Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Is the new 'Battlestar Galactica' popular?

Yes and no.

While the show has aired for four seasons and has bought much attention to the Sci Fi Channel – the truth is hardly anyone watches it.

Want proof?

Here we go.

It all started well as you can see with the table above (click on it to enlarge it) showing the ratings data from the mini series and the first season. The ratings actually went up for the second part of the mini (the audience being over four million people), but oh my, first broadcast episode “33” (arguably the best episode of the series) shows a 31.6% drop in audience of almost a third.

Just before season one began, NBC broadcast an edited version of the mini series to gee up interest in the show, but the idea obviously failed as we can see above, and the network recorded one of it's lowest ratings ever, drawing just 2.3 million viewers.

By the end season one, the series had dropped 34.2% of the audience from the mini series.

What happened to all those people from night two of the mini?

On to season two now and things are back on track for first episode “Scattered”, equalling season one’s first episode and up 4% on last season’s finale.

Worryingly though, the next episode registers a drop of 23.1% and to this date the show has never equalled the 2.6 season high rating.

By season’s end, 50% of the audience from night two of the mini series have abandoned the show.

Up until now, “Battlestar Galactica” had often vied with the two Stargate series for the position of Sci Fi’s number one drama, but 2006 saw the show kicked firmly into second place by the arrival of Eureka, a light drama based around a town of super-geeky scientists. Eureka garnered the network's highest-ever ratings for a series broadcast in its history. The July 18, two-hour premiere registered a 3.2 household rating, or more than four million viewers. It’s first season averaged a 2.2 rating with it’s finale achieving a 1.9.

Further indignity was suffered by the bizarre decision to show ECW wrestling on the station in the same year, and until the deliberate diminishing of the ECW brand, wrestling was the most watched programme on Sci Fi.

The audience size for the series is now around two million people, give or a take a couple of hundred thousand every week.

Season three arrives and the season premiere is down 30.7% on last year.

By season's end, the show has lost over two-thirds of its audience.

Original series fans got a laugh out of the ratings for one of Sci Fi's Saturday night schlock movies, Earthstorm, starring original series star Dirk Benedict. The movie posted a rating of 1.9 while that week's episode of "Battlestar Galactica" could only manage a 1.2.

On to season four, well not quite. "Razor", a direct-to-dvd movie was first shown on Sci Fi due to the movie rights held by series creator Glen A. Larson. The special had extra money put into it by Universal's DVD division and featured one of the series' most popular guest characters, the psychotic Admiral Cain, in what was essentially a flashback tale.

The movie could only post a dismal 1.2 rating and was last seen being outsold by the direct-to-dvd "Stargate-SG1: The Ark Of Truth".

Still, fourth season premiere episode "He That Believeth In Me" was up 33.3% on Razor and while we await the final ratings for this half of the season, the ratings curve is still down and the show is often coming in third place behind Ghost Hunters in the prime spot and whatever else is second.

So, what can we deduce?

1. "Battlestar Galactica" is the Sci Fi Channel's second most popular drama.
2. It's not as popular as Ghost Hunters, Eureka, Earthstorm, and believe it or not, repeats of crap Star Trek series, Enterprise.
3. A lot of the audience from the mini series didn't show up for the regular series.
4. Shown on a regular network, the show has all the appeal of a dead puppy.


5. It's not as popular as the original series, which at it's peak was watched by 66 million people in the US and at it's lowest (after the network deliberately attempted to kill it by pre-empting it all the time) 22 million.


* Thanks to BST (Pete) for the charts and the maths, which made this article possible.


Mark Peters said...

Huh... Guess it's still an acquired taste.

jjrakman said...

You forgot to mention the massive advertising campaigns, including the canvassing of the shopping malls.

Lizardo! said...

JJ, I completely forgot about that. In the end though all that crap was a waste of money – people should have been flocking to the show like flies around a turd but all the positive press in the world couldn't make that happen.

spiderr987 said...

Moore's Galactica In Name Only [G.I.N.O]. sucks massive monkey balls!

GINO = Less than 4 million weekly viewers and total lack of originality

Larson's BSG = 29-65 million weekly viewers and original story.

Give us more original, fun science fiction/space fantasy to watch and down with rip off, horrible crap like GINO and pompous, windbag hacks like Ronald D Moore.

Elder Samuel Bennett said...

It's the best show on television. Why should it be popular, too?

Lizardo! said...

Stallion Cornell said...

It's the best show on television. Why should it be popular, too?

You'd think so.

jjrakman said...


Heh, I just like mentioning the mall crap whenever GINO marketing is mentioned. It was just such an absurd laughable cry for someone/anyone to watch, it should always be mentioned in this regard accompanied by a good hearty laugh.

Ikarus said...

What's amazing is not the ratings drop but the fact that NBC Universal/SciFi kept the show on the air for as long as they did.

Ikarus said...

BTW, WWE wants to pump up the ratings for ECW on SciFi.
So much that in August they are going to start taping ECW on Monday nights before the live Raw show. Currently ECW is taped before Smackdown on Tuesdays. Due to them doing the shows back to back the ECW and Smackdown wrestlers often appear on each show.
But Raw is more popular. So starting in August the Raw wrestlers can appear on ECW and vis e versa.

Lionel Braithwaite said...

Are you people still saying this bullshit as if it's gospel?