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Stargate‘s ratings yo-yo back down with ‘Common Descent’

Thursday - April 21, 2011
Category: RATINGS | Tags: ,

Fans of Stargate Universe really seemed to enjoy this week’s offering, “Common Descent” — but, of course, enthusiasm doesn’t translate into ratings.

The seventeenth episode of SGU‘s final season earned an estimated 861,000 viewers (Live + Same Day) for Syfy Channel on Monday night, down 16 percent from the previous week.  The episode earned a paltry 0.3 rating in the Adults 18 to 49 demographic.

That drop may be partially explained by the loss of SGU‘s lead-in series, Being Human, which aired its well-rated season finale last week.  Stargate moved up to the 9 p.m. time slot this week, and now has a repeat of the previous week’s episode as its 8 p.m. lead-in.

The time change also means different competition over on the big networks.  The final half-hour of a 90-minute Dancing With the Stars gave ABC an easy victory at 9 p.m., with over 22 million viewers.  Cougar Town followed at 9:30 with almost 7.9 million viewers.

CBS aired a repeat of Two and a Half Men and a new episode of Mike & Molly in the 9 o’clock hour, with 7.4 million and 10 million viewers, respectively.

FOX picked up 6.4 million with The Chicago Code, and NBC’s certain-to-be-cancelled sci-fi series The Event earned 3.85 million.

Don’t miss the final three episodes of Stargate Universe!  Episode 18, “Epilogue,” airs next Monday at 9/8c on Syfy.

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.

COMMENTS (40):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • that’s CRAZY one of the best episodes yet only 861k views this episode deserved at least 2million seriously dam I wish it hadn’t been cancelled they should have just stopped with season 1 now that it’s gotten good I Really am upset it’s getting cancelled

  • Eh, it’s not like ratings matter anymore. We know now they’ll never conclude the story anyway. :(

  • oh come on!!!! that was the best episode practically…there trying so hard People seriously man up and F#@king watch the damn show!!

  • they also had the NHL and NBA playoff games on at the same time and pawn stars.

  • Not surprise they move the show to a different time slow, put up against even greater competition. Whole announce to the world that the series ends on a gigantic cliff, what did they think would happen.

  • Gateworld should really stop posting these vastly inaccurate numbers. They don’t take into account world wide viewers (Me in Japan), DVR, iTunes, and Hulu. Then there are the huge fans like me who cannot get the show any other way besides iTunes (legally). This whole situation is f***** up, and it’s a damn shame SGU had to die because of it. In the next few years the online model will go mainstream, but it will be too late for SGU. Autonomous needs to get on this and take down NBC/Universal :)

  • Darren Sumner

    With all due respect, Lee, the numbers are not inaccurate because they’re not pretending to measure SGU‘s total worldwide (or even U.S.!) audience. They are a statistical estimation of how many people in the U.S. watched the Syfy Channel broadcast at 9/8c Eastern and Pacific time (or DVR’ed it and watched it by 3 a.m.).

    You don’t count for Syfy Channel’s Nielsen ratings. That doesn’t mean you aren’t a part of the show’s worldwide audience. Don’t worry, MGM knows that.

  • I know (hope) we will get closure for SGU in some form, be it novel or graphic novel, but will the franchise live on in those formats in official cannon? Meaning the plots and stories advance and not at the end of the book it’s as if nothing ever happened. The SGA Legacy series is different…is that official cannon now? Brad Wright and the rest of the team need to clarify this.

  • @Lee_Machine: To be very brutal – for the continuation of the series/franchise, you matter very little. The online numbers matter very little. Only the US live+SD and C3 numbers matter.

    SyFy isn’t the CW where all their shows are made “in-house”, so they get revenue from abroad and thus the netlet can afford lower US ratings (there was a whole article about the wonder of the CW’s continuous survival). SyFy’s US based and the shows they air don’t belong to them, they don’t care about viewers abroad because they don’t bring them any money. No other network/cable was interested in the series. And the show’s way too expensive to land on MGM’s tiny cable.

  • Oh no offence here, it’s more of an emotional rant than anything :)

    I’m just as annoyed as I’m sure you are. You sounded quite depressed in the emergency Gatworld podcast. My wife and I look forward to your Stargate commentaries. Are you doing every episode or just say the top 25 at first?

    So if MGM knows this why not keep the show alive online? Charge a few dollars an ep for everyone in the world?

  • @Lee_Machine: Regarding SGA:Legacy. Only what you see on TV is strictly canon. Everything else is fandom – as far as the creators/writers are concerned.

    For MGM, SGA:Legacy is the only continuation of the SGA canon there is – at the moment. Jo Graham and Co. and Fandemonium have MGM’s blessing, they don’t need BW’s or JM’s, only MGM’s who is the owner of the rights. This is as canon as it gets.

    What Jo Graham and Co. did is basically on par with Timothy Zahn’s continuation of Star Wars. Or with Andy Mangels’ continuation of Star Trek: Enterprise.

    On the other hand, SG-1 isn’t actually canon either, as far as the origina movie is concerned. Should there be another theatrical movie, the writers would disregard all the TV stuff that has happened since then. So…

    Conclusion? For TV purists, the books aren’t canon. But it looks like it’s all you’ll get. So, if you are a fan of SGU, I guess you should hope that some author decides to pick up where the writers left off and give you at least somewhat official conclusion.

  • I’ve only read one SG-1 book, and the first SGA Legacy book. Legacy aside it had the feel of anime filler. Great for character development/backstory but at the end nothing happened. We won’t be seeing any conclusion for sometime to come, but if/when the franchise is rebooted they need to do it in the future so they don’t have to forget everything that happened in the previous series, but it’s in the future so you know things have changed. The Furlings are longer in hiding :)

  • Why are we surprised? They just freakin announced that not only SGU but the FRANCHISE is ending! So nobody cares to watch live because they know it won’t matter, and even before that announcement it didn’t.

    That being said, the lead-in or lead-out or whatever has NOTHING to do with ratings. Seriously, why would somebody who wants to watch a show about vampires, ghosts and werewolves want to watch a dark, character-driven space drama? They have NOTHING in common. I’ve never understood this obsession with lead-ins and lead-outs. I like a show, I watch it, and I’m done, and I think most sci-fi fans are the same way, What, do networks think we do nothing but sit around and watch TV all night so we’ll just stick around for whatever’s next because we have nothing else to do? Even Caprica it didn’t make sense to say that one show gained/lost viewers because of the other show.

    The only time in the history of TV I can think of that I was convinced to sit down and watch and entire night of program was the infamous sci-fi Friday when they aired Stargate Atlantis, SG-1 and Battlestar Galactica. And that’s only because they were ALL great shows. Caprica was ok too but I didn’t stick around because it was on too late so I DVR’d it and I was only interested in it because of the BSG connection (same goes with Stargate Universe and the Stargate connection).

    Anyway, its all silly at this point and I’m just tired of it because Nielsenn ratings, lead-ins/lead-outs – don’t make sense. If your show is good, people will watch it either live or through other means, ratings don’t mean anything and neither does what comes before or after. Being Human had absolutely nothing to do with SGU’s ratings while it was on, neither did Caprica, nor did Caprica have anything to do with SGU’s ratings.

  • @Lee

    With the announcement of no further Stargate TV from Brade Wright, that may change from the novels. Until Star Trek Enterprise ended and the Trek franchise went on a similar hiatus (and even now with no new stories coming from the Primeverse) the novels for Trek were the same – great character development, ok stories but nothing special because they couldn’t kill off characters. Now, with it pretty much being a sure thing that we’ll never see these characters on the screen again, the novels are far more bold.


    The post TNG/TOS/DS9/Voy/Ent novels have become much more bold in their stories. Characters actually move forward rather than staying the same, and even some like Janeway are killed off (and Janeway isn’t even killed off in a Voy novel!), other major developments like Picard and Beverly get married, the Borg launch a huge invasion of the alpha quadratn, a new faction is formed in the aftermath to combat the Federation, etc. I’d love to see the Stargate novels do stuff like this that shakes up the universe we know and love and adds new and interesting dynamics to it. That is, as long as the stories are good and interesting and the characters are consistent.

  • Im guessing the time change and lead in series had very little to do with this ratings drop. I watch live every week. Im guessing since they announced that they shelved the whole franchise had a lot more to do with it.

  • I’m more sad about the cancellation of SGU now then I was when it happened a few months ago. I actually like the show now. I still think it lags behind SG-1), but it’s actually a good show.

    It’s all the fault of a bad SGU first season— if it wasn’t for a truly horrific season 1… we might have another long Stargate series run.

  • What I wish they had done was to give SGA a 6th and final season, used it to launch a mini-series of SGU where they could see what worked and what didn’t (given the new direction) and then tweaked it a bit before the actual series started.

  • So.. anyone else notice this episode is exactly like the Deep Space Nine episode “Children of Time?” It annoyed the hell out of me watching it. The fact that this episode is a sequel to that SGU episode that’s exactly like Voyager’s “Deadlock” compounded it. So we’re just getting lazy in the final strecth, eh?

  • I don’t seriously know what people expect. Half the normal Stargate audience simply can’t watch the show the day it’s on, and now Syfy has mothballed the franchise it doesn’t make any difference if there’s not going to be another series. Because the story is being shown in two seasons instead of five, the overall premise of the show has been lost anyway.

    GateWorld, I appreciate that you have this responsibility to report on all things Stargate, but stop revealing the f***ing ratings for the episodes! If Syfy actually cared about it they would change their minds – but they don’t.

  • May I be the first to say FRACK THIS RATINGS!!! You want good ratings, then put SGU on friday’s where stargate has been on for the past decade! Smackdown obviously draws in ratings, so why not have SGU be after Smackdown. Syfy is just trying to make their decision to cancel the show right by puting it against tough competition. Millions of people watch stargate, obviously not at the time their giving it, but at a later time because they have shows that starts on mondays 9/8c for years. You can’t expect people to just drop their usual tv schedule and pick something else up. My God its just like a small privately owned grocery store opens up near a walmart supercenter and expects to get in millions of customers. Blaming syfy is the least of whom we should blame, we should all be pointing fingers at MGM. MGM has no balls to put their foot down and demand a proper schedule. Obviously WWE does, because they got rid of scifi fridays

  • @puddlejumper-1
    I agree, u would think with Stargate supposedly being MGM’s second highest money making franchise behind james bond that they would take more intrest in the future of a show that has brought them a big chunk of their income

  • As JM said in his blog. It’s not what have you done for me. but rather what have you done for me lately.

    After SciFi Friday, and then the canx of SGA the franchise is not what it used to be money making wise. So they killed it no matter how great the show was/is. If they can produce something that makes more money they will.

    The only way to stop this from happening again is for a bunch of SciFi film makers to take their talent online only and charge everyone in the world the same at the same time. Plus not sure if you’ve noticed, but America is quickly becoming Idiocracy. Things that make you “think” don’t do as well.

  • Well, it’s not as though SGU is on its own here is it? I mean both “V” and “The Event” are possibly on the chopping block and neither are as good as SGU. That would make 3 scifi series with no conclusion, although “V” could probably finish off nicely with a mini-series.
    Taking into consideration what ratings SyFy channels seems to get across the board, it is as though SyFy is no longer capable of high ratings numbers at all.
    TV viewership overall has declined enormously the last few years, and this is the case across at least the whole western nations.
    Intelligent TV Sci-fi as we’ve known it for decades is just about dead, they have to embrace new models of getting the shows out to audiences.
    As far as SGU is concerned, I hope for at least a conclusion in the form of a novel, I would buy it for sure. Maybe MGM will do something better, we can only hope.
    In hindsight obviously Season 2 should have been the last for SGU, with the story nicely being wrapped up. SyFy likely knew after season 1 that ratings weren’t going to get massively better and should have advised the writers/directors that 2 would be the last.
    So shame on them, and shame on MGM for neglecting their franchise.

  • Agree with Sylvia about what should have been done with SGA and SGU. SGA should have gotten a 6th season and SGU should have been a miniseries first ala BSG. No wonder MGM went bankrupt.
    Don’t get me wrong I think SGU is a solid show especially season 2 but that doesn’t matter now …unfortunately.
    Also agree with Imperious. Basically all Sci-Fi shows are on the chopping block. Its dark days for sci-fi fans. TV is about to get very boring.

    Of course this this how the system works anyway. Basically get rid of the thought provoking shows first. Networks like their viewers to be more on the mundane side. They can be manipulated much easier. But I won’t get too much into that subject right now.

  • Well I didnt find SGU a thought provoking show, sheesh, far from it and if America is becoming Idiocracy then the rest of the world must be as well as SGU tanked in every country it was aired it. Syfy gave every chance to SGU to improve. They were not responsible for over a million viewers tuning out. It’s not up to Syfy either to tell the writers to come up with a satifactory ending. The writing was on the wall since the end of season one that SGU was in cancellation territory, so it was down to the writers to have some contingency plan if the cancellation actually happened.

    As for MGM, their job was to finance SGU, they are not responsible for the content of the show or the writing. Unfortunatley they believed the writers were up to the task and forked out a huge budget to them, but why would they continue to invest in SGU when the audience was dwindling. Neither Syfy or MGM are responsible for the slow paced and uninteresting characters the writers created. That was down to the show runners who weren’t interested in listening to any criticism of their new show. I think the producers told fans not to watch if they didn’t like SGU and I guess that’s what they ended up doing.

  • Ugh, I’m so sick of people throwing the “the producers told fans not to watch if they didn’t like SGU” line around.

    First off, the casual Stargate fan who just tunes in is not going to be aware of that comment AT ALL or of Gateworld really or follow the producers on Twitter.

    Second, really? It doesn’t matter if he said that or not, people would have approached with that mentality ANYWAY. The only people who DIDN’T like it who would watch it are the really die-hard Stargate fans.

  • @blackhawlk MGM has much more of a roll than to finance. They are the owners of the show. Seriously when syfy told them we would like to move your show to monday’s, they should have stepped up and said monday’s isn’t good. Brought up a little chart that says look at our competiton and disagreed with the move. But they didn’t because syfy already canned the show so they put up no fight so they can get what money they still can from SGU. Also I think syfy has the rights for a new stargate movie? They should sue MGM for not taking part in their agreement to make that movie

  • I actually cant be bothered to watch this episode, I am so sick of same old story lines and I hated this type of an episode in Star Trek. No More meeting their own generational offspring please. Ever.

  • After reading a bit of what some of you wrote I have to agree that the rating systems are messed up. I have known literally dozen of “Neilson Families” after having a friend that worked the cable company near where I live. I had no idea how many people that I knew had one of these boxes. They gives these boxes to people that don’t really represent people that watch these types of shows, or at least not enough wide spread to be considered a proper representation of the correct demographics. Also it is a good point that others have made, that they are not including Hulu watchers, or those that watch from other sources, they should count too because they(MGM) are making money off those people. If the studio is making money then it should count as a sale, plain and simple. But it doesn’t, they let the people at Sci-fi decide which shows live and die…terrible really that those suits get all this power over what we watch. If they had any idea how many people actually watched or wanted sci-fi style stories they would spend a few more bucks. Most of the people that watch don’t get on forums to complain when things get cancelled, heck because they don’t they have no idea that things are getting cancelled until it doesn’t come on next year. Sci-fi spend Tons of money on advertizing during the shows, if they would spend a fraction of that on advertizing the actual shows on their sister networks they would see some decent numbers come back. Like in season seven on SG-1 they advertized on USA, anyone remember what those number where like? I have 2 friends that I hadn’t seen in a few years ask me one day a few years back why they canceled Stargate, and at the time they hadn’t yet, they just thought it wasn’t on cause they normal way they heard about the show just didn’t provide them the info they needed. After all these people work and don’t have time to do research schedules just to watch a TV show. Myself, and many other are currently working to bring down things like this about media, and they way it is controlled. Stargate and the Stargate franchise is a victim on this, as have been many other show, Movies, and other forms of Media. We have to let them know we won’t take this. We have to make them listen!

  • Imaceleighton you are absolutely right. I have seen advertisements for the new series of Doctor Who on SyFy during Stargate Universe, and on Discovery during Deadliest Catch (one of the highest rated series on that network and one of my favorite non-SF shows!)

    Why Can’t SyFy do this for SGU and other shows? Why can’t SyFy return the favor and have BBC air Stargate Universe during the new season of Doctor Who (I know, its a bit late, but imagine if they had done that LAST year). Imagine how much bigger the numbers might be if people who watched the new Doctor Who, or Deadliest Catch saw advertisements for Stargate Universe and said “hey, that might be something I’d like to watch” or “hey, I didn’t even know there WAS another Stargate series”

    This is the exact same problem that Star Trek ran into IMO. UPN in the late ’00s was a bit like SyFy is now and with Enterprise, they did literally NO outside advertisement. This is one of the complaints that many Trekkies had at the time with Ent and UPN – if they had done more outside advertisement, would it have gotten bigger numbers? Yes, much like with SGU there were Ent haters (and still are) who say that it was just a terrible show. I was even one of them at the time, and while I’ve warmed up to it over the years I still say it was the weakest Trek.

    Anyway, its just frustrating. It was frustrating being a sci-fi fan back then and it still is
    today. As much as I love sci-fi I almost wish networks would drop the idea alltogether and just throw their hands up and say “we’re done with it” let the few remaining shows that are on like Fringe and Chuck run their course and then say “we’re sorry guys, we just don’t understand you or how to deal with you and we likely never will” because us sci-fi fans are just tired of being burned out time and time again. It will only get worse… almost all of my friends who are sci-fi fans these days are like “I don’t watch new shows anymore because they all get canceled” – almost every show I’ve watched in the past two years has either been canceled or is sitting on the chopping block waiting for that decision (No Ordinary Family and V).

  • what a brilliant episode! i am so gutted that they decided to finish SGU. it is so much better than a hundred other terrible television shows that continue to get viewers, i mean two and a half men?! i can’t believe people would rather watch that, then SGU! the creators and writers need a pat on the back and in my opinion and a great deal of recognition for this cracking series! its a pity more people don’t see it that way, or perhaps the Stargate franchise would continue, and i really hope in the future that someone revives it.
    with regards to the problems that Star Trek ran into, it was at least nice to see that the new film, soon to have a sequel, was made, and that revived the franchise, at least partly. it’s perhaps just a pipe dream, but maybe a big multi-million dollar new Stargate film would become just as popular and create the opportunity to carry on with SGU and other offshoots

  • @Darren:

    “With all due respect, Lee, the numbers are not inaccurate”

    Sorry Darren, but the numbers ARE inaccurate. I know you tried to justify your argument by saying that no one is pretending to count TOTAL views and are only trying to ESTIMATE, but even the ESTIMATED TOTAL is downright wrong.

    The system is flawed and you, me, and everyone else knows it.

  • Darren Sumner

    Greenfire: Nielsen ratings do not measure a show’s total audience. They measure who watched that broadcast on that network in that country. Pretty simple.

    If you think the sample is not representative of SGU‘s true audience, the onus is on you to explain why that is. I may agree with your suggested explanation, actually. But Lee’s complaint was that the ratings figures are inaccurate because they don’t measure online viewing and international markets. That’s simply not what they were designed to do, and everyone in the industry knows it: Nielsen ratings do not measure a show’s total audience.

  • @Greenfire32:

    In all my years coming to this site when the eyeball numbers are discussed, I’ve never known Darren (or other with very related info) to be inaccurate or misguided in his discussions about ratings and the system which props it up.

    Until the U.S. TV execs adopts a better system that they *ALL* will accept at the same. then this system is what we got. S

    SGU had to survive within that same environment as the other shows like Being Human, Lost, Survivor, American Idol, and the like. “Universe’s” 15-plus-year SG writing team didn’t grab onto and hold those viewers in the show’s first few crucial episodes- the very eps that ALL shows, regardless of genre, must use to grab those eyeballs if said show wants to continue onward- and that, as they say, was the ballgame…

  • (doggone edit gremlin!)

    Should’ve said: “Until the U.S. TV execs adopts a better system that they *ALL* will accept at the same time, then this system is what we got.”


  • I agree with Sylvia,the best thing would’ve been to keep SGA around for another season,while starting this new show with a miniseries and then tweeking it if necessary.

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