Good News/Bad News in SCI FI’s Quarterly Numbers

SCI FI Channel released their third quarter numbers yesterday.  The net said the quarter was "the best ever among younger viewers averaging 222,000 adults 18-34 and 100,000 women 18-34. The Channel is also up this quarter in key female demos: +8% among women 18-49 and +5% among those 25-54.”

But the network also tap danced around ratings data.  And the release curiously avoided any mention of the network’s newest series, Flash Gordon, launched last August.

Eureka’s season two premiered to a 2.0 HH rating and 2,859,000 total viewers. 

According to the release, Eureka averaged 2.54 MM in total viewers 2007 to date, but no season two ratings average was given.  However, Gateworld is reporting that the September 25 episode of Eureka fell to a 1.2 HH rating.

However, Eureka is heavily DVR’d, per Kent Gibbon’s report here on Multichannel.

UPDATE:  this just in.  According to SCI FI, the Eureka October 1season finale nailed a household rating of 1.4 HH with 1.9 Million total viewers tuning-in.  "These figures," stated the network in their release, "are expected to increase even more significantly when full DVR data becomes available, as typically this season, one-in-three impressions for Eureka have come from DVR playback. "

The news was very disappointing for the fourth season launch of Stargate Atlantis which dropped to a new series premiere low of 1.2 (Friday, September 28 at 10PM).  Atlantis delivered a 1.2 HH rating, 1.698 million total viewers. 

Here’s where the network tap danced.  The net claims the Atlantis season four premiere numbers are up a wee bit “compared to the show’s season 3.5 performance (April-June 2007).”

Well, um – true.  But the network is comparing apples and oranges:  a single season premiere to the average for the latter half of season three.  Even Atlantis showrunner Joe Mallozzi characterized the numbers for season 3.5 as “disheartening.”

Here are the real numbers:  the third season of Atlantis premiered on July 14, 2006, garnering a 1.5 rating.

The season 3.5 premiere (on April 13, ‘07) scored a 1.4

Comparisons are tough because SCI FI has so often jiggered the Atlantis schedule.  This is the first time that Atlantis has launched in September against broadcast net premieres. 

Also, Mallozzi and the network have always said viewers are DVR’ing this series in big numbers.   At Comic-Con, SCI FI  programming vice president Nora O’Brien exhorted the audience of over 4,000 to watch the show live.

Am I personally disappointed to see the numbers for Atlantis?  Yes, I am.  But the more relevant data might be buried in the live+seven day stats.

Atlantis was a lot more engaging than the dreck that passed for entertainment last Friday night.

I dutifully slogged through NBC’s two-hour premiere of Las Vegas.  If I had a top ten list of unwatchable shows on television, this parchment dry, superficial series, devoid of all tension, might be my #1 pick.  I also subjected myself to CBS’ syrupy new vampire skein, Moonlight.  Here a caring vampire falls for a beautiful (vacuous blond, who delivers dialog like she’s in a high school play) aspiring journalist mortal after he watches her tromp barefoot through a fountain.  

Atlantis is also up against CBS’ Numbers, the procedural about an LA cop and his math genius brother.  

(I loved Numbers when it first launched but, in spite of its great cast and interesting premise, Numbers is being torpedoed by formulaic writing.  It just doesn’t compare to another CBS show that once occupied the Friday 10p slot -  the beautifully shot, moody Robbery HomicideDivision, a Michael Mann/Tom Sizemore drama killed by CBS after only a few episodes.  That one still hurts.)

At any rate, after slowly sinking in the television quicksand along with me (and after much kvetching) my prickly, picky husband declared Atlantis a breath of fresh air.  “Finally!” he exclaimed with relief, “a little dramatic tension!”