Sanctuary has experienced a massive ratings recovery on Monday nights for the final three episodes of its third season, thanks to the conclusion of the major broadcast networks’ 2010-2011 season and the start of the summer. Monday’s season finale turned in the show’s highest ratings since Syfy moved it off of Friday nights.
“Into the Black” earned an estimated 1.283 million viewers (Live + Same Day), an improvement of 7 percent from last week. In the Adults 18 to 49 demographic, Sanctuary stayed even with a 0.4 rating.
The three summer episodes have averaged 1.13 million — compared to 0.787 on Monday nights during the spring broadcast period (April-May), an average improvement of almost 44 percent.
By contrast, the show immediately lost around 40 percent of its audience when the network moved it from Friday nights during the spring period. It eventually fell to a low of just 656,000 live viewers, off 54 percent from the last episode to air on a Friday.
The show couldn’t regain all of its lost (live) viewers even when the competition went off the air, though. The highest-rated Monday episode was still 10 percent off from where the show left off on Friday nights in the spring.
This is as close as Stargate Universe fans will get to conclusive proof that Syfy mishandled that show, airing it in the highly competitive fall season (it was originally announced as a summer show) and then moving it to the even more competitive Tuesday nights before finally cancelling it. (SGU‘s first season ratings — on Friday nights in the fall season — already put it in the cancellation danger zone, according to Syfy.) As much of its viewership as SGU lost during its first season, its second season seems to have performed quite well considering how significantly it was handicapped — airing in the fall, off of Friday nights, without a lead-in (and without any companion show after Caprica was cancelled in October).
Next up for Syfy Channel (and our continuing ratings coverage): The new Monday night block of original scripted programming launches on July 11, with new seasons of Eureka (8/7c) and Warehouse 13 (9/8c) leading into the new superhero drama Alphas (10/9c). Then Haven will return for its second season on Friday, July 15, taking up that post-wrestling time slot.
Since summertime is what Syfy does best, we expect good things from the ratings — even on a Monday. It’s also the first time (that we can recall) that the network has put three of its shows together on the same night since Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, and Battlestar Galactica ran together.