From 2.3 million in October 2009 to 1.1 million viewers in May 2011, Stargate Universe has had something of a rough ride in the ratings over its 40 episodes. Here we’ll look at the good and the bad of the ratings race as we wrap up two years of SGU on Syfy Channel.
Note that all of these numbers are “Live + Same Day” — counting those who watch Syfy’s broadcast live, or record it on DVR and watch it before 3 a.m. that night. SGU typically gained between 40 and 50 percent on these numbers in the “Live + 7 Days” DVR ratings. Its total audience also includes international broadcasts, plus lots of online viewers, legal and illegal, both in the U.S. and around the world.
First, here’s how the final 10 episodes rated:
|EPISODE (air date)||VIEWERS (million)||CHANGE|
|Deliverance (Mar. 7)||1.035|
|Twin Destinies (Mar. 14)||0.928||– 10%|
|Alliances (Mar. 21)||0.814||– 12%|
|Hope (Mar. 28)||0.876||+ 8%|
|Seizure (Apr. 4)||0.823||– 6%|
|The Hunt (Apr. 11)||1.020||+ 24%|
|Common Descent (Apr. 18)||0.861||– 16%|
|Epilogue (Apr. 25)||1.092||+ 27%|
|Blockade (May 2)||0.993||– 9%|
|Gauntlet (May 9)||1.134||+ 14%|
Next, an overall look at the half-season ratings averages:
|SEASON (aired)||VIEWERS (million)||CHANGE|
|Season 1.0 (Fall 2009)||1.989|
|Season 1.5 (Spring 2010)||1.445||– 27%|
Move to Tuesdays
|Season 2.0 (Fall 2010)||1.078||– 25%|
Move to Mondays
|Season 2.5 (Spring 2011)||.958||– 11%|
The Bad: A large percentage of viewers (43 percent) who checked out the 3-hour pilot episode “Air” had tuned out by the first mid-season break. The network’s attempts to find a new audience on Tuesdays was a failure, as SGU shed another 20 percent between the first season finale and the second season premiere. And when the series returned this spring for its final, post-cancellation run, it spent six of the last 10 episodes below the 1 million mark.
The Good: After those first 10 episodes, within each of its three half-seasons (each airing on a different night of the week) those ratings stayed pretty consistent. Once the series found its audience, it largely held on to it — changes of night and the cancellation news notwithstanding. After the drop-off that occurred during the first 10 episodes, the show lost the vast majority of its live viewership between seasons — not episode-to-episode, while the show was airing.
Anecdotally, we also know that — even if some SG-1 and Atlantis fans didn’t watch — Stargate Universe drew new fans who had never watched Stargate before.
Finally, here is the full breakdown for each half-season aired (in millions of viewers):
SGU SEASON 1.0
Started: 2.346 million
Ended: 1.340 (– 43%)
Highest: 2.447 (“Air, Part 3”)
Lowest: 1.340 (“Justice”)
Average: 1.989 million
SGU SEASON 2.0
Started: 1.175 million
Ended: 1.094 (– 7%)
Highest: 1.222 (“Awakening”)
Lowest: 0.967 (“Trial and Error”)
Average: 1.078 million
Stargate Universe averaged 1.367 million live viewers over 40 episodes, airing on three different nights of the week. Its highest-rated episode was in week two, with the conclusion to the series premiere. Its lowest-rated episode was “Alliances,” the third episode of the post-cancellation run on Monday nights.