Sci Fi to Syfy: Syfy Has Its Best Year Ever

Published 5 years ago by

Syfy Channel Logo Eureka Sanctuary SGU Sci Fi to Syfy: Syfy Has Its Best Year Ever

When Dave Howe stepped up to the plate at Sci Fi, took the reigns of the network and started heading them towards their new future, he wanted to expand on the number of markets the network was in, which included the youth market (demographic). Howe was also concerned with replacing their flagship television series, Battlestar Galactica & expanding on Ghost Hunters.

As Syfy rebranded itself, it also took the high road to trying to create improved quality content for the channel. In the fracas of it all, they “repainted” the familiar fun that was Stargate and created Stargate Universe – much to the angst of the core Stargate fans.

In most cases their approach seems to be working… But as with any TV network change, some fans will get left behind as that network attempts to improve or change their overall number of viewers.

First, the Numbers:

The network needs to make money to survive.  The fan base they had was stagnant.  A stagnate demographic is a death knell for a network when the same viewers are coming to watch their product.  For survival’s sake, they need new blood tuning in every week.

For both Syfy’s new and old shows, they did well.

Warehouse 13 brought in 3.9 million viewers, making it the most successful series in Syfy history.  (Of course, they slap it in the summer line up where there’s little competition, but hey, whatever works.  Right?

Eureka (They specify the 2nd half of season 3) brought in 3.15 million total viewers.  That’s the first time Eureka has had more than 3 mil viewers.

Ghost Hunters 5th season saw 3.05 million total viewers.  That made it their best season in key demographics.

Destination Truth’s third season had 2.2 million total viewers.  Its best season ever in key demos

Stargate Universe‘s first 8 episodes Live+7 DVR ratings numbers gave SGU an average of 2.64 million viewers.  The first 8 episodes of SGU had 26% more viewers than the 5th season of Stargate Atlantis. (It’s odd how they keep comparing things to SGA’s 5th season.)

With Sanctuary, its Live+7 DVR stats is averaging 2.16 million total viewers.

Scare Tactics viewership was up 34% in total viewers, averaging 1.47 million total viewers.

The Rebrand Is Working

It’s obvious that the rebranding is helping Syfy surge forward in many categories.   It looks like the network regrouping is helping some of our favorite shows outperform their previous records.  Sure, Stargate Universe doesn’t agree with some, but it is doing the job that the network has hoped for and that’s draw in viewers or retain the BSG demographic who like dark, human angles to their sci-fi.

Syfy moved from its 9th place position among cable entertainment networks to 6th in 2009. They’ve had the best year in 17 years with various demographics as new viewers represented a 12% increase in viewer numbers.

Even has seemingly benefited from the rebranding as the site has seen a 10% boost in visitors, averaging 3.6 million unique visits.

So sure, Dave Howe knows what he’s doing.  Some shows will benefit, some fans will benefit.  But with Howe focused on the bottom line, some fans are going to be left behind.  It’s a shame, but it is what it is.  If the network grows, some sci-fi fans will reap the reward, while others are shown the door.

Sound off Screen Rant readers.  We want to know what you’re thinking.

Sources:  NBC / Syfy Press, TV By The Numbers

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  1. “much to the angst of the core Stargate fans.”

    I wish people would stop saying that, for the most part the fans who are ripping SGU are the same people who ripped SGA, they don’t represent the ‘core’ fans at all, they’re just the loud minority – again.

  2. I’m a 41 yr old white male sci fi junky (books and some movies), however the sci fi channel has never intrigued me for some reason. It’s content in general, to me, always seemed whimsical.
    Maybe growing up on reruns of the Twilight Zone have ruined it for all the other up-n-comers (who usually fall short)……

  3. Scare Tactics is the worst show on SyFy…and that is saying something. I love Eureka, but after that there isn’t much (except for Dr. Who, but that isn’t their programming.) SGU I watch; I like it but I don’t love it. Never got into Battlestar Galactica, too damn dark and depressing for me (as a fan of the original series). I hope SyFy continues to do well, but I also hope that they make more of Eureka and Warehouse 13 types of FUN shows and LESS of the dark, dreary depressing sci-fi shows.

  4. @Adam

    And you’re basing your statement on what, exactly? We have more than one discussion going on here on the site where fans of the other two series who LOVED them are very disappointed in this one (myself included).


  5. I to seem to find the channel quite whimsical as well, im watching beaowulf right now and man is it bad but thats why I watch it bc its so bad u have to watch it just to pick at it. I think the series alice was there best show yet. I would like to c more old sci fi movies like swamp thing and creature from the black lagoon stuff like that.

  6. I’ll admit I’ve been watching a lot more Syfy lately, even though I still don’t think the name change has nearly as much to do with their success as the programming does. Then again I guess the re-branding technically includes both their name and new programing so by that definition it has worked.

    Part of me really wants SyFy to do well so that in the future if a great show that would fit the channel is being canceled by a network, SyFy might have the budget available to save it. Some examples of shows being Firefly, Terminator: TSCC, Reaper or any other show that you might like. I’ve seen this discussed fairly frequently and people at Syfy usually say that it is just too expensive to try to pick-up a network show and provide it with the necessary budget to continue.

    I still have never seen an episode of Ghost Hunters or Destination Truth and I don’t entirely understand how ECW fits into the mix.

  7. @Vic Holtreman

    I’m basing it on the view expressed on Stargate fan forums. I’d say if any section of the fan base could be called the ‘core’ fans, it would be the people who populate those sites.

  8. I can’t believe anybody even watches that network at all anymore. Crappy movies (don/’t even manage B movie status), Bad reboots of previous series and gag WRESTLING? Sure wrestling is fake as Hell, but Science Fiction? I’ve had it blocked from my cable box since that Farscape fiasco. I go in and have a look around sometimes, but it’s SOS – not worth the effort to watch it – especially since BBC in America is running Doctor Who.

  9. Sorry Adam… just seeing a lot of grumbling from that camp here on Screen Rant that’s hard to ignore. I am leaning towards really enjoying SGU, since I liked BSG… especially when someone trashes on Rush. I live for those moments! LOL.

    Send some of those positive minded forum folks over here to chime in and help with the disgruntled. I could use the help!

    IntelliQ: Then you’re satisfied most holidays when they run Twilight Zone marathons!

    Andy S: About Scare Tactics: I enjoy the premise, but Syfy definitely doesn’t pull it off as well as they can.

    KantStandYa: At one point, Sci Fi admitted to the B movies they make… and the fun they have with it. Not to mention they still bring in some decent viewer numbers for a Sat. night.

    Traxiz: The rename was more about copyrighting than programming, but they pulled the two together to draw more attention to their new programming push.

    Thanks for coming by gang!

  10. well Bruce…you and I spoke to this when the changeover took place and you’re right, he managed to make syfy just like any other network that’s out there. A couple of good shows (I still tune in for Warehouse and Eureka and everything else is just meh…), some solid niche programming and a boatload of crap. Pretty much describes every other network out there…. sigh…

  11. I don’t think the name change has anything to do with it. The channel is growing as it would normally with some really cool shows.

    Its all about the shows not the name of the channel.

  12. I really like SGU, it will go from strength to strength, the introduction of aliens later in the season will give it a boost.

    Considering SGU has the highest ratings of any Stargate show for over five years, it must be finding an audience somewhere!

  13. Lol, also off topic but yeah GK333, Avatar is breaking all kinds of records. I’m surprised,,, if it breaks past Titanic Camerons Head is going to explode like in Scanners!!!


    There’s a film reboot idea for ya Sly Fy ?

  14. SyFy sucks. SGU is a depressing, dark little piece of crap with unlikeable charactors, an untenetable situation, limited and lacking in any redeeming qualities.

    Ghosthunters, Like “Who wants to be a millionaire” will die the death of over-exposure, and a lack of anything new. Its stagnant and dull.

    The SyFy Channel is already dead, the corpse just doesn’t know it yet.

  15. Yeah sorry for that little outburst, it just winds me up a bit is all :)

  16. Adam… no problems! That’s what we’re about… chatting about news and sharing opinions! Never apologize for your opinion about a subject. -Bruce

  17. So the rebranding works? Good for the network but didn’t they also spend a lot of money for advertising the new name? just curious.

    And SGU? I’m glad that some people like the show but it’s certainly beyond my understanding. I loved BSG, Babylon 5 and SG-1 but SGU somehow doesn’t work for me. I like darker,edgier stories but I don’t find them in SGU. It’s the reason why I don’t like it, it doesn’t deliver more edgier and darker stories or characters. It’s slow, predictable and boring.

  18. I dont think anything Rush does is terribly predictable, did everyone guess Young was going to attack him and abandon him on that planet?

    Justice was an amazing episode, not just SGU’s best, but one of the best Stargate episodes EVER!

  19. As someone who is a sci fi nerd and who has watched Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, since they started, I have to say that I am not a big fan of SGU. I prefer the old shows – there was some hope, joy as well as despair, and there was great acting/characters/stories in them. I’m also an acting teacher/director/actress and I can tell you that great acting does not equal depressing, dark & angst-ridden (SGU). However, if people like them, so be it.

    Sure, I dig Robert Carlyle, I’m happy to see him working a steady gig. But I was never a fan of BSG, either, because everything, like SGU, was so dark (and I actually used to watch the original Battlestar when it was on tv as a kid). It just seems to me that SGU is nothing more than BSG with a stargate, and that honestly makes me feel like they stole something from my favorite show of all time, SG SG1.

  20. I’m one of the folks who likes SGU. Call us the silent majority I guess :)

    I am also wishing that SyFy would make shows like Defying Gravity – I’m still sad that it is dead. Great show (tho not fast paced and lots of death and destruction like some people seem to need) and I really enjoyed it.

    I’m not a fan of the non-scifi stuff – the ghost and wrestling etc don’t do anything for me. I like adventure and drama, not being scared to death or watching blood drip.

    I’m good with Warehouse 13 and love Eureka. Gimme more of that please!

  21. planetMitch: Would we really be the “dark and depressed” majority!?

    Unfortunately we must put up with the other stuff… sigh.

  22. It wasn’t the re-branding with the girlie “SyFy” that does it. Sci-Fi Channel simply produces, reproduces, good programming. They could call it SyCrap and still do well — and actually might do even better.

  23. Ok. It’s been weighing on my mind and the more it pops into my head the more it bothers me.

    …..I really dont like it when companies misspell things in order to “dumb it down and make it cool” for the newest and youngest viewers. SyFy is a horrible way to “rebrand” their “product”. Grrrr.

    Ok, I said it.

    End of rant.

  24. LOL: IntelliQ… Do you understand why they did this name change though?

  25. …because they were suffering low viewer-ship numbers?

    I just know I see ads for shoes, household products, and names of businesses which are intentionally spelled incorrectly in order to be “modern”. It sort of bothers me, lol.

    I guess it’s part of getting old(er) and becoming the grumpy old man who no longer relates to the latest trends.

  26. I think SyFy should remake Buck Rodgers for TV. If they can remake Battlestar Galactica, then they can do Buck Rodgers. Or would it be too soon after the short-lived Flash Gordon (which I enjoyed, BTW)? I don’t think it should be dark and gritty like BSG and SGU, but more like the original SG-1 and Eureka. Fun, futuristic science-fiction. And hot women in short skirts…gotta have that. LOL.

  27. @IntelliQ

    You can’t trademark a common word or phrase. That’s why so many companies misspell product names.