Sci Fi Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - June 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of July 22, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMMING ECW (SPORTING)
Extreme Championship Wrestling features pro wrestlers in action.
Status: On air. Produced by: Extreme Championship Wrestling

EUREKA (DRAMA)
A newly hired sheriff reports for duty in the small, bucolic Pacific North-west town of Eureka and soon discovers that things are not what they seem.
Status: Season 3.5 premieres July 10. 10x60. Produced by: Universal Media Studios.

GHOST HUNTERS (REALITY)
Series follows a group of paranormal researchers throughout the country as they try to uncover the mystery behind haunted houses.  Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson are plumbers by day and ghost hunters by night.
Status: Season 5 premiered in March. New episodes return August 19 at 9PM. Produced by: Sci-Fi Channel Productions / Pilgrim Films & Televsion, Inc.

GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL
(REALITY)
Spin-off of GHOST HUNTERS, this version takes the exploration to Europe.
Status: Season 2 premiered July 8 at 9PM. Produced by: Sci-Fi Channel Productions / Pilgrim Films & Televsion, Inc.

MOONLIGHT (DRAMA)
A captivating "undead" private investigator uses his acute vampire senses to help the living... instead of feeding on them. (Off CBS)
Status: On air. Produced by: Warner Bros. Television.

PRIMEVAL (DRAMA)
World-renowned evolutionary scientist Professor Nick Cutter and his team are recruited by the British Government to investigate a series of dinosaur sightings.
Status: On air. Produced by: Impossible Pictures.

SCI FI ORIGINAL MOVIES (MOVIES)
Original movies by the Sci Fi Channel / Syfy.
Status: On air. Produced by Sci-Fi Channel Productions.

STAR TREK ENTERPRISE (DRAMA)
Part of the STAR TREK franchise, this series takes place aboard the Enterprise, on which the original series was based, but 10 years prior.
Status: On air. Produced by: Paramount Television / Braga Productions / Rick Berman Productions.

STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION (DRAMA)
Spin-off of the original STAR TREK series, this popular series follows Captain Picard and his crew on their adventures.
Status: On air. Produced by: Paramount Television.

JUNE 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

GHOST HUNTERS, SCI FI ORIGINAL MOVIE (Mutant Chronicles, Star Runners), EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING


SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

The week starts out with a full stack of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION on Mondays and a two-hour stack of ENTERPRISE on Tuesdays, leading into ratings grabber Extreme Championship Wrestling at 10pm. A two-hour block of female-skewing GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL repeats led into ECW in the last two weeks of the month. Wednesday is the only female-skewing night, where GHOST HUNTERS and GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL usually appear. Thursdays are mostly about movies. Fridays are usually acquired programs (MOONLIGHT and PRIMEVAL) at 9pm and 10pm, with a STAR TREK: TNG lead-in this month. Saturdays and Sundays are all movies, including the Sci Fi ORIGINAL MOVIES scattered throughout the weekend.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

** WAREHOUSE 13 debut July 7, 2009, finale September 22.
** GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL returned July 8, 2009, at 9pm.
** EUREKA with 10 eps for season 3.5, returned July 10, 2009, at 9pm.
** GHOST HUNTERS returns August 19, 2009, at 9pm (with all new episodes throughout the fall).
** DESTINATION TRUTH season three premieres Wednesday, September 9th @ 9PM
** STARGATE UNIVERSE debuts October 2 @ 9PM-11PM, regular time slot Fridays from 9-10PM.
** SANCTUARY season two premieres Friday, October 9 @ 10PM (13 eps)
** SCARE TACTICS season three returns Tuesday, October 6 @ 9PM
** MIND CONTROL WITH DERREN BROWN returning this fall (premiere date not announced)
** RELICQUEST new this fall (premiere date not announced)
** SANCTUARY returning this fall (premiere date not announced)


RATINGS ANALYSIS: Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:
June 2009 vs. June 2008  (% Change)

H'hold    M25-54    F25-54    P25-54
Monday 8-11pm               -8%         -4%         -15%          -7%
Tuesday 8-11pm                2%          4%          42%         16%
Wednesday 8-11pm        -28%       -24%        -36%        -31%
Thursday 8-11pm            -19%       -17%        -39%        -23%
Friday 8-11pm                 -17%       -28%         -27%       -29%
Saturday 8-11pm               -9%          3%         -19%         -7%
Sunday 8-11pm                -12%      -13%            8%         -4%
MTWTFSS 8-11pm           -13%     -12%         -19%       -14%

*The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

It's official, The SciFi Channel is now Syfy. With a lot of creative marketing, a lot of press, and a lot of scoffing, the network threw out a lot of stationery and made the name change as of July 7th.

What does this mean for the programming and the ratings? Programming execs promise "a more diverse range of imagination-based entertainment including fantasy, paranormal, reality, mystery, action and adventure, as well as science fiction." So we can look for a broader range of programs, and presumably higher audience numbers.

With the new name, came some long-awaited new programming. First up was WAREHOUSE 13, which debuted along with the new network name and logo on July 7. The new program looks like a keeper. According to Syfy, it is topping stiff cable competition, bringing in more total viewers than new eps of HAWTHORNE and SAVING GRACE on TNT, RESUCE ME on FX, and DEADLIEST CATCH on Discovery.   It took its place among the network's top premieres, ranking third behind EUREKA and STARGATE ATLANTIS.  EUREKA was back with the second half of its third season, which was postponed until the name-change. And new episodes of GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL joined the parade as well.

But before all that happened, the network still had to program for June, its last month as SciFi. Let's take a look at how that month performed, and what trends might have emerged.

Bottom-line, the network had another low-rated month. May and June 2009 are the network's two lowest rated months since we began tracking these things, back in October '06. The biggest blow came from GHOST HUNTERS. While it is the third highest rated program (behind ECW and Original Movies), it is still in repeats, and viewers are turning away.  For core adult 25-54 viewers, ratings are down 17% vs. May and 31% vs. June 2008. Hopefully the new season starting August 19th will bring those viewers back. Movies slipped vs. last month (-8%) and plummeted vs. last year (-20%). 

Friday was the lowest rated night of the week, with MOONLIGHT and PRIMEVAL at the bottom of the male ratings pack. For some reason, repeats of female-skewing GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL made a couple of appearances on Tuesdays to lead in to wrestling. GHI joined the Friday night fare at the bottom of the male ratings heap, although it did come out as the second highest rated program among women (behind GHOST HUNTERS).  Women 25-54 ECW ratings were three percent lower than last month's ratings. The scheduling is not a permanent change, as the new eps. of GHI now premiere on Wednesdays.

Audience losses appeared almost everywhere this June, but there were some, improvements. On Mondays, STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION continued to ride the wave of JJ Abrams'(Tm) Star Trek. Compared to last month, male ratings jumped by about 30% for the night. On Tuesdays, EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING showed growth among core men 25-54 (+4% vs. May, +15% vs. June '08), and on Saturdays, there were moderate increases among men due to original movies (Mutant Chronicles and Star Runners).

What could the network have learned here? 1) Bring on the new programming. 2) There is some renewed interest in the Star Trek franchise. 3)  Women may tune in for GHOST HUNTERS and its knock-offs, but they still don't like wrestling.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

The Sci Fi Channel acquired two direct-to-DVD STARGATE Movies: Ark of Truth and Continuum


PROGRAM RENEWALS:
SANCTUARY has started production for a second season.  13 episodes ordered.

DESTINATION TRUTH has been renewed for a third season, set to debut in Fall 2009.

SCI Fl announced an expansion of both the hit paranormal franchise as well as the Channel's partnership with Craig Piligian's Pilgrim Films and Television.  The multi-part deal includes a sixth season of GHOST HUNTERS, a second season of GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL and a six-episode order of the recently announced pilot GHOST HUNTERS: NEW GENERATION [working title].  In addition, Pilgrim will develop an entirely new series for the Channel with an eye toward a 2010 premiere.


PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA,  STARGATE ATLANTIS

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