Syfy Channel Hits No 1 Spot in Cable Primetime TV Ratings How?

by on September 3, 2011

in Entertainment

The Syfy Channel hit a personal high with some TV ratings. Their press release got me to thinking, or more accurately, waxing for the old days of when they were the Sci-Fi Channel. Bear with me while I spell out the news while reflecting back on yesteryear of the Sci-Fi Channel, when it was a genre-fan friendly network.

Syfy channel LogoAs any Syfy channel fan can attest to, things around the “inn” have changed. Instead of the comfortable brick and mortar feel fans of old were accustomed to, the “inn” at the Syfy channel has been getting updated throughout. It doesn’t even look the same on the outside either.

And such is my waxing on about the network. For years, there was a core of fans that fell in love with what was then called The Sci-Fi Channel. But the network, though it strove to offer fans of the genre what they wanted, needed to make changes to survive in the ever-changing world of television.

First they themselves said they changed their name because the old name made people think that all they had to offer was Star Trek and Star Wars. The renaming was the first warning shot across the bow of the fans boat.

After that genre series stated getting cut and more fans were finding themselves left behind. Series were shoved into the darkened corner of the TV week, Mondays and Tuesdays, and then the network had even more excuses to cut the sci-fi fare.

The cost to the old-school fans have been tremendous. They’ve been left behind despite voicing their opinions valiantly, and yet, sometimes, no one can hear you scream in space. The space or void that is known as the realm of TV ratings. Fans are becoming victims of the narrow focus of the Nielsen families.

And as we’ve been seeing, reality TV has been proving itself to the network. The network now has a plethora of ghost hunting shows and other such fodder. (Seriously, if there were that many ghosts everywhere, then why the …. what was that? Did you hear that?)

Then there are the make-up contests, cooking shows and what not. It’s pretty obvious where things were/are going.

Yet Syfy thrives. They’ve built up digital content, reality TV and an obvious addition to the realm of their programming, wrestling.

There-in lies the crux. As fans grumble about what wrestling has to do with Sci-Fi, I think they must take heed that the network is no longer called the Sci-Fi channel for a reason. It’s called Syfy. (And watch that spelling. There’s no capital F in there like many people like to spell it with.) As the network has embraced everything necessary to climb its way to the top of the cable network scales, old-school is being left behind.

As the saying goes, “Life is change, growth is optional.” That goes for both television networks and fans.

And the Numbers Say

With that in mind, the network has hit a new mark in the TV ratings game recently as it was announced that,

“Syfys first ever WWE SmackDown live special, SuperSmackdown Live, pinned 3.3 million total viewers, Tuesday, August 30”

That put the net at the top of the charts for that night.

“The performance put Syfy in the #1 spot in Cable Primetime for the night ahead of the #2 cable finisher by 45% in Adults 18-49 and 29% in Adults 25-54. Syfy also topped both FOX and the CW from 8PM to 10PM ET/PT in Adults 18-49 and 25-54.”

Of course Fox and the CW are embroiled in summer reruns, so that was a cheap marketing shot. But not everyone knows that.

WWE SmackDown is averaging 3.2 million total viewers for 2011 to date on Syfy.

And frankly, despite all the fans loving the old programming, that would not have been enough to keep them competitive in cable. They would have been gone via lack of advertisers spending funds on their programming. It’s the sad aspect of the business of television. We’ve seen this time and time again when good shows aren’t supported by ratings. Jericho, Firefly, Journeyman, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Stargate Universe… I can probably make a long list of shows sadly missed by many, many TV viewers.

Prepare Yourself

As old-school fans complain about reality TV, reality TV is saving the network that used to be Sci-Fi. But in so doing, the changing landscape looks so very different now. As the old-school core fans abandon, or more accurately, turn their back on the net, it’s a calculated loss by the network. One that isn’t hurting the offshoot of NBC, which is now owned by Comcast. (If you’ve read between the lines in older news, it would seem that Comcast was behind the cancellation of Eureka, not the Syfy execs.) Because of that, I’m anticipating more aggressive cuts/changes at Syfy.

So even though they took that calculated move, anticipating that the reality TV and wrestling fans will not only replace, but add to the numbers that the core fans used to represent. Along with their Saturday Night Original Movies, which consistently pull in around 2M viewers each weekend, well, this new record shows the network exactly therein, where their money lays.

I’m going to guess that with this new milestone, fans can probably expect more of the same. I think fans should definitely brace themselves for the same patterns they’ve been getting used to from the Syfy channel over the last few years.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Simmons September 3, 2011 at 9:21 am

Trina… wow. Thanks for that bit. It seems amazing that ever since Comcast came on board, the events that have started to take place. (Or, to be fair and “impartial,” it could be coincidental f*ing timing.)

Trina... September 3, 2011 at 4:31 am

So true. After we lose Eureka, the only show I’ll be watching on Syfy is Being Human. Wonder how long that will last.
Also, there’s the rumors of the new BSG series only being shown on the web! I’m so disappointed with them.

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