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SGU, other Syfy dramas moving to Tuesdays

Thursday - April 15, 2010
Category: GENERAL | Tags: , ,

Syfy Channel will move its Friday night dramas to Tuesdays starting in October, the network announced this week.

Stargate Universe, Sanctuary and Caprica will air on Tuesday nights, where the network has had great success in the summer months with Eureka and Warehouse 13, its two highest rated original series.  SGU and Sanctuary air in the fall months, Caprica in the winter.  SGU then returns for the second half of its season during the spring.

The reason?  Syfy has picked up … wait for it … WWE Friday Night SmackDown, one of the many professional wrestling shows that seem to draw big viewership for cable networks, particularly among the coveted young male demographics.

That series will debut October 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, and run two hours in length.  Rather than pairing Stargate and its other scripted dramas with wrestling, Syfy is opting to maintain SmackDown‘s Friday night presence and give its dramas — which have seen sliding ratings on Friday nights for several years — a try on another night of the week.

SmackDown is a veteran 10-year-old series that has been airing on Friday nights since 2005.  It comes to Syfy from the MyNetworkTV syndication group, having originally aired on UPN and then The CW.  The series launched in 1999 and averages more than 3.4 million viewers each week.

Stargate Universe, the current Friday night leader for Syfy during the fall, draws about half that.

“With Tuesday night, a proven winner for our original drama series including Warehouse 13, there is bigger opportunity for series such as Stargate Universe, Sanctuary and Caprica to thrive on a night with a significantly larger number of viewers available to watch live,” Syfy president Dave Howe said.

The move to Tuesdays makes a premiere of either September 28 or October 5 likely.  The latter would follow Syfy’s pattern of starting off the quarter with new series; but it would also cede a bigger jump on the new fall season to the broadcast networks.

Scheduling Strategy

What seems like a minor shift in scheduling strategy could actually have big ramifications for Stargate and the cable network — hopefully for the better.

Friday night is notorious for being one of the least-watched nights of television, earning the “graveyard” moniker for the big networks.  Because science fiction genre shows struggle with finding a general audience by their very nature, networks and cable channels have typically relegated them to the Friday time slots anyway — where there are lower expectations to perform.

Add the fact that sci-fi fans are statistically more likely to be early adopters of DVR technology and watch their favorite Friday night shows later, and you begin to see why series like Stargate see some of the biggest ratings boosts when the DVR-delayed viewing is factored in.  For shows like Stargate and Battlestar Galactica, those viewership increases have been upwards of 45 to 50 percent.

Taking SGU and other dramas to Tuesdays — a highly-watched night of the week — could pay off in spades for Syfy.  But the competition with bigger network shows, of course, also increases the risk.  The networks’ new fall season is expected to premiere in late September.  And Tuesdays boasts some of television’s biggest juggernauts, including FOX’s American Idol in the springtime.

Syfy Channel previously experimented with Galactica on Sunday nights, but didn’t see much improvement in the ratings for the critically acclaimed series.  It moved back to Friday nights for its final run of episodes.

Syfy is following its sister network USA in taking its scripted series off Friday nights.  USA has seen great success for such shows as Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, and Royal Pains on other weeknights.  It also airs WWE’s other weekly series, WWE Raw, on Mondays.

Whether or not the gamble will pay off for Syfy and Stargate Universe is anyone’s guess.  We’ll certainly be watching the numbers very closely when Season Two begins this fall!

What do you think?  Is it a good move for the network and the shows to go to Tuesday? Sound off below!

(Thanks to Ryan, Morjana, Gary, Madwelshboy, Tanith, Brandon, Justin, Diogo, Jonno, Robert, Meh, Jim, and Jeff for the tip)

NEXT: The press release


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 (45):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • What they ARE putting on Fridays makes me lol hard, but this might actually be good for SGU. Here’s hoping more viewers tune in live on Tuesday.

  • i’m a fan of sanctuary, and i’m very concerned. BUT, this might be a good thing for it (and sgu and caprica), so…

    the other popular shows of tues night, i don’t watch. :p

  • I’m cautiously optimistic about it. Although SciFi Fridays having been a staple of existence for the duration of this century, I’ll have to retrain people on what night of the week to leave me alone. :)

  • I still fail to see the reason why SyFy show WWE, especially since WWE isn’t sci-fi at all. It’s just mediocre ‘play fighting’ by adults who don’t have real careers.

    Okay, so maybe a move to Tuesday will do SGU some good, but it should be for a legitimate reason, like reserving Fridays for cr*p SyFy produced TV movies, or less american sci-fi, like Red Dwarf or something like that.

  • SyFy hasn’t a clue about what it’s doing. Fans complained about the presence of wrestling…so it added MORE wrestling.

  • In the age of DVR’s it does make sense to move it away from Friday. I think they should of picked Monday though. Going up against American Idol is bad idea IMO.

  • Another thing to consider about the move to Tuesdays…

    FOX: American Idol

    Being that both American Idol and NCIS draw around 20 million viewers each every week, it’s VERY hard to get viewers on that day. I for one will most likely be recording SGU, so I can watch NCIS/NCISLA.

  • I just find it weird because there getting rid of WWE NXT on tuesday’s to move the Syfy shows to tuesday because there getting another WWE show. Why not just put Smackdown in the NXT slot is news to me but they are the network. But SYFY’s rationale has always been that WWE fits into the “imagine greater” slogan. And add to that the fact that Vince Mcmahon and Dick Ebersol (Head of NBC, SYFY’s parent company) are best buddies plays a role. Still I beleive that they should have some loyalty to their programming but I guess that’s why they’re no longer Sci-Fi

  • Good job on the time slot change, failure in the replacement. Wrestling does not belong on their channel.

  • Insanity has hit the programmers or management or both at SYFY. No, not because they are moving those series to Tuesday (though after having established Friday night as the SCI-FI (not SYFY) night of the week, you would think that would remain as a real statement), rather because of the totally irritating, stupid annoying addition of, who cares a fig about fake wrestling, not me, WWE on Friday night. What is any wrestling or boxing doing on the Scifi channel, now called SYFY, at all. I have to pay Comcast around $30 extra per month just to have the SYFY channel included in my “package”. The only way I can see that channel is to purchase a larger package of channels, not one of which I care about other than SYFY, and I absolutely do not spend that $30 per month so I can watch Wrestling on a station supposedly devoted to Science fiction or close shows. I am insulted that the SYFY network would actually make an agreement to show Wrestling on the night previously only scheduling new Sci-Fi series. It makes me consider cancelling my agreement with Comcast and then just using Torrents to download episodes of the series I want to see and screw SYFY.

  • Most likely they are hoping to capture the Tuesday night audience that watches Lost after that show sees its finally.

  • Great job – SeeFee!
    I being moved over for Wrestling is better than being cancelled and being replaced by a “re-imagined” Flash Gordon (*rolls eyes*)

  • TV Schedules are meaningless to me, I DVR my shows and watch at my leasure. The networks need to realize thats what alot of people are doing now.

  • People still watch ‘Lost’???

    Only show I like on tuesdays was ‘Lie to Me’, and it’s not back yet… so … oh well. No biggie for me.

  • Well since Lost is ending :( SGU wont have to compete with it. I might still have to compete with V that is if it gets picked up for a 2nd season.

  • I’m gonna have to DVR Sanctuary now. That was the only show that I made an effort to watch live. But I work late most weekdays, so DVR it is.

  • Next they will go from tuesday to wednesday and put Oprah and Emeril live on tuesdays…

  • SyFy honestly sucks on *any* and all decisions for programming on that network. A trained monkey could possibly make more effective decisions. I work second shift, and I have Fridays off it’s the one thing I like looking forward to on Friday nights. Honestly, Syfy makes just completely makes terrible decisions all the dang time since as far as I can remember. Ugh.

  • I suppose being moved because of Wrestling is better than cancellation and replacement by a re-imagined FG, but…remember, just last year they had something far worse – that completely unfunny embarrassing Outer Space Astronauts. So, you’re absolutely correct, it could be much worse. They could make that series the “centerpiece” of Tuesday nights.

  • About USA’s shows – not true that the move to Weds. was a great success for In Plain Sight: 3.2 mil. and 0.8 demo this week and still a drop from last week’s ratings.

    So far, the move to Tues. and Weds. worked well for White Collar, so-so for Psych and barely at all for L&O:CI and In Plain Sight.

    Tues. would have worked for SyFy during summer. But throughout the regular season? I think that the shows will either drop or stay level. Let’s face it, ratings prove that SGU’s fans DVR the show anyway. I don’t see them jumping on the “live” wagon when it moves to Tues.

  • Im a huge Stargate and WWE fan and in the UK we have Smackdown on a Friday and SGU on a Tuesday. They both get great ratings on these days. So i think its a good thing for SGU that its moving to a Tuesday. It might get better raitings in the US to

  • Part of the problem is that the Sci-Fi executives…wait for it…hate science fiction. They see it as geeky and niche, and have been trying to move away from it for over a decade. They see it as a detriment to their brand and profitability.

    They won’t actually stop acting like m***** until the fans organize a collective letter writing campaign or something similar.

  • OMG – SyFy is really fraked up. As much as I despise SyFy these days, and the only I tune into the channel is for SGU now…. these new exec’s have really ruined the essence of the channel and potential programming.
    All I can say now is…if SGU is really moving to TUESDAYS…..then SGU will not survive season 2!!!!

  • Oh, I forgot to mention…this for me personally, is a huge conflict in programming… Tuesdays is the night I watch NCIS, NCIS LA & The Good Wife… I honestly predict that ratings will drop a lot. I hate to say it…but SyFy just killed SGU.

  • Not being from America myself I’m not sure if this is a good move or not. I hope that its a good decision.

    Just out of curiosity is Friday still considered to be a ‘Death Slot’ or does that only apply to some of the other networks?

  • WWE on friday nights. And no one is getting fired. SCIFI Fridays has been in the works for ever and now they drop the WWE on it and pit SGU up against Idol and SCI. Like I said, and no one is getting fired. My queston is, when did the head of the Stargate Worlds start calling the shots at SciFi?

  • What are they going to do with Merlin? Season 2 was just got picked up by Syfy. It has only aired like 2 episodes?

  • @Tanith: It’s a death slot in general. And especially these days. A move to Friday on the big networks usually means “cancellation ahead” warning.

    CBS’ rating dropped below 2 in the demo ratings. Dollhouse on Fox dropped below 1 in the demo – sometimes even CW’s Smallville did better.

    But it’s true that sanks to that, there’s smaller competition. I don’t think that SGU or Sanctuary or Caprica will be able to hold their own against demo juggernauts like AI…

  • Sure, SGU will now face better competition in its time slot on Tuesday but I think it’s overall live viewership should also go up as more people watch TV on Tuesday as opposed to Friday.

    On the other hand, what are we SciFi nerds supposed to do now on Friday nights?

  • IMO die hard fans will watch it on any night of the week. I know I will. I guess we won’t find out if this will expand their viewers or hurt them until we see some real numbers. They could always move it back to Friday if it’s a disaster.

  • I already sacrifice PBS Frontline for NCIS on Tuesday let alone the Discovery and History hot time slots. But then who watches live TV anymore anyway? I always miss part of NCIS and have to shop for it elsewhere.

    There are times I think this series was modeled on The Producers.

  • i think change is good and fans will follow the show to new nights. if the change can increase viewers and bring on a season 3 pickup then great! i think a lot of the constructive feedback will be put into season 3 and hope the schedule changes help with this ratings strategy.

  • NOOOO, I watch NCIS/NCISLA on Tuesday, they are really good shows. Now I have to choose between watching live and watching Hulu for the other two shows. I can care less for Caprica, didn’t really like it. What does Wrestling have to do with Science Fiction? Someone please explain that one to me. At least now I have no reason to watch Syfy on Friday nights now. Way to go Syfy you really don’t have a clue what is going on in the world of Television! Whatever

  • This is possibly the best idea the Syfy Channel has had in years; more people are home during the week so viewership should go up. However its too little too late for me. There is nothing on that network that interests me anymore.

    For a channel with the tagline of “Imagine Greater”, I feel they are not. Wrestling, ghost hunting and soap operas are not science fiction. I am a sci-fi/action/adventure fan and that’s what I want.

    On Fridays, I would watch SGU and then Spartacus; I am constantly amazed by the difference. Yes, there are insane levels of blood and nudity on Spartacus but if those elements were lessened to, say, PG-13 levels it would still be a good show. The character development is incredible and the execution of even a predictable story event is brilliant.

    However, SGU’s slow pacing, lack of true character development and the weak payoffs makes me want to cry when I watch it.

    Also, the powers that be are falling back into the biggest problem I have had with the franchise, lack of emotional closure.

    Eli was upset about Rush being abandoned, or at least that is how it was portrayed by the actor. Rush returns, after having saved the apple of Eli’s eye no less, and nothing is made of this. I was confused. I was expecting something emotionally gripping but was left feeling empty. For a show priding itself on being dramatic that missed opportunity is even more glaring to me.

    I felt this way about the SG1 episode Shades of Grey. Jack lies to his team, rips Daniel apart and when the episode ends there is nothing. Daniel makes a poor attempt at a quip and then it is never mentioned again. Daniel and the others just move on. There are other examples too.

    I am looking forward to seeing Jack and Daniel again in three future episodes of SGU. Yet, I know they will only be there for a few dear moments then poof they will be gone.

    I really wanted SGU to be good, or at least something I could enjoy. I adore the Stargate franchise, its fans and the excitement that use to surround it. However, this show is so far a departure from the shows and movie that spawned it as to be illegitimate. So I am putting my money where my mouth is and I will stop watching. The only exception will be the Jack and Daniel episodes.

    There will be a Stargate franchise reboot in a few years, so I will be back for that. Also, I have all ten seasons, the three movies and an internet full of well written fanfiction to keep me company.

    It was really nice talking to all of you. I may lurk around for a few more weeks but once the Jack and Daniel episodes aire I will go poof too. ;)

  • Playing with the schedule to maximize numbers, I can see that. Wrestling on Siffie, I can…HUH? Okay, I’m old, but I’m not *that* old. That’s just wrong. Bad enough Weather Channel now shows movies, for crying out loud! We definitely need to band together and do something before it’s too late. Individual griping isn’t getting us anywhere.

    So…how do we go about doing this? Siffie doesn’t exactly welcome comments.

  • OK. Well “rasslin'” sucks but it appears to be a neccessary evil in TV. I remember watching “Wrestling Live From the Olympic Auditorium” in Los Angeles in the mid-1950’s along with my Father. It is among my earliest memories (that and RollerRink). But there it is. It makes money on TV.

    This fact right there is such that it will allow SyFy at least a bit more lattitude in tolerating great Sci-Fi shows like SGU and Sanctuary having somewhat smaller ratings when they air.

    For those of us with DVR (I am guessing in excess of 90%) this means nothing really. I have every intention to watch SGU, etc on Friday night. Only NOW, I will not have to wait until 8:30 to start watching an 8:PM show. All the better for me. All the better for the SyFy Network. All the better for the rasslin’ fans. All the Better.

  • I apologise for being off-topic here “There will be a Stargate franchise reboot in a few years, so I will be back for that” I’m just wondering why do some people assume that’s definitely going to happen? there’s no guarantee.

  • Most likely everyone will watch live the much better shows on the big networks and DVR or Hula SGU and the others causing the ratings to drop farther, or maybe DVR the later reruns on Syfy, these weak shows can never compete with the much better written shows on the broadcast networks, and maybe Mr Wright will have his show compete with “V”. This would be a good time for another network to do a Scifi Friday, bring some Science Fiction back to Friday nights. It is interestingn that WWE’s Friday night show draws a completely different audience than the one on Mondays and if the ratings come with the show it will be more profitable for NBC Universal basicially ending any more science fiction on the network. I have supported the network for over twelve years but the programing has left me and the network is only a mispelled poor image of itds former self. Eventually all the fanboys that still be it to be Science Fiction will wake up and see the truth. Like many of you here I wanted scifi even if it was badly done was better than none at all.

  • Dumb move friday was the day i relax before the weekend and watch tv.

    Just another reason for me to watch less of stargate universe than I already do.

  • since when did “wrestling” become si fi??? what are you folks thinking??? I have begun to watch less and less since you took stargate Atlantis off the air

  • My bookcase contains more science fiction then so called “Sigh-Fry” channel (I hated their name change!).

    For me, Monday’s are The Big Bang Theory, Tuesdays are Nova and Deadliest Catch. Wednesdays there’s Mythbusters. Fridays used to be Sci-Fi and Saturdays are family and/or party night. Sundays are Discovery and History channel night.

    I have Media center…I DVR to watch late at night, if I like a show, I record it to disk for my library.

    Thursday nights are for reading. I have a backlog of books to read.

    I know where I’ll be spending more Friday nights from now on…sci-fi bookcase, here I come. Or, I could switch my Stargate and Sanctuary DVR to Friday nights……..after reading.

    Keep it up Sigh-Fry and you’ll soon be rid of that which you seem to be trying to get rid of……..those that love science fiction!

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