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Syfy To Move WWE Smackdown Off Fridays

Thursday - October 9, 2014
Category: GENERAL | Tags: , , ,

Today brings a hopeful if bittersweet coda to the 2011 cancellation of Stargate Universe: By January Syfy Channel will finally move WWE Smackdown off of its Friday night schedule.

Fans of scripted science fiction have bemoaned the place of wrestling on a network once dedicated to the genre — but to no avail. Smackdown has been Syfy’s biggest ratings draw (and thus a significant cash machine) since moving to the network in 2010. But in the process the show has blocked off two hours of the 3-hour Friday night programming schedule (8 to 10 p.m.), ending the epic scripted line-up once occupied by Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Battlestar Galactica.

That’s only left space for one Friday night drama at 10 p.m., which has included shows like Sanctuary, Continuum, Haven, and now the zombie show Z Nation. Shows moved off of Friday nights — a night of the week that is traditionally genre-friendly — have suffered lower ratings and rapid-onset cancellation, including SGU, Caprica, and Sanctuary.

We cited WWE’s near-monopoly of the Friday night schedule as a significant contributor to the cancellation of Stargate Universe at the end of 2010. (We even penned an open letter to Syfy about the problem in 2011.)

12 Monkeys

12 Monkeys

But Syfy today announced that it has set new original drama 12 Monkeys for Friday, January 16 at … wait for it … 9 p.m. / 8 Central.

It will likely air alongside the second season of Helix, which held the Friday 10 p.m. slot last winter.

In May Syfy’s parent company NBC Universal renewed its deal with WWE to continue airing Smackdown, which draws around 2.75 million viewers each week. In late August rumors swirled that Syfy would move the show to Thursdays — but instead the network set up Haven and premium cable acquisition Spartacus on Thursdays for the fall.

Freeing up Friday nights for scripted programming is a significant move for the network, which has been working hard all year to regain credibility with genre fans. Syfy’s new management has let go of old-guard shows like Warehouse 13 and Eureka and greenlit more traditional sci-fi fare, including Ascension (which co-stars BSG‘s Tricia Helfer), 12 Monkeys, The Expanse, and numerous others.

Syfy also recently bought a co-production stake in the upcoming Canadian space drama Killjoys, and ordered the alien invasion drama Hunters to series. Summer series Defiance and Dominion have also been renewed for 2015.

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 (12):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • I don’t watch anything on Syfy anymore. But for those who do guess it’s a good move.

    Rumor is there is going to be a limited series from J.Mallozzi and P.Mullie airing on the network in 2015. Nothing to do with SG but hopefully some familiar faces will pop up.

  • I believe SyFy putting smackdown in the friday slot that was reserved for shows like SG-1 played a huge part in that and most of shows to be cancelled. They use to get high ratings because friday was the end of the week and everyone looked forward to watching their favourite show, but then they moved it to the start of the week and thus began the decline in ratings as most people decided to record and watch later rather than watch at time of broadcast. Smackdown isn’t even science fiction, SyFy messed up big time.

  • Syfy was contractually obligated to air WWE. They didn’t really have a choice. That said, SciFi Friday was the best and I really missed it when it was gone. SG1 SGA BSG – can’t beat that! Ever.

  • The tease on the front page had me thinking SGU was coming back in 2016.

  • @elwoodxrl sadly SGU (like SGA and SG-1) is never coming back thanks to Devlin and Emmerich.

  • I haven’t watch SyFry for years now. FiOS might as well dump the network.

  • A lot of the reason for the success of Syfy shows on Friday in the past had to do with the methodology Nielsen used at the time to account for VCR viewing before DVR’s came into play. Nielsen’s meters were more primitive and couldn only figure out if someone recorded a show, but not if or when they played them back. So, any time a show was recorded with a VCR, it counted towards the show’s ratings, whether it played back or not and when it was played back. Those Friday night shows were recorded like crazy and, thus, got credit for it.

    This has all changed in the DVR era. Nielsen’s methodology is to only measure when a show is played back. Advertisers only pay based on how much the ads are watched within a three day period. Not the show itself. Thus, Friday night ratings aren’t what they used to be because the methodology has advanced.

    I suspect that had this methodology been in place in the “old days”, many of the network’s Friday night shows would not have had the ratings they did.

  • The last time I tuned into SyFy was the final episode of Stargate Universe. Until they bring another Stargate back to the network, I won’t ever watch ScyFy again. Honestly, I hope some other network picks up the pieces instead. I’ve been burned too many times by SyFy cancelling my favorite shows that were genuinely good shows.

  • NBC calls the shots about what goes on SyFy! That being said, anybody who thinks that Roland Emmerich movie project will HURT future chances for SG to return to our TV screens is sadly mistaken. The EXACT opposite is true! Unless R.E. and D.D.’s SG movies are a dismal failure (not likely), those movies ARE what may be the last, best chance we have of ever seeing NEW SG on our TV screens again. EVERY Gater needs to get out when the movies are released, and spend your money on movie tickets, and later on DVD’s. The entertainment industry is a “follow-the-leader” industry, and if the movies are a big hit, then we’ve got gate! That’s pretty much it. Have an awesome Holiday Season. :) J.S. aka tmgm

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