Is Comcast To Blame for the ‘Eureka’ Cancellation?

by on August 10, 2011

in Entertainment

EurekaTV Fans everywhere are recovering from the news that Syfy has cancelled Eureka, the longest running scripted Syfy series on the air.   Being that among the genre fans, this show seemed to be the most popular show on Monday nights*, the cancellation report came as a shock to many.  And yet, with each new TV season, more core sci-fi/fantasy series seem to be getting shoved to Mondays and Fridays, then subsequently, getting the boot.

Though we’re in the midst of the 4th season of Eureka and we do have a 5th season coming, and now, with an extra episode added to next season so the writers can create a proper ending, the end is a wee bit off, but it is coming.

Fans reactions to the cancellation seem to be focused on the understandable frustration and angry aspect of losing one more TV fave from the tube and from this network in particular.  Many folks are threatening to cancel their cable packages/tiers that had the Syfy channel in it and using other colorful metaphors to describe how they feel about the network.

Before you tie Syfy to the stake and light the pyre, you should keep something in mind:  Syfy, whose parent network is NBC, is now owned by Comcast.  Yes, we now have to add the newest ingredient to the programming decision makers, Comcast.

I was reminded of this scenario when it was driven home when Eureka‘s co-exec producer Amy Berg (Eureka, Leverage, The 4400) used Twitter to make the following public note:

“Everyone is asking why. It’s simple, really.”

“We are the network’s golden child in every way, except profit margins. Fact is, #Eureka is an expensive show to make.”

“And we could not maintain the quality of our show with the cuts it would take to make us profitable for Syfy’s new parent company.”

“Our creative execs at Syfy fought hard to keep us. Trust me, they LOVE us. We just couldn’t make the numbers work.”

You don’t have to look between the lines to see that she notes that the cuts needed to renew the show to make it profitable for Syfy’s new parent company.  In other words, it looks like Syfy is being dragged even deeper into the business realm of return of investment, or the balancing out of cost vs investment.

Comcast knows how to squeeze the penny out of their products and customers.  Analysts predict the company will have made $55 billion for the year when 2011 ends.  And with all that, we still lose a favorite TV series.

So we’ve lost Caprica, we’ve lost Stargate Universe.  Admittedly those shows, despite the strong loyal fan-base, didn’t have a strong enough showing in TV ratings, so despite fan frustration, there was some understanding when they went by the wayside.  But we’re losing Eureka to their inability to create profitability.

Each episode of Eureka seems to be holding its own, more or less, at 1.8 to 2.2 million viewers.  I would think that the show had some hope for the series’ future, and yet, they were still cancelled.

What was confusing people is why there was this huge media scramble to let people know that Syfy had picked up 6 new episodes of Eureka for a 6th season, and then a week later, douse that news.  What was that about?

Another confounding issue is over on the Syfy Facebook page, (where they are catching grief for no matter WHAT subject they broach), they ran a survey asking what Monday night show is everyone’s favorite? [Syfy facebook post]   The answer?  Eureka.  In their own survey, Eureka had 47% of the vote, Warehouse 13 had 39% and Syfy’s newest show, Alphas, only drudged up 13% of the vote.  Though to be fair, the ratings amongst the three of these shows, WH13 is actually holding its own, while Alphas is fluctuates.

Of course this feels like a trend with Syfy.  As the old-core programming from the hay-day of Syfy have all been relegated to Mondays and Fridays now.  These nights are the worst place for any show hoping for good TV ratings to exist.  Every single series that was popular with the core, long-time fans of the network have been scuttled shuffled off to these nights.  All in favor of reality programming.  The bane to any intelligent TV viewers mind, but the bread & butter to any and all networks for how they can be made on the cheap and yet reap good ratings.  Reality TV is the golden lure to any network, if they can find a successful program.

And as Syfy develops its new mix of entertainment to draw in new viewers, all the old-school fans are getting left behind.  We might as well prepare for the worse, because nothing that’s on now, now matter how much we love it, will, sooner or later, go by the wayside also as it gets too expensive and cheaper shows will be brought on board, all in the guise of trying to retain the genre programming.

Oh, and don’t forget, there’s now a Save Eureka Facebook page!

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{Update: 5-17-14: It seems that the honest tweets about the situation were pulled by the author.  It’s a shame, but that’s the biz!}

Amy Berg:  https://twitter.com/#!/bergopolis

twitter.com/#!/bergopolis
twitter.com/#!/bergopolis
twitter.com/#!/bergopolis
twitter.com/#!/bergopolis

wallstcheatsheet.com/

facebook.com/Syfy

  – BruSimm on Twitter & Facebook

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Drake Jones September 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

NBC programming execs have canceled some of the best shows on TV. I guess being a screw-up is the only qualification for the job.

Havildar May 12, 2012 at 9:26 am

It seems the greedy bunch at Comcast/NBC seems to have lost sight of the fact that those who watch the SyFy station are not the ones that WASTE their very valuable time watching stale reality shows which seems to fill every single cable channel. What a waste of time. Shows like Eureka, Haven, Warehouse13, Stargate Universe and the other Stargate spin offs are great TV and the shows are worth watching. We have a choice and will use it.

Bruce Simmons August 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Hey Paul… yea, I mentioned that… though I didn’t really spell it out in detail! Still, it all sucks!

Paul August 10, 2011 at 6:47 pm

I thought I read today the production company had been told they could do one more program so they could wrap the series up..

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