Syfy Has Some Dubious Answers About the Cancellation of Caprica

by on October 29, 2010

in Entertainment

(Imagine Greater… ratings!)

10/29/10:  Craig Engler, the man behind the Syfy Twitter account & the SVP & GM of Syfy Digital, took on some questions today in the Twitter realm regarding the cancellation of the Syfy Channel‘s Caprica.  Yesterday I fired off some questions but they got lost in the millions of tweets that get fired off at him.

Here’s what Craig had to say about the immediate pulling and the passing of Caprica from the air waves… well, cable waves to be exact:

  • The obvious:  It was canceled because there were not enough viewers.
  • It was moved to Tuesday because it wasn’t doing well on Friday’s and that Tuesday is Syfy’s strongest night of the week.
  • A curious Tweeter asked if the prolonged hiatus between season halves could have attributed to the bad showing and Craig wrote that ratings declined with each episode after the show returned.
  • No… they did not cancel Caprica to make the new BSG web series, Blood & Chrome.

With that said, I don’t envy Craig having to tackle the many questions that are coming from fans of the Ronald D. Moore science fiction drama.  Caprica was canceled due to bad ratings which I get.  It had barely half a million viewers on Tuesday nights, I get that.

Whoa!  I was canceled???  But I have a civilization to usurp!

It was moved to Tuesday because it wasn’t doing well, but the finale of it’s Friday night first half season scored over 1.7 million viewers. (Live +7)

The first season, or first half of season one averaged 1.8 million viewers on Friday nights. (this included all DVR playback.)  Live ratings averaged over 1.1 million viewers.  I can’t attest to a huge mid-season break contributing to a decline in ratings or not.  Yet I can’t help but wonder if a show loses any momentum from a break as huge as they had with this series?  I can’t imagine it didn’t hurt the performance to some degree.

Here’s a list of Nielsen ratings from the first half of season 1:

Caprica Friday Night Ratings:

Date Episode Viewers (millions)
22-Jan-10 Pilot 1.602
29-Jan-10 Rebirth 1.411
5-Feb-10 Reins of a Waterfall 1.128
19-Feb-10 Gravedancing 0.976
26-Feb-10 There Is Another Sky 1.127
5-Mar-10 Know They Enemy 1.155
12-Mar-10 The Imperfections of Memory 1.071
19-Mar-10 Ghosts in the Machine 1.229
26-Mar-10 End of Line 1.103

Caprica Tuesday Night Ratings:

Caprica – 0.889 million Oct 5th
Caprica – 0.840 million Oct 12th
Caprica – 0.718 million Oct 19th
Caprica – 0.843 million Oct 26th

And here we thought Friday was the death knell to TV ratings!!!

As far as Tuesday night being Syfy’s most popular night, I can’t help but wonder if that had anything to do with wrestling being on Tuesday nights up until this 2010/11 season when they moved our space based shows to Tuesdays?  I’m not sure that could be a good comparison or a fair statement to make about a night that had a different genre of programming on it before Stargate Universe and Caprica went to it.  Can it?  From the looks of thing, the move did kill what little chance the show had.  In favor of wrestling.  Eh.

As far as it seems to me, despite the fact that Caprica was called slow by its critics, it was a quality designed and highly detailed script that was hard to follow and stay excited about.  Viewers need more action in their scripted drama than what was being delivered.

But I am disappointed by the company line that has been delivered about the show.  It was straggling along just fine on Friday nights and destroyed by its Tuesday night slot.

Mark Stern on a Hot Seat

Of course I feel bad for Mark Stern, the voice of Syfy Channel.  On the 22nd of October (barely a week before the cancellation announcement) Maureen Ryan was asking Mr. Stern about the probability of having changed their minds about Blood & Chrome going to series pilot in the same time frame as Caprica getting fired,  here’s the piece of the article concerning our doomed canceled sci fi series:

For ‘Caprica’ fans wondering what all this means for their show, Stern noted that ‘Blood & Chrome’ was developed separately from the other ‘Battlestar’ spinoff, which is in the midst of airing season 1 episodes now.

“To be really categorical about it, this is not about finding something else so we can get rid of ‘Caprica,” Stern said. “I don’t know the fate of ‘Caprica’ yet, but, if anything, ‘Blood & Chrome’ going to series would only be a great opportunity to pair it with something.’

Stern said the decision on whether to give ‘Caprica’ a second season would be made no later than Nov. 15.

[TV Squad]

It appears to be impeccable timing.  The show is canceled, the DVD for season 1.5 is announced and another prequel, but more action based and originally set for a web series, all take place within a few days of each other.

Look, emotionally I’m pretty agitated about the decision to can Caprica and not let us see the rest of the season for a few months.  I’d love a midnight airing of the show to run it through its course.  At least that way fans don’t get left out.  And it’s frustrating to hear the execs tow the line, but seriously, if you put yourself in their shoes and you know you need to show support for your product, what are you going to say?  It’s like if you went to Taco Bell and hearing one of the cashiers trashing on the menu.  You don’t see that from any company.  And people that do trash the product of their employer, no matter what the company, don’t last long or do well within the infrastructure of their employ.  Sure, it’s being honest, but honest doesn’t help the end product in the eyes of the outsiders.

For now, for the fans, yes, it’s a bummer.  But honestly, we knew it was doomed from the start of the season segment on Tuesdays.

TV By The Numbers:  Caprica Sets Mid Season Finale Record, Caprica Mid Season Ratings,

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