UPDATE: Syfy has ordered one additional episode of Eureka to allow the producers to write a series finale.
The little town with big secrets is about to lock its gates for good. Syfy has announced that the show’s fifth season, currently filming in Vancouver to air in 2012, will be the last for Eureka.
It’s something of a surprise, considering the show has continued to deliver decent ratings numbers — just over 2 million viewers (Live + Same Day) in the four episodes that have aired since the start of Season 4.5 last month. But shows do get more expensive to produce the older they get, and the ratings are down from last summer’s average of 2.37 million.
Deadline reported last week that the network was considering a shortened, 6-episode sixth season, to give the writers sufficient time to wrap up any dangling story threads. Season Five will consist of 13 episodes, and will finish filming in just two weeks. But this week Syfy gave the execution order, dropping the idea of the wrap-up … though they do insist that the series will have “a satisfying end.”
The network issued the following statement:
After painstaking consideration, we have had to make the difficult business decision to not order a season six of Eureka. But Eureka is not over yet. There is a new holiday episode this December and 12 stellar episodes set to debut next year, marking its fifth season and six memorable years on Syfy. The 2012 episodes are some of the best we’ve seen, and will bring this great series to a satisfying end. We are very grateful to Bruce Miller and Jaime Paglia, their team of incredible writers, and an amazing cast and crew who have consistently delivered a series we continue to be very proud of. We thank the fans for their support of this show and know they will enjoy its final season in 2012.
As the opening hour for Syfy’s Monday night block of originals the veteran show is rating lower than its lead-outs, Warehouse 13 (2.27 million) and Alphas (2.18 million). But it’s usually considered a good thing that a night of programming builds in the ratings, rather than losing viewers from hour-to-hour.
All three series have been tracking far and away higher than any of Syfy’s fall and winter shows, which face stiffer competition from other networks. Syfy cancelled Caprica in October, with the show turning in fewer than 800,000 live viewers on Tuesday nights. Stargate Universe followed in December, after averaging just north of 1 million. But Being Human and Sanctuary were renewed after just under 1.5 million.
The network’s lowest-rated original, scripted drama for the summer season is actually Haven, which has averaged 1.89 million viewers on Friday nights. During the non-summer months, the post-wrestling timeslot has actually made for bigger numbers. (WWE Smackdown is Syfy’s highest rated program, with between 2.5 and 3 million viewers every week.)
Five seasons on Syfy Channel seems to be about the max, the tipping point at which production costs outweigh the benefits of good ratings. The cable channel has never kept a scripted drama in production longer than this, with Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis getting five years each on the network, and Battlestar Galactica and Farscape both finishing at four.
Enjoy those new episodes of Eureka while you still can! The series airs Mondays at 8/7c on Syfy.