Syfy Channel’s long-awaited “trans-media event” made a big splash with its 2-hour series premiere yesterday. Defiance brought the cable network its biggest premiere since 2009, and the biggest audience in a couple of key demographics since 2006.
The premiere drew 2.7 million total viewers, according to a Syfy press release. That’s the network’s biggest audience since the July 2009 premiere of Warehouse 13 (3.5 million).
In the key demographic of Adults 18 to 49, the 1.3 million viewers for Defiance is Syfy’s best scripted series premiere since Eureka bowed in 2006. The demo of Adults 18 to 35 (479,000 viewers) was also the best since Eureka.
The 2-hour premiere averaged a 2.0 household rating, with more viewers still to be counted when the DVR-delayed numbers come in a few weeks down the road.
It’s also the first premiere of an original Syfy Channel scripted drama series since 2011’s Being Human — itself a remake of the U.K. series. Other recent newcomers to the network, including Lost Girl and Continuum, were acquired by Syfy from other countries. The network has focused almost exclusively on reality series in recent years, but earlier this month announced an ambitious new development slate for scripted series (story).
Defiance isn’t just Syfy’s first new original scripted drama in years — it’s also the network’s first return to what many viewers will regard as a more “pure science fiction,” contrasted with the “real life with a fantastic twist” type of shows that have flourished on the network, including Eureka, Warehouse 13, and Haven.
Defiance tells the story of a dramatically altered Earth after ships filled with various alien species fleeing from an intergalactic war crash onto the surface. It stars Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray, Stephanie Leonidas, Graham Greene and Mia Kirshner.
Trion Worlds’ accompanying Defiance video game, meanwhile, debuted at the beginning of April with a mix of praise and server difficulties. Syfy reports that players have logged more than 6 million hours of play since the April 2 opening. The two projects will work together, with story elements and the occasional character crossing back and forth between the game’s San Francisco setting and the TV series’ St. Louis setting.
It its 2-hour premiere block the new show faced off against FOX’s The Following (6.41 million viewers), CBS sitcoms 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly (7.48 and 7.65 million, respectively), Hawaii Five-o (7.65 million), and the ABC powerhouse of Dancing with the Stars (hour two of a 13.41 million viewer average) and Castle (10.41 million).
NBC aired the second hour of The Voice (averaging 14.29 million over its 8-10 p.m. time slot), and then pre-empted genre show Revolution with news special Terror in Boston.
Next week, Defiance will square off against the music, dancing, and comedy shows in the 9 p.m. block, as well as scripted competition from The Following. The show is also bowing around the world, premiering April 15 and 16 in a whopping 55 countries, including the U.K., Canada, Germany, and France.
Defiance continues next Monday at 9/8c on Syfy. Season One includes a total of 12 episodes. On April 29, the series will get a lead-out companion when Warehouse 13 returns with new episodes.
Keep up with the new show over on our sister site, SciFi Stream!