Battlestar Galactica Jumps to Sundays

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Sci Fi Channel will dock flagship series Battlestar Galactica in another television galaxy next month: Sunday nights.

After two-and-a-half seasons of anchoring the network’s popular Friday-night original-series block, Sci Fi will move the last 10 episodes of the show’s season to TV’s busiest night.

The scheduling change is a means to avoid what executive vice president and general manger David Howe said is increased competition in the science-fiction genre from broadcast shows like CBS’ Ghost Whisperer, as well as widespread recording of the series.

But Battlestar will wind up squaring off against Without a Trace and other stiff competition from cable and broadcast networks on arguably the most competitive night of the week.

Still, Howe believes the show will thrive in its new time slot, when it will face little or no direct genre competition from other linear networks.

Sci Fi’s highest-rated original scripted series has struggled during the first half of its third season, which began Oct. 6 and ends Dec. 15. Through Nov. 17, the show’s premiere installments averaged a 1.4 household rating and 1.8 million viewers, well below the 2.1 and 2.4 million viewers it attracted during the 10-episode first half of its sophomore season July-September 2005 and the 1.9/2.1 million during its 10-installment second half from January-March 2006.

But Howe said the show’s performance is skewed because of heavy digital-video-recorder action -- one-quarter of its viewing comes from time-shifted watching, he added.

With DVR viewing factored in, the show has averaged a 1.8 rating and 2.25 million viewers through Nov. 10 and has recorded a 2% gain to 1.4 million of Sci Fi’s target audience of adults 18-49 with compared with the show’s full second season.

On Sundays, Dresden Files, the network’s new supernatural detective series, will serve as Battlestar’s lead-in.

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