So long, Sci Fi Friday

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I never really moved beyond Sci Fi Friday to Syfy Friday, and just as well.

The less-generically-named network built on science fiction has decided to reprogram the 8-10 p.m. portion of Friday’s primetime with a WWE program, Smackdown, starting in October.

The shows fans have come to expect on Friday nights — Stargate, in the latest form, Sanctuary, Caprica– are moving to Tuesdays. Syfy Tuesday isn’t quite as alliterate, but it could catch on. Dave Howe and co. have produced high-rated fare on Tuesdays, notably the surprise hitWarehouse 13.   As with the switch to Syfy, I say, it’s their network and they should do what they think best.

I’m sad to see Stargate and Battlestar Galactica Fridays go, though. Space adventure is what soothes my savage synapses after our grueling Fridays in the ink shop, not the historic home of Randy Savage. No Stargate on Friday just doesn’t seem right.

Howe told our Tom Umstead that a move to Tuesdays could well help shows such as Caprica, the well-produced, well-received prequel to Battlestar Galactica. Over nine episodes, it has averaged 1.8 million viewers, even with seven days of DVR playback counted in (the show, and other Friday night fare, is heavily recorded). Syfy touted that the ninth episode, the mid-season finale, on March 26 had more than 1 million viewers in the 18-49 demo, with seven days’ playback. It should really be doing better, in my humble view.

“Friday nights in terms of our originals has become increasingly problematic,” Howe told Tom, “and we’ve been looking over the last two or three years into how we can move off of Friday to an earlier weekday so that we can offset some of the issues with regard to DVRs and time shifting.”

Warehouse 13, our biggest hit ever on the network, was a Tuesday show,” he said. “We’ve experimented with originals on other nights of the week. The problem with Fridays are that the HUTs are lower, younger viewers in particular are not around on Friday nights and people who are around are mostly playing catch-up with their DVRs. It’s also become more competitive than it used to be, so the opportunity to create more live viewing on a Tuesday is fantastic for us.”

He said Syfy will continue to experiment with launching other nights of the week as well. During its recent upfront presentation, the network announced that it will launch a new Thursday night block of reality programming this summer.

Fridays at 10 p.m. are still available for new originals, Howe said. “What we’re aiming to do is use Smackdown as a springboard to launch new shows on Friday or put in repeats of our scripted shows so that we can continue to grow that Smackdown audience across our schedule.”

Can’t see the WWE audience hanging on for a space drama, though. Pity.

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