Season Four’s “Adrift” earned a 1.2 household rating, SCI FI announced today, representing nearly 1.7 million total viewers. 896,000 adults age 18 to 49 tuned in for the episode, as well as 962,000 in the adults 25 to 54 demographic.
Compared to the second half of Season Three (which aired between April and June, 2007), the season premiere did bring 7 percent more adults 18 to 49, 2 percent more adults 25 to 54, and 6 percent more total viewers to the Atlantis universe. The ten episodes from “The Return, Part 2” and “First Strike” averaged a 1.24 rating.
But the premiere is down from the third season premiere and finale, both of which scored a 1.5 rating. The last mid-season premiere earned a 1.4.
“Adrift” marks the first time that Atlantis has premiered in the fall, making season-to-season comparisons more difficult. Among the show’s new network competition at 10 p.m. on Fridays is CBS’s Numbers, NBC’s Las Vegas, and ABC’s 20/20.
SCI FI did boast in a press release that the Atlantis premiere helped make this their biggest third quarter ever among younger viewers (adults 18 to 34, and women 18 to 34). The cable network averaged a 0.9 rating for the quarter and a 1.0 for September.
Reality series Ghost Hunters premiered on Wednesday with a 1.4 rating. SCI FI’s top-rated show remains the summer success Eureka, which premiered its second season on July 10 with a 2.0 rating and which was recently renewed for a third season.
Eureka‘s more recent ratings are comparable to the Atlantis premiere. The September 25 episode scored a 1.2 rating.
How well Stargate Atlantis‘s season premiere rating bodes for a possible fifth season pick-up remains to be seen. It is likely that SCI FI will give the show a few more weeks to gather data before making its final decision.
Despite the show’s success internationally and in DVD and Internet download sales, renewal decisions are based on the U.S. broadcast ratings — since the cable network pays the lion’s share of Stargate‘s production budget.
Delayed viewership (up to one week following the original broadcast) is accounted for by Nielsen Media Research, and a show like Atlantis can get a significant boost thanks to its tech-savvy demographic. But advertisers and networks regard these delayed viewer numbers as less significant, since viewers are more apt to skip past commercial breaks.
SCI FI is one of the most DVR’ed networks on television, and Friday is the most DVR’ed night of the week — and Stargate Atlantis is one of the most DVR’ed shows on TV, according to executive producer Joseph Mallozzi.
Tune in for brand new episodes of Stargate Atlantis every Friday night at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific on SCI FI! The epic season premiere continues this week with the anticipated, cast-altering episode “Lifeline.”