year old kids are going to sit down and watch Star Gate or Caprica and have their entire life changed, making them fans for life?

    The answers say it all. Hate me for it, but you know it is true.

  • You and a lot of the people here are Disillusion. As much as I hate to see wrestling and all the crap they have on syfy it’s a very good reason why syfy has it. It pays for the license of future shows.

  • Oh here we go – lets add the ratings system to the list of reasons that killed SGU. The same ratings system that is used for every show out there.
    So lets re-cap. SGU failed because of Syfy trying to sabotage its own show, Wrestling, the ratings systems, the day, time and season it was aired on, too much competition, not enough competition, no lead in, SGA haters, failing intelligence of the general audience to appreciate the complexity of SGU etc, etc.

    Well as said before SGU failed dismally in the Uk where there was no wresting, no day, time or season change, the chanel advertised it constantly, and yet the ratings plummetted so low that they are not even listed now on Barb.

    So that clearly states that the MAIN problem with SGU was the show itself. Viewers didn’t like it but yet its fans insist on finding a scapegoat to blame.

  • Or maybe some of us watched the first ten episodes and realized the writers were more interested in Young’s marriage and Scott’s sex life than anything involving the Ancients. Hell, we didn’t learn Destiny’s purpose until halfway through season 2. What show holds out its own premise for a season and a half? Imagine if Lost hadn’t introduced the island until season 2, and you’ll see where SGU went wrong.

  • Well said, hopefully reality TV will fade away soon.

  • I’d rather see mainstream TV networks die in general. Personally I’d like the future to be independant web-shows and web-channels – pay-per-downloads ect. That way people dont have to sacrifice artistic integrity to keep the Suit’s happy.

  • The point is had SGU stayed on Friday it would’ve been better of and no matter what anybody thinks of the writing,whether you like it more,or less,that is just the fact.And by now,when it really improved in it’s pace,writing and everything else,were it on Friday it would not have been canceled.That simply is a bottom line.
    Also more than any cliffhanger quality,those long hiatuses hurt it severely.By the time show had returned I haven’t only forgotten what it was about,but that it was on in the first place.
    But then that always was a problem with SyFy channel,even before it’d changed it’s name.
    BSG,which is one the most awesome pieces of SF ever had pauses that lasted for 6-8 months.That’s just ABSURD.
    Writing can always adapt,improve,correct it’s course,but when you as a network do such huge scheduling mistakes,coupled with other,simply insane moves..like dropping SGA for instance and many others,there’s no recovering from that!!

    @On another note @Browncoat1984 Walking Dead is absolutely AMAZING!The very first episode I had seen left me in total awe and reverence.
    Everything,from writing,acting to a fascinating movie-like cinematography is just WOW!!
    And Fringe is also a true gem,absolutely!Thankfully FOX isn’t following it’s disasterous policy that had taken from us so prematurely TSCC and more importantly one of the best,most beautiful and most original pieces of SF ever..FIREFLY!!!

  • @AbstractAlien – And don’t forget that they should all be filmed on equipment powered by their own sense of self-worth.

  • For all the WWE fans coming over to read the article, let me say welcome! The “not making good life choices” line was a joke, definitely pandering to the Stargate crowd here, and was not meant to offend anyone. I sincerely apologize if you took it personally.

    Thanks to all for the info about Smackdown‘s Tuesday taping. I’m not advocating that Syfy drop the show, or necessarily move it to Tuesdays. Thursday would seem to be a wise scheduling move, and I’ve read that the show actually started on Thursdays several years ago.

    My goal here is not to be anti-wrestling (despite the provocative headline), but to make a case for the importance of Friday night’s time slots for nurturing scripted drama. I didn’t even object to Syfy moving SGU to Tuesdays last fall. The problem I have is with Syfy then holding the show accountable for producing Friday-level ratings on a night where that is simply not possible.

    The ratings for SGU were dropping significantly over the course of Season One. But then, in Season One it also had no lead-in — and definitely not a lead-in with 2.5 to 3 million viewers. We can’t say definitively that it would have continued to fall if it had aired (for example) after WWE this season.

  • “Wrestling fans will watch Smackdown instead of NCIS on Tuesdays, because they are already in the habit of not making good life choices. ”

    See this is where you lose me. How exactly does being a fan of bad sci-fi (and yes Stargate is awful and maybe after a decade people have finally stopped caring) mean that you can be a patronising little snob towards wrestling fans?

    Maybe these shows failed because they weren’t good enough to find and keep an audience. We live in a world where tv scheduling really doesn’t matter – put the right show on at 2am on a Sunday and it can still pull in overseas-rights money/dvd money/advertising money/internet-viewing money. Firefly was so badly handled that they MADE A MOVIE from it.

    Having a money maker on Friday nights for two hours a week isn’t killing sci-fi. In fact as a genre it is in a healthier state than ever, globally. No, instead you are just annoyed that shows you watched didn’t do very well and you are trying to find excuses and blame others.

    This, by the way, is from someone who thinks WWE should take Smackdown off the air. But not because of patronising ideas about wrestling fans or because some other show might make SyFy less money in that spot.

  • Darren, I thank you for writing and sending the email to the channel that shall not be named. With only one episode left of Stargate Univers I am not happy at all. My wife and I have gone to several Stargate conventions in Chicago. We watch stargate religiously and have all the seasons on dvd and will get season 2 of universe when it come out. Why did thye cancel it why1!!

  • Here’s the deal, SyFy: renew SGU, and we DON’T have Ronon, Teal’c, and Greer put your wrestlers in the hospital?

    Oh, and add me to the list of fans who will be ditching SyFy after SGU ends. The show wasn’t perfect, but when SGU was good, it was brilliant.

  • In my opinion it does come across as more anti wrestling than the more salient point of SyFy’s poor scheduling decisions. But I do stick by my own opinion that if the programming is good enough people will watch it. Granted you need to take care not put it in direct competition with goliaths like House, NCIS, Idol etc but if its good enough people will watch!

    I wonder what the episodes costs for each episode of SGU was compared to other SG1 series and whether syndication / dvd’s / advertising covered those costs sufficiently. Robert Carlyle for two years couldn’t have been that cheap!

  • @themaingmaster You are right!Your point is definitely one of the central problems of the entire issue.Well said.
    And regarding SyFy’s answer,yeah it came down to few short,completely ridiculous twitter responses that cannot even be called arguments.
    They are just boring,bad business..in fact typically bureaucratic responses,delegated from higher bosses to lower positioned “bosses” to “programming vp” of SyFy who’s job is to spread their propaganda BS over twitter.I’ve read what that person has to say about quite a few issues surrounding the SyFy’s “greatest venture in history” and SGU and it is not only another proof that they have no business smarts at all,but they’ve no shread of common sense at all.And those answers of his are beyond tragic to anyone who’s ever run a business,it’s not even funny…it is simply sad.
    And the entire SyFy’s twitter propaganda is a grotesque.

  • i don’t think wrestling belongs on the syfy network. there’s nothing science fiction about it (at least they could add super hero costumes or something, to scifi it up).

    i watch sanctuary, and i’d always put the channel on a couple or so minutes before it started. i’d have to see the wrestling, and i mostly just looked away or talked to someone else in the room, b/c i had no desire to see this type of theatrics on my screen.

    i can understand syfy wanting to give sanctuary a chance to bring in new viewers (by moving it to another night), but why put it up against such power house ratings grabbers? that’s like throwing a little pond fish into a big ocean, and just expecting it to survive.

    basically, i think syfy, and ALL the other networks that are pandering to the flash and thrills section of the public… just put on porn already. ratings over content, right?

  • You are absolutely right! Syfy has to place smackdown on another day in the week, as it really doesnt matter much what day it’s on. Wrestling fans will find it eventually.

    This even happened to Smackdown before in 2005. Back then smackdown aired on UPN on thursday nights. But after the cancellation of (coincidentally another sci-fi show) Enterprise it moved to friday nights to prepare the channel for the impending merger between upn and the wb network.

    After a few weeks their ratings were back to normal.

  • SyFy has been making poor decisions for a long time. Moving wrestling to another night will not hurt it as it’s viewers (which I used to be a one of years ago) will always find it no matter the station or time. Putting their best shows and most promising new ones back on Friday is desperately needed as Friday used to be the best night for their programming but now it’s the worst.

    What I hate about SyFy is that they always seem to use the excuse that a show is getting to expensive to produce. Once they get that attitude they change it’s time slot to something that just sets it up to fail. They did this initially with Farscape, which I loved. Then when the ratings drop because of the scheduling change it just give them the false reasoning to justify their decision to cancel the show. The thing is they lie and double talk big time because as soon as they announced that they were cancelling Farscape earlier than planned they announced that they were going to be producing more Sci-Fi (at the time) original movies for broadcast on Saturday night at 9pm. Now they did it again with SGU as they announce they are cancelling it and Being Human (which I don’t watch) appears on the schedule. Well were do you think the budget came from to make Being Human? From SGU’s funding that’s where! Now they’ve added that stupid Urban Legends show. Get rid of this and give us good shows like SGU! This budget excuse has gotten old along with the time slot changes!!! My only salvation for the network is that I like Eureka, Warehouse 13, Sanctuary and Haven. But they are doing the same things to them!! It reminds me of the classic definition of an idiot: someone who does the same thing over and over again but expects a different result.

  • Great points I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

    I think SGU’s writing hurt it badly both season’s started incredibly slow and lack luster especially for a show carrying the Stargate name so alot of people tuned out missing out on the fantastic storylines that were to follow. SciFi gave up on SGU pretty quickly, bumped it and didn’t give it an opportunity to win back disappointed viewers.

    I see SciFi channel walking down the same road as the History channel.

  • I agree with most of what has been said in the article. There is little doubt in my mind that Smackdown has definitely contributed to the demise of SGU and other programs, there are other factors and i’m sure wost wouldn’t deny that fact, but SyFy has made a business decision that has ultimately killed the stargate franchise.

    I recognise that Smackdown is ratings gold for the channel, but to those who say it can’t be moved: it started on Thursday night! And I can’t see it losing too much viewership if it returned there.

    It’s funny though, I used to just think that people weren’t tuning in because it was a crummy show. But seeing Sanctuary’s numbers….well there is more to this story.

    Shame, the show was just getting to the good part.

  • Well said. One of the best articles I’ve read about how SyFy is screwing up!!!!

  • As a former wrestling fan, Smackdown originally aired on Thursdays and was successful there for a number of years? I’m not sure why it was moved to Fridays, but you would think it wouldn’t be too hard to move it back.

    There’s a few scifi shows on fridays now. Smallville (which is wrapping up but did ok on Fridays for 2 years) Supernatural, and Fringe. There would be some competition on Friday’s from the same fans, but it could be doable.

    I think the bigger thing is to air the content in the off seasons. The day of the week probably doesn’t matter as much if if your the season over the summer. There’s almost zero competition.

  • The saddest thing,well one of it is this.While I’ve always loved Stargate(ok I had to endure that first season of SG-1..had that season happened today SG-1 wouldn’t have gotten past first 12 eps before being canceled).But episodes like the Fifth Race,Torment of Tantalous and even finale had showed me there was a potential there worth exploring,at least giving it a try.And I was not sorry,or disappointed.As it went along it’d just become better and better.

    But the fact is and every true SF fan knows that..Stargate among SF fans,shall we say does not hold a fairly respected place.In fact,most of them are quite dissmissive of it as that campy show not worthy to be taken seriously at all.I’ve always done my best to sway them around and in fact have done my part in enlighting some of them,lol! But the point of it all is,they had point to an extent,cause sg really never was to ambitious,regarding sci-fi content.Despite Sam’s techno-babble,the scientific foundation never has been,or meant to be that strong in sg.It was always mostly action-adventure type of show..
    That is untill SGU..many of those previously mentioned sci-fi geeks who never took sg franchise seriously,all of a sudden got interested.Fair enough,there was a purge of a sort and many of the old fans had left,but if SyFy only stuck to it,I am positive they were going to build a new audience with significant parts of the old one as well.The only problem was they are not interested in SF content anymore.
    But from a strictly business POV,it would have been better for them if they took a smaller risk than they did with moving the show around and left it where it was.Every projection shows,that would have brought them what they needed profit-wise.First by breaking even and then by now even garnering profit.The Finale of the 2nd season and with new and smarter programming and advertising,the premiere of s3 would have given them the figure of around 2 mill and probably even more viewers.That is the lack of vision as a prime example for every economy/marketing/public relations student!!
    FAIL,FAIL,FAIL.

    And that is just a business perspective,when you add the betrayal of the fans that’s started with cancelation of SGA and false promises of movies coming,etc,etc..it paints the whole picture of kind of suits that run that channel.With a complete disrespect towards the franchises and fans that had made them into who they are,but also who they are about to end being and very fast now!I mention movies for the simple fact that they are a perfect example of an outright lie..when those last two straight to DVD movies came out,they most definitely had the knowledge and a very solid info about that market being deader than dead,never to return.And still they went out with a lie of the whole SGA and SG-1 movies certainly coming out as a part of “expanding”.They were in conntact with MGM the entire time and MGM had told them back then already that those movies are most likely never gonna be done.With that knowledge,they should’ve kept SGA on the air for another season,get the closure and paralelly to that introduce new and different,cerebral show.The kind of show that obviously would be following the trend on tv nowdays.Smart and long arc shows are more popular than ever.Those kind of shows could have never succeded in the 90′s.

    In the end,regarding SyFy’s policy in the lack of a more appropriate term to describe that..nobody likes to be lied to and be betrayed.
    You have turned on your own SyFy and it’s gonna come back and bite you on the…

  • Darren, I totally agree with your opinion and your analysis. Although I doubt any SyFy Executive will admit they were wrong with their poor scheduling/format decisions as demonstrated by the twitter responses @syfy.

    Or were they poor decisions? I wonder how much of what happened with SGU was studio rivalry? We now know two years ago that they decided to do a format change (wrapped in in the “Imagine Greater” mantra to produce and bring shows (reality and wrestling) which fell outside the scope of Science Fiction, but would be far more profitable due to lower production costs (reality) and greater audience appeal and numbers (wrestling). But maybe SyFy and its parent companies (NBC/Universal) went a step further than a format change?

    Obviously MGM’s financial woes and the poor economy were on everyone’s radar screen. But could it be that this entire situation including the cancellation of SGA and the encouragement to create SGU was a part of a larger stratagem to inhibit MGM’s ability to compete with Universal at the Box office? Are we missing the bigger picture here? Is a larger strategy at play? Stargate may have been a pawn in a far larger game of chess with far more money at stake than SyFy’s advertising revenue. Was SGU setup to fail by SyFy?

    Consider this, since the Stargate franchise is owned and developed by MGM, SyFy/USA/NBC/Universal/Comcast do not a vested interest in keeping one of the two “potential” money making franchises like Stargate (the other being the Bond movies, a large box office draw) for a rival studio afloat? I am not even taking into account the Hobbit movies of which MGM is co-financier. We may just be seeing the smaller moves at SyFy that were done with shorter term goals in mind (SyFy channel’s short term profitability) while the longer strategy on a higher corporate (Universal) level may have to eliminate competition at the box office by making sure that one of the two most valuable franchises that MGM owns was killed thereby reducing MGM’s cash flow to finance their production schedule or co-financing commitments.

    We know that theatrical movies generate far more dollars and provide the lions share (no pun intended) of profits and operating capital a studio makes, far more so than TV shows do. And there is only so much money to go around every movie season.

    Darren, you have done far more research than I ever could with your articles regarding the MGM bankruptcy. Is my theory or elements of it even plausible?

  • I remember when the sci-fi channel played sci-fi….that was before the lame name change.

    Now they just play crap that Espn would play.

    I also remember when westleing use to be cool like back in the 1980s or when hulk hogan was around and it happened on saturday when nothing but junk like that was on. Saturdayw as the day for like 5 things most of them sports. Auto races, cooking shows, bob ross tennis/golf/what ever.

    in other words there was nothing on Friday..

    Then again my local FOX station played star trek on saturdays nights for some reason.

  • @Jim I have to completely DISagree with you …

    Darren’s view of the SG franchise being the true defining series/franchise of the SciFi/”SlyFy” network is the most accurate description (with my own quip) of the network.

    The entire SF genre has, in many of the younger viewers, become more popular because of SG and even other shows as Dr Who, etc.

    I personally think that if SyFy could actually get rid of ‘wraslin’ (which I know cannot happen, but as Darren said ‘[a move would be nice]‘), go back to SG/Sanctuary/Caprica and maybe get some rights to Dr Who reruns, and not introduce shows like Marcel (whom I hated on TopChef – which is the only reality show I watch b/c I am a chef).

    And all while keeping their ‘really’ crappy original movies when they still seem to show despite ratings.

    This, IMO, would be the best thing for SlyFy, and maybe get them better ratings while keeping their TRUE fan base

  • I am upset at COMCAST and how they are ANTI-geek.
    They destroyed TechTV which had 10x the numbers of G4…. and after the merger G4/TechTV had 1/2the numbers that G4 (The Weeker Channel)…!

    Its not numbers, its hatred of geeks.

    I formed a group a long time ago:
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=113679001986375

    As I learn more I post more, and am open to options.

  • Wrestling is up, sci fi is down… Idiocracy was right!!!!

  • Darren is both wrong and Right.
    He’s wrong because he thinks that SGU was merely canceled for it’s performance on the changed nights. It wasn’t performing well from the first episode and certainly didn’t get SGA rating, it was HUGELY boring, it helped to cause it’s own cancellation. The same is true of Caprica. Where is the writing’s accountability in this editorial.

    Hes right in saying that moons did help to further decline the ratings. But the wrestling idea was a good one for the next work. The mistake was switching Stargate and Caprica to the busy exhausted part of the week: The Weekday. Star Trek the Next Generation had always thrived on the Weekend. Saturday at 7. Deep Space Nine and Voyager put an end to that and of course you see the effects in their ratings which which continually declined (due to that and many other factors).

    Hence the logical thing to do would have been to put Caprica and SGU at 7:00-9:00 pm Saturday. There is something to be said about the weekend and how it contributes to ratings. National Political announcements tend not to occur on the Weekend. No football and no major network competition…ta da… The reason for the success of Star Trek the Next Generation simply because it was good and had little competition. That used to be fridays for Sy Fy. Don’t move shows into the network obscurity of the Weekday, Keep the summer idea, keep the weekend idea because you can still club late after having a do nothing Saturday afternoon….

  • Darren,

    I think your heart is in the right place, but I do not understand why you care if they put WWF on Friday?

    Let them do that and let them make some money the best way they can in that slot, if that is how it works for them – SO LONG AS they support real science fiction programming.

    And that is where I agree with you, that they have slipped in their commitment to real science fiction programming.

    And the SGA / SGU fiasco is clear proof of that.

    And if you or any of us want the science fiction programs to remain on we have to watch them, during the week even if they are not on Friday evenings.

    Further, I agree with your points regarding the bad habit they have shown trying to reach for the brass ring with every new science fiction program, and cancelling one to just bring up another one that fails again, within two years, IF it gets even that far.

    It takes two years typically for a program that will work out to find it’s feet and live up to it’s potential.

    Killing a show within two years which has had a big budget production commitment per episode is insane and stupid, inexcusable.

    If they continue to do that they should drop any semblance of the name “syfy” as well.

  • @n4rc1ssus Well,we both agree with Darren obviously and that one thing you disagree with is simply the fact.I know,because I’m in contact with many of those ppl,even SF authors and I’m not talking kids.
    Now I don’t share that opinion,in fact I agree with you and I’ve said as much.The entire thing was about perception.And all of those SF fans that have discovered sg franchise through SGU prove so,because now they like all of it.Well most of it and most of them.So I don’t see where your disagreement is.
    And the more kids and new generations that get in contact and fall in love with SF in any way,the better.
    They should also read more books imo though,but that is another discussion.

  • Maybe this is just me… but on a Tuesday at 10pm… i’m watching TV with my wife, and she isn’t touching a Sci Fi show…

    For some reason on Friday’s she’ll go to bed earlier, and it’s sci fi catchup from the week!

  • Darren,
    Right on the mark ! Is there any way to make them change is the question.

  • SyFy could have aired wrastlin’ any day of the week but if they wanted Friday bad enough they could have set it up for a 10:00 or 11:00 time frame. They could have aired two science fiction shows before wrastlin’ and made it work. This has always been a veiled demographics change, one done in large part of fear (hence the clever SyFy rebrand) so they could keep their base with some space opera material and then slowly move away from it. This is the second phase of their plan. This is Spike TV/G4 in the works catering to low-brow with half a synapse that can be easily entertained by flashy pictures and “lots’a blowin’ stuff up”.

  • [...] In other news, this is the week of killing two of my favourite shows. Tonight is the premature series finally of Stargate Universe. This was a show that started out very week, trying to ride on the success of the universe’s very successful precursors. Unfortunately, due to this bad take off, the show didn’t have a lot of viewers going into it’s second season which was amazing. Despite the show really picking up, it was cancelled by stupid “Syfy” last fall. So tonight is the end of what could have been an amazing series, but one that really didn’t get it’s chance to take off. Here is an awesome article I read a few days ago about this and how the “Syfy” channel is going to shit. I suggest anyone who cares about the Sci-Fi television genre n general give it a read –> How Wrestling is Killing Science Fiction. [...]

  • As much I want to blame those screaming men in tights, Vince McMahnon and the people who watch em… logic says I can’t. The writing was on the wall for SGU from the moment of the pilot. As well as some of the other shows. As a hardcore fan SG fan I had high hopes for SGU only to be sorely let down so I did what alot of viewers did, I changed channels. Granted I’m of the faction that wrestling does not belong on channel for science fiction and horror shows period but at this point in time Syfy has made so many bad decisions its become a unfortunate necessity to retain what little sci fi it has left. To Mr. Summer, no offense but where have you been? This has been a long slow decline which started the moment SciFi became Syfy and they allowed wrestling on the channel in the first place. Especially when it’s allowed to interrupt the Twilight Zone New Year marathon. No offense to wrestling fans. I happen to like the Undertaker I just don’t care to see pile drivers, stare downs and headlocks when I want to see Goa’uld, Wraith, Ori, Ancients and Cylons with Humans Asguards, etc.

  • Makes me sooooo glad that I live in Canada.
    Space really is an awesome channel!!!
    But I do feel bad for the Americans.

    SyFy really should take a look at what Space is doing. I mean really… wrestling on a science-fiction channel? (well, it’s suppose to be a science-fiction channel)
    SyFy, you really need to get in gear; there are lots of people who like science fiction: and there are lots of shows and movies to put on your channel. So please, listen; do for the fans of science-fiction.

  • Dont we have a Redneck or Hillbilly Channel yet? Or at the very least a NASCAR channel… it seems to me that channel would be the ideal spot for WWE. I know Spike has TNA Wrestling and I guess that is why Smackdown is not there, as a conflict of interest despite the perfect audience for the WWE. I mean do we really need 4 hours of WWE a week excluding PPV events?

    If the cast of Eureka or Warehouse 13 ever cameo on a WWE show it will signal that the end is nigh.

  • BW: No. You guys are actually pretty predictable (take no offense, most fan groups are). Unfortunately, you represent a very small portion of the actual viewing audience we need for financial success. … So what he said there had no impact on viewership. I know it did I knew a few ppl who liked the show untill Brad Wright said that and they stopped watching it. Also the writing was too slow it was moving at a snails pace and he knew that. they had all the time in the world to fix it then and they didn’t. Instead they threw out insults and thought it wouldn’t affect us. HOLD THE WRITING ACCOUNTABLE TOO. WRESTLING HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FAILURE OF SGU!!!

  • SGU was extremely well written and directed. Excellent character interaction and plots. Once again the execs have failed the fans. SGU, given the chance MIGHT could have bested SG1.
    SyFy has joined the ranks of Fox (Firefly) and HBO (Deadwood) nixing good series. And unfortunately for my viewing pleasure SyFy will no longer be tuned in.
    The execs need to get off the golf course, quit polishing their balls, and get their putters out of their arses.
    Nope, wrestling didn’t kill off SGU, the idiots did. However, the idiots programmimg wrestling, and any Reality Sucks shows on SyFy, sure did kill off their viewers. On friday nights the only good channel was SyFy…before wrestling. Now there is nothing worth watching on friday.

  • Once again, it’s proven that once a person gets to a certain point in the executive hierarchy, that person undergoes a spontaneous lobotomy, loses 95% of their intellectual capacity such that only enough remains to tie their shoes and say “cancel it!”.
    Case in point – wrestling, on a *science fiction* channel? Beyond stupid. And this recurring habit of canceling shows that are finally getting their act together, the writing is coming along, the episodes are becoming more interesting and…wait for it…the “executive” says…”cancel it!”. I swear, they must all come from the same bloodline as the idiot that cancelled the original Star Trek. Yep, it started out slow but look what it’s done for the world and the entertainment industry. If memory serves the top rated movie IN THE WORLD is…wait for it…a sci-fi movie. GO figure. And they just keep on screwing up – Firefly, SGU, what’s next?
    And wrestling, my god, what’s next, aerobics? I watched (please note the *past* tense) the SciFi channel for a good reason – I thought that, at last, someone had finally gotten a clue, discovered that a channel that catered to intellectual folks with fertile imaginations had finally been born. I was looking for (yes, I’ll admit it’s stretching it a bit but hey…) Star Trek re-runs, maybe Lost In Space on the weekends for the kids, maybe some of the more “interesting” anime on late nights (Dragon ball NOT being one of them…), new and exciting shows that attempted to follow the original purpose of Star Trek – explore strange new worlds, seek out new and interesting places in human society and Go There to show the world that there are different ways, better ways or at least, it’s worth noting the differences, give the young of today something to watch besides drivel. And what happens? The brain-damaged “executives” got their slimy paws on the channel, saw it was making money and tried to “make it better” by “imagining greater”. right. Thanks for nothing, you freaks, you have succeeded in spoiling yet another good thing, I don’t care what your precious ratings say, this was supposed to be a place for those of us with a brain that actually works instead of catering to the pap sucking, beer swilling morons with their feet in the oven and an IQ that exactly matches the number of eyelets in their shoes (and yes, some of them wear slip-ons).
    I understand something of the “what show goes on what night” but again, being one of those that are reasonably up with the times, I have a DVR. I DON’T GIVE A RAT’S ASS WHAT TIME A SHOW IS ON OR WHAT DAY – I RECORD IT AND SEE IT AT *MY* LEISURE. Suprise, rating for folks like me are completely MEANINGLESS! oops, didn’t think of that, did you mr. empty headed executive.
    So I say to you, “congratulations, you have managed to once again save the decent people of the world from exposure to something that they might actually like and replace it with crap.”
    Good luck getting my advertising sourced dollars, I’m going back to where real Sci-Fi lives and READ A BOOK!

  • Don’t you wish you can pick & choose which channels you are willing to pay for. I have no need for SyFry anymore. Probably sometime next year SyFry will have another none SiFi name change again. Bring on the name change, bring on more wrasling, bring on more of those B rated movies, and get bought out for next to nothing by someone else.

  • I’m certainly not blaming everything on wrestling but I do agree that it seems to be a part of a downward spiral. So I will use it for this example.

    While I can’t speak for the vast base of viewers I can say this about my group of friends and family:
    The ones who watch that wresting never turn on syfy again. And most of the ones who watch syfy daily turn on something else when the wrestling starts.

    So while smackdown brings in alot of people once a week, they’re not going to start watching sanctuary.
    Cancelling shows for irrelevant programming angers your true user base and seems to be the start of a chain reaction where their is no scifi channell anymore.
    At leasy in my opinion.

  • SGU was slow to start with but it was different and more interesting, there was good character development at the beginning and you felt it was setting the show up in the long term to love the characters and story line even more. Stargate and all things related to it are a powerful influence in all off our lives, if you weren’t a fan you wouldn’t be on this site reading this.

    It’s sad to have seen SyFy take the action they have and constantly move shows, it’s no wonder the viewing audience became confused when their favorite shows we’re on and gave up. I personally would like to see an organized protest where all enthusiasts committed to original scripted shows boycott the SyFy channel for one week, they need to remember who their viewing audience is and appreciate us a bit more. We are the ratings after all, and now no one wants to listen because a tv executive thinks he/she knows it all?

    SGU will be missed greatly from me, 1 person, 1 rating and 1buyer of stargate boxed sets.

  • I must admit that I’m not much of a tv fan because must network programs are junk, but I truly enjoyed watching the stargate franchise expand during the past few years and I felt stargate universe had the potential to be the apex of the brand. It was really the only tv program that I made plans to watch every week. It has employed a much more realistic approach than the previous programs, and while it was slightly darker, that lent itself to more genuine portrayals of interpersonal relationships. Also, I liked it that every episode didn’t neatly wrap up every week, which is how it would really be if a group of people were trapped in a space ship traveling through an unknown part of the universe in a million year old ship. The possibilities were endless. I’m really disappointed in the decision by the Sci-Fi, or SyFy network to cancel the show. There should be some kind of a write-in campaign by those of us who actually watch the show every week. By putting it back in the Friday slot, during the off peak summer season, I would almost be willing to bet that the show ratings would pick up significantly.

  • Excuse me while I play Devil’s Advocate.

    If you didn’t know, Smackdown isn’t live. They record it on either Tuesday or Wednesday, so you can’t move it to those days. Then they have to edit it to keep it at exactly two hours (RAW, which is live, always ends up ending 15 minutes later than it should, meaning we miss the most important half of the news because we wanna watch RAW until the very end) and send it to the network. They can’t move it to Thursdays because they have another show, WWE Superstars, airing on WGN on that day. Saturdays normally have sports that would take away from the core audience, and Sundays are for WWE PPV events. So Friday is, at the moment, the only day of the week that they can air Smackdown. Maybe, in the future, they will cancel Superstars and then they can move Smackdown to Thursdays, but for now, you’ll just have to grin and take it. At least they do show sci-fi shows after it. After RAW, they show repeats of WWE’s reality series Tough Enough (which comes on BEFORE RAW).

    Plus, I’m sure SyFy signed a contract so there’s not much they can do anyways. I’m pretty sure the people at WWE told SyFy when they had to air it or else they wouldn’t get.

    I do get what you are upset at though, Darren. I remember when it used to be JUST sci-fi shows. Well, and Mystery Science Theater 3000 but I guess that could be kind of classified as sci-fi as well. I’m a closet fan of a lot of the shows that were on and are currently on. I hope it works out so the sci-fi shows you, and my dad, and I, love so much will be able to get good ratings while Smackdown is on Syfy.

  • changing the days of the week this particular show is aired was kinda weird. But the thing that killed it imho its very poor script writing. How can you have the most awesome space ship created yet you pass your time writing episodes about how you need to find more plants and to change tech that is failing around you. There was zip material about the “unexplored” parts of the ship where you could find great mysteries and so on, about the technologies itself. And it was the same for Atlantis. For me, personally these shows where killed by bad writers more then changing airing days or whatever. Just my opinion

  • Reality tv is the downfall of civilization. Unfortunately, networks have to pander to the largest group of viewers out there in order to make money, and lets face it, most people, are not that bright, and reality tv panders to them. so smart shows do not get made. HBO has come out with some great shows, but there have been an awful lot of violence in those, not that I am necessarily complaining. But I would like to expose my children to smarter shows than Hannah Montana and Survivor, or Batchlorette.

  • Shame on you Darren for this statement: “Wrestling fans will watch Smackdown instead of NCIS on Tuesdays, because they are already in the habit of not making good life choices.”

    You say you intended it as a joke, but I somehow doubt may others saw it that way and instead took it for what it was…a slam against people who watch wrestling. I certainly did. I don’t watch wrestling, but I still find it insulting for the need to make personal comments about their fans. This is one of the things that has to be fought against on the GW forums (fans insulting other fans..usually within our own fandom) and here you are exhibiting the same petty behavior. Just stick to the topic and leave your opinion of fans out of it.

    As to the article, I certainly don’t blame Smackdown for SGU’s failure. It certainly can’t be blamed for the poor numbers SGU exhibited when it was aired in other countries. I know only US rating numbers count, but if people loved SGU that much, they would have followed it to which ever night Skiffy put it on. You denigrate WWE fans, yet apparently you give them enough credit and enough brain cells to follow their show where ever it may go. If SGU fans are so much better, then why are they not able to make the transition to follow their show?

    Yes, one of your major points is the dissolution of Sci-fi Fridays that were a staple of Skiffy, and I was an avid fan of those Friday nights with my love of Farscape, SG-1, SGA, and BSG. But these days, Skiffy is not the only one who has (or in its case “had“) sci-fi shows on Friday nights. This season the CW moved Smallville and Supernatural to Friday nights. Now I have enjoyed SGU (even though I have my problems with it). I watched it when it debuted on Fridays. I followed it to Tuesdays and then to Mondays. But if it had remained on Friday night in the same time slot, I would have been forced to watch the second showing because I’m a fan of Supernatural and would have given it priority over SGU…even if I had been one of those mythical Nielsen families with the box. FOX recently moved Fringe to Friday nights as well. SGU would have faced other competition among the sci-fi fandom. That’s no guarantee that it could have pulled enough ratings for a renewal.

    If Smackdown was standing in its way, then what would SGU have been paired with on Friday night? Sanctuary? Being Human? Those are the only two scripted shows left on Skiffy that I can think of. They tried it with Caprica, and apparently SGU didn’t do Caprica any favors as a lead in…and this was when there was no Smallville/Supernatural/Fringe competition on Friday night. Actually I think WWE might have helped SGU if Skiffy had paired them up and moved SGU back to Friday nights. Sanctuary seemed to do fine with WWE as a lead in. Still not going to say that that would have helped save SGU. Do I wish it would have? Definitely yes as SGU was getting better and better, but Skiffy is running a business, and while I don’t agree with or like a number of their programming decisions, I certainly don’t fault them for buying Smackdown. It does bring in the numbers for them.

    Could SGU have pulled better numbers on Friday than on Tuesdays with WWE out of the picture? Probably. But would they have been enough? Obviously we will never know. Just like we will never know if SGU could have done better if it had been run during the summer months. Or if they had written some of the first season differently. Etc. etc.

  • Thank you Darren, Those of us outside the US, who LOVES these shows, sometimes, could not understand the reasoning behind the decisions of Syfy of late. Your explanation and bold statements have captured the thought behind these “green paper” decisions by these execs beautifully. Although we are all in agreement with your conclusions, it is sad that at the end we, science fiction followers, will have to face the undeniable truth within the foreseeable future… that being, RealTV will makes its presence felt across all cable/satellite TV production houses. It is unstoppable as is evolution. However, with the birth of RealTV, so another window of opportunity will (or has) open. I believe global technology is near to the stage where it can be accepted that InternetTV is very plausible. And I don’t mean websites with links to uploaded (pre-recorded) TV episodes of your favorite shows. I mean a legally fully funded top class ultra fast bandwidth fully capable of integrating with your home TV set online TV Production Company. I believe that here is where we science fictions fans will “get one over on Syfy”. I still stay true to the fact that we the viewers are the financial contributors to the success of the a TV channel and its survival. So thank you again for speaking out and making your voice heard.
    ps. I think someone should update the Syfy Wikipedia page, which at the moment says “…is an American cable television channel that has science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural and paranormal programming.”

  • after SGU ended, that was the last time i will ever use seefee channel.. i wont waste my time on wrestling..
    sancuary isnt my cup of tea,
    good bye NBC/seefee, you youth was great, now you suck

  • Let’s all drink a toast to the death of a dear friend. Syfy has bowed to these tough times and sold its soul, like so many others when the road gets bumpy. SGU was intelligent, elegant, romantic, thought-provoking, and the sets and effects were first rate. Wrestling may be Syfy’s Sugar Daddy, but I can’t see it winning an award like SGU has, or any award ever, for that matter. Yay, one more channel with low-brow ‘entertainment’ for the unwashed masses. How original and creative. In the final analysis, what a true accomplishment. I understand that business decisions need to be made, and a corporation must be profitable, but compromising quality for a quick buck has been the undoing of so many firms, and I have little doubt that if Syfy continues on this road, that it will bite them in the end. If Syfy replaces its unique and loyal fan base with the demographic that watches wrestling, surely they will have to continue to pile on similar shows to keep their new fan base happy. While this may make a few more bucks in the short term, they will be directly competing with about 20 other big boys with exactly the same lineup. Like a unique restaurant changing its menu to fast food for a quick buck, I can’t imagine that they’ll be able to hold the attention of the increasingly fickle general populace for long. Who knows, they may survive in some form, but they’ll be just another dreary cable channel with the same carbon-copy programming as so many others. When all decisions are made solely by how much money you can rake in before you crash and burn, and how big a golden parachute you can get, the world becomes a little dimmer and less interesting, and we regress as a species.

  • I hate to say it but its not just Wrestling… a lot of Sci-fi (the whole SG run included) is made out of BC, and the exchange rate probably didn’t help. Made in Canada, but the decisions are made by American companies who see American dollars. Theres a few basic assumptions made because I didn’t have all night to research this, but here are the USD-to-CAD exchange rates for the three series w/ production cost per episode (constant value used). Assumptions made are that decision to start a series is one year advance of airing, and to kill is 6-month advanced decision. That’s when the respective exchange rates come from.

    SG1 – 1.7m USD per episode
    Start – 1.3658 CAD per USD – adjusted $1.24m USD
    Killed – 1.1137 CAD per USD – adjusted $1.52m USD

    SGA – 1.4m USD per episode
    Start – 1.3525 CAD per USD – adjusted 1.035m USD
    Killed – 1.0166 CAD per USD – adjusted 1.38m USD

    SGU – capped at 2m USD per episode
    *Start – 1.1852 CAD per USD – adjusted 1.695m USD
    Killed – 1.0080 CAD per USD – adjusted 1.98m USD

    May 2011 average – 0.9584 CAD per USD
    Adjusted cost to produce an episode of SGU today: $2.088m USD

    *should be noted the exchange rate was tanking fast in USD’s favour. See late 2008 to early 2009 USD/CAD rates.

    Sucks but even assuming the costs were the same at the start as the end (which as noted above the costs rise in long-run series), the average cost of an episode in USD when they were killed was almost 25% higher (24.136%) than at start. People making the decisions are making business decisions by the numbers they see, not the content we perceive it to provide.

    Also unfortunate but needs to be noted, viewership in Canada and aboard may have been much higher than the US, if they see that they can lose 80% of the viewership in canada for a timeslot, they only need to pull 8.7% more viewers from the US pool to make up for it.

    Same thing went or station wagons. Great performance in the market up here, Ford still canned them a few years back for poor sales performance in the US. We just get dwarfed by their market (and their ‘popular’ media).

    For the record, huge SGU fan. I feel I grew up with the series – the light-hearted stuff was great, and I still like the originals and the Atlantis stuff (even though I do, yes, sometimes have a hard time with the dated props and effects throwing me out of the SG zone in originals – nod to PhillySpartan on that legit factor) but the heavier, darker, grittier feel of SGU definately appeals more now.

    @slayme – They tried a new Star Trek series a few years ago – Enterprise – and if I recall correctly, it struggled for most of its four-season life. I wish it hadn’t, but it got canned too. I guess 6 years should be enough time between to come back with a new series, though I’m not sure how they would. Maybe another good movie soon to really get people going on it? *shrug*

  • I agree with Darren and I’m done with Syfy. I don’t care whatever else might come out on “Syfy” I’m not watching or giving them any money on dvd sales.

    That being said, I would have paid up to $3 an episode to watch SGU on somewhere like itunes, netflix or whatever, if that’s what it took to keep it going.

    If the numbers stayed around 1mil per episode and everyone paid around $3 an episode that comes out to be $3 mil an episode and it only costs 2 mil on the high side thats 1 mil an episode they would make profit.

    I think something has to change, too many good shows getting killed. Why should I even bother watching anything else when it has a good chance of getting killed before its time?

  • @oneposter – You’re adjusting USD values relative to CAD values…only you’re starting off with USD values so there was no need to adjust in the first place? 2m USD is still 2m USD regardless of what the value of CAD is.

  • If only aliens would invade and take away all watchers of wrestling and reality tv…. either that or increase the general public’s IQ….

  • @mythos – leave me alone it was late and i was in shock. ;-)

    Ya, what I meant was the effective cost of everything increased for them when value of CAD relative to USD increased. Unless they signed contracts for all the staff and all the businesses involved to pay in USD, even w/ all other things staying equal, costs would still have gone up considerably (most noticable w/ SGA’s numbers).

  • Why cant someone buy this channel out?

    Simply put. Wrestling will find a home somewhere else just like it always has!!

    Why do they have to alienate all of us who used to love the old Scifi channel.

    SyFy is the the death of the Science Fiction channel. There is a nitch audience for this Genre. Its a shame someone cannot start a new channel similar to the old one. Im sure SyFy dooes not own the rights to everything Science Fiction.

    How about it. I would be happy with old reruns of Scifi even if they never make a new series.

  • @Darren Hallelujah!! Darren that put the biggest smile on my face :) Its what prompted me to tell SyFy what I really thought on “SyFy’s open letter to fans” My post never made it through moderation and thus never posted, its okay I was hopping at least you read it, I can see why it never was published on the forums I was just letting out steam because I hate this wrestling junk, and I truly believe it had a hand in SGU’s death

    Anyways Darren more power to you, your letter to SyFy about professional wrestling killed science fiction was the best thing I read all day, the other day when i read it and then immediately re-read it again. Thank you Darren for sending that, I hope it got your point across to them. Sorry for my HATE post to SyFy on the there letter to us poor fans about the cancellation. I totally understand why it never made it past moderation, no hard feelings. I hope at least you got to read it. You inspired me to write it:) And you know there was some truth to it. But you rock Darren for telling SyFy whats up.

  • IMO SyFy has done the unthinkable. I’m actually watching less cable programing, and moving back to the big networks because of their poor choices. For years, the trend has been a movement of viewers from the big networks to cable, and now from both the big networks and cable to online programming. SyFy has somehow figure out a way to both send viewers back to the networks, and to online viewing without gaining any viewers of their own.

  • I agree … it is sad to see the decline of american entertainment … good , decent shows being sacrificed for brainless trash… Heck I remember when MTV actualy showed mostly music videos … seems syfy (formerly sci-fi) is suffering from a simmilar version of network alziemers (so my spelling needs help) … wrestling is, in my humble opinion, just about as mentaly stimulating as so-called reality shows , or trashy talk shows , or the shoping network . and lets face it … ratings on trash is only high because they all resemble a train wreck and the audiance cant seem to look away in shock. syfy would do better to THINK before they air the same trash as other networks just to sell out . Science Fiction was only great because it inspires the future generations to strive for greatness. for example think of all the technology created by star trek fans. If any of the producers at SYFY are reading this realize you are gifted with an audience that are a cut above the typical veiwer.. YES we want to be entertained but not at the expense of rotting our minds.. Let Empty Vee (MTV) do that to their veiwers… But please … work on improving your shows . Inspire us…. If you insist on killing the stargate at least try something like mabey a series based off of the movie Timeline (but with the science that was in the book actualy included and don’t gender-bend the main characters)or better yet actualy resolve the stories you start.

  • I only just read this letter, and I didn’t read all the comments (there are quite a few), so someone else may have made this point.

    NBC Universal are courting a massive audience, and the fans of science fiction are a tiny audience.

    NBC have a stated goal of 100% market penetration. This means they hope that every household in the USA will tune their tv set to at least one NBC-owned station for at least one hour every single day. They will not tolerate another network dominating one night or another (like NCIS on Tuesdays, for example). Instead they will keep changing their lineup until they gather the market share away from their competitors. They want a show which will out-perform NCIS. Also please remember that NBC is a collection of channels (thirty or so), and they are considering the market across the whole lot of them.

    Science fiction fans are a tiny percentage of the poulation (less than 4%), so it is not cost effective to program specifically for their tastes. Moreover, that amount does little to contribute to the company goal (100% market penetration). All of this is stated on their home website.

    The “party line” is that each channel is weighed on it’s own merits, but that is simply not true. Therefore, boycotting SyFy will not impact on the owners of the channel in any way at all. They will simply cut out the little original scripted scifi they do make, because you people are no longer watching it. There will be more wrestling, not less.

    Furthermore, and I don’t like making this point, science fiction in general is unsupported and fails quickly. Darren made this point in his letter. Firefly. Defying Gravity. The Event. No Ordinary Family. Moonlight. Earth 2. Surface. Invasion. Threshold. All shows which were just as popular with the insular scifi crowd, but without the popular appeal which Star Trek and Star Wars always carried. The Stargate franchise was a surprising, if pleasant, anomaly to the endless litany of investing time in a program, getting swept up in the narrative, then having it all snatched away. I can remember many fine series which were cancelled after less than one season throughout the eighties.

    We are a small group, struggling to survive on the fringes of popular entertainment.

  • This ed piece is spot on. I knew sci-fi was losing it’s way the moment I saw wrestling, face off and ghost hunters coming into the line up. I used to look forward to Friday nights but now I find alternatives.

  • Thanks Darren For openly saying what needed to be said !


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