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No Nielsen Ratings Glory for BSG Season Four Premiere

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Written By

April 7th, 2008

apollo-bsg.jpgAs predicted, the Battlestar Galactica season four premiere will be bested by about 20 SpongeBob airings. The season four premiere did but a 1.3/2 (Household rating/share) and a 1.1/3 in the 18-49 demo (the good news, I suppose, is that almost the entire viewership was in the demo). , I can't say I understand the phenomenon, but, as they say, it is what it is. Overall, the show drew 2.138 million viewers.

Just another data point of Internet buzz means this: almost absolutely nothing at all. So many things including Monk and Psych on Sunday night (which was generally considered very lousy ratings) beatdown BSG so badly that it's perplexing.

Update: more data -- 1.5+ million 25-54 viewers. 1.4 million 18-49 viewers. Best 18-49 performance since Jan 13, 2006. Best 25-54 performance since October 6, 2006 (season 3 premiere). 606,000 women 18-49 watched -- the best performance the show has ever had by that metric. Chicks dig BSG! (43% of 18-49 viewership was among females). It was the #3 cable program in primetime overall on Friday, and #4 in the 18-49 demo, and #1 in the 25-54 demo.

While I'm a harsh critic of BSG because it set such a high bar with its miniseries/pilot in the wayback, I thought the season four premiere very, very good. But for all the Internet buzz, for the thousands of headlines, for the New York Times coverage to boot -- it did worse than a new episode of Supernatural on the CW, and way, way, way, worse than any airing of Jericho. But, I'm not surprised by that at all. I still can't wait to see who the final cylon is, and because you can never get too much of Tricia Helfer/Number 6...enjoy:

Tricia Helfer as Number 6 on BSG

 
  • kayarn

    i dont watch this show but i have to think that those are good numbers for the scifi channel and especially for a friday night.

  • Rachel Faith

    Good review thanks for all you do to keep us informed.

    Here is my take and others from the many forums on which I post regularly.

    Of course the question is WHY? Why did 3.5 million households watch the mini and why now, have some ratings, especially in the later part of season III fallen to below 0.9?

    And why are we surprised when after all the hype it gets a 1.3?

    What do these millions of former viewers think and what do they say that the writers, producers, and critics have not seemed to understand?

    The answer is rather simple, and it is a combination of three elements:

    The first is that the story line has dramatically changed. And by this I mean, down to the character of the characters.

    In writing, and by that I mean, books, you only have the text to go by when understanding who a character is. There are no pictures, only words.

    Words are important, they set the tone, and very nature of the person being portrayed.

    A consistent, quality writer knows that their very heart and soul of capturing the readers focus, is to make the characters both believable and consistent.

    You know what a character, in whom you have emotionally invested, is going to do. When they do it, you feel it, you love it. You expect it, and you receive the reward of pure enjoyment when you get that feeling.

    However, when someone of poor skill changes their character, or makes them do one thing then another in situation after situation, you lose that attachment, you are unable to make the emotional bond, and given enough harrowing abuses, you give up altogether.

    This is the first problem with the writing of the show. They have egregiously violated the sacred trust of character continuity. And they seemly do not care. Worse, in pod casts they laugh about those of us who do care about such “trivial details” mocking and scorning their core audience with insults like “It is not about X or Y but the ‘Drama’”.

    The second violation is their total change of pace from Season I and the first half of season II, and the rest of the episodes thereafter.

    Time was tight, regulated, you felt like you were part of the story, minute by minute for those first 20 episodes. Then they changed. They sped up time, slowly, a day or two jump, then a week, maybe. Then you were not sure how much time had passed from one to the next for your ever changing characters, only to be insulted with the 18 months later season II ending.

    Which leads us to the final problem. The “Reset”. OK, here we are back in space, Tigh is a drunk, Kara is rebellious and Lee is a wuss.

    Again!

    Forget anything that ever happened because the writers have.

    Don’t trust what you know about any character, because they writers will change it next week or go back to old behaviors as if the character did not learn a damn thing from the previous crisis.

    All in the name of supposed drama?

    You cannot do these things and expect to get anything other than the bare minimum sycophantic fan base of die hards who refuse to believe that their Emperor has no clothes.

  • Rachel Faith

    Good review thanks for all you do to keep us informed.

    Here is my take and others from the many forums on which I post regularly.

    Of course the question is WHY? Why did 3.5 million households watch the mini and why now, have some ratings, especially in the later part of season III fallen to below 0.9?

    And why are we surprised when after all the hype it gets a 1.3?

    What do these millions of former viewers think and what do they say that the writers, producers, and critics have not seemed to understand?

    The answer is rather simple, and it is a combination of three elements:

    The first is that the story line has dramatically changed. And by this I mean, down to the character of the characters.

    In writing, and by that I mean, books, you only have the text to go by when understanding who a character is. There are no pictures, only words.

    Words are important, they set the tone, and very nature of the person being portrayed.

    A consistent, quality writer knows that their very heart and soul of capturing the readers focus, is to make the characters both believable and consistent.

    You know what a character, in whom you have emotionally invested, is going to do. When they do it, you feel it, you love it. You expect it, and you receive the reward of pure enjoyment when you get that feeling.

    However, when someone of poor skill changes their character, or makes them do one thing then another in situation after situation, you lose that attachment, you are unable to make the emotional bond, and given enough harrowing abuses, you give up altogether.

    This is the first problem with the writing of the show. They have egregiously violated the sacred trust of character continuity. And they seemly do not care. Worse, in pod casts they laugh about those of us who do care about such “trivial details” mocking and scorning their core audience with insults like “It is not about X or Y but the ‘Drama’”.

    The second violation is their total change of pace from Season I and the first half of season II, and the rest of the episodes thereafter.

    Time was tight, regulated, you felt like you were part of the story, minute by minute for those first 20 episodes. Then they changed. They sped up time, slowly, a day or two jump, then a week, maybe. Then you were not sure how much time had passed from one to the next for your ever changing characters, only to be insulted with the 18 months later season II ending.

    Which leads us to the final problem. The “Reset”. OK, here we are back in space, Tigh is a drunk, Kara is rebellious and Lee is a wuss.

    Again!

    Forget anything that ever happened because the writers have.

    Don’t trust what you know about any character, because they writers will change it next week or go back to old behaviors as if the character did not learn a damn thing from the previous crisis.

    All in the name of supposed drama?

    You cannot do these things and expect to get anything other than the bare minimum sycophantic fan base of die hards who refuse to believe that their Emperor has no clothes.

  • Rachel Faith

    Good review thanks for all you do to keep us informed.

    Here is my take and others from the many forums on which I post regularly.

    Of course the question is WHY? Why did 3.5 million households watch the mini and why now, have some ratings, especially in the later part of season III fallen to below 0.9?

    And why are we surprised when after all the hype it gets a 1.3?

    What do these millions of former viewers think and what do they say that the writers, producers, and critics have not seemed to understand?

    The answer is rather simple, and it is a combination of three elements:

    The first is that the story line has dramatically changed. And by this I mean, down to the character of the characters.

    In writing, and by that I mean, books, you only have the text to go by when understanding who a character is. There are no pictures, only words.

    Words are important, they set the tone, and very nature of the person being portrayed.

    A consistent, quality writer knows that their very heart and soul of capturing the readers focus, is to make the characters both believable and consistent.

    You know what a character, in whom you have emotionally invested, is going to do. When they do it, you feel it, you love it. You expect it, and you receive the reward of pure enjoyment when you get that feeling.

    However, when someone of poor skill changes their character, or makes them do one thing then another in situation after situation, you lose that attachment, you are unable to make the emotional bond, and given enough harrowing abuses, you give up altogether.

    This is the first problem with the writing of the show. They have egregiously violated the sacred trust of character continuity. And they seemly do not care. Worse, in pod casts they laugh about those of us who do care about such “trivial details” mocking and scorning their core audience with insults like “It is not about X or Y but the ‘Drama’”.

    The second violation is their total change of pace from Season I and the first half of season II, and the rest of the episodes thereafter.

    Time was tight, regulated, you felt like you were part of the story, minute by minute for those first 20 episodes. Then they changed. They sped up time, slowly, a day or two jump, then a week, maybe. Then you were not sure how much time had passed from one to the next for your ever changing characters, only to be insulted with the 18 months later season II ending.

    Which leads us to the final problem. The “Reset”. OK, here we are back in space, Tigh is a drunk, Kara is rebellious and Lee is a wuss.

    Again!

    Forget anything that ever happened because the writers have.

    Don’t trust what you know about any character, because they writers will change it next week or go back to old behaviors as if the character did not learn a damn thing from the previous crisis.

    All in the name of supposed drama?

    You cannot do these things and expect to get anything other than the bare minimum sycophantic fan base of die hards who refuse to believe that their Emperor has no clothes.

  • Rachel Faith

    Good review thanks for all you do to keep us informed.

    Here is my take and others from the many forums on which I post regularly.

    Of course the question is WHY? Why did 3.5 million households watch the mini and why now, have some ratings, especially in the later part of season III fallen to below 0.9?

    And why are we surprised when after all the hype it gets a 1.3?

    What do these millions of former viewers think and what do they say that the writers, producers, and critics have not seemed to understand?

    The answer is rather simple, and it is a combination of three elements:

    The first is that the story line has dramatically changed. And by this I mean, down to the character of the characters.

    In writing, and by that I mean, books, you only have the text to go by when understanding who a character is. There are no pictures, only words.

    Words are important, they set the tone, and very nature of the person being portrayed.

    A consistent, quality writer knows that their very heart and soul of capturing the readers focus, is to make the characters both believable and consistent.

    You know what a character, in whom you have emotionally invested, is going to do. When they do it, you feel it, you love it. You expect it, and you receive the reward of pure enjoyment when you get that feeling.

    However, when someone of poor skill changes their character, or makes them do one thing then another in situation after situation, you lose that attachment, you are unable to make the emotional bond, and given enough harrowing abuses, you give up altogether.

    This is the first problem with the writing of the show. They have egregiously violated the sacred trust of character continuity. And they seemly do not care. Worse, in pod casts they laugh about those of us who do care about such “trivial details” mocking and scorning their core audience with insults like “It is not about X or Y but the ‘Drama’”.

    The second violation is their total change of pace from Season I and the first half of season II, and the rest of the episodes thereafter.

    Time was tight, regulated, you felt like you were part of the story, minute by minute for those first 20 episodes. Then they changed. They sped up time, slowly, a day or two jump, then a week, maybe. Then you were not sure how much time had passed from one to the next for your ever changing characters, only to be insulted with the 18 months later season II ending.

    Which leads us to the final problem. The “Reset”. OK, here we are back in space, Tigh is a drunk, Kara is rebellious and Lee is a wuss.

    Again!

    Forget anything that ever happened because the writers have.

    Don’t trust what you know about any character, because they writers will change it next week or go back to old behaviors as if the character did not learn a damn thing from the previous crisis.

    All in the name of supposed drama?

    You cannot do these things and expect to get anything other than the bare minimum sycophantic fan base of die hards who refuse to believe that their Emperor has no clothes.

  • http://www.thewebsitez.com Gavin

    How can you mention the show being “beaten” by a new episode of Supernatural or Jericho, when both are network shows with usually bigger audiences (much bigger in CBS’ case) and BSG is on Sci-Fi, whose shows are lucky to top 2 million, and are huge hits if they top 3 million. Awful article.

  • http://www.thewebsitez.com Gavin

    How can you mention the show being “beaten” by a new episode of Supernatural or Jericho, when both are network shows with usually bigger audiences (much bigger in CBS’ case) and BSG is on Sci-Fi, whose shows are lucky to top 2 million, and are huge hits if they top 3 million. Awful article.

  • http://www.thewebsitez.com Gavin

    How can you mention the show being “beaten” by a new episode of Supernatural or Jericho, when both are network shows with usually bigger audiences (much bigger in CBS’ case) and BSG is on Sci-Fi, whose shows are lucky to top 2 million, and are huge hits if they top 3 million. Awful article.

  • Matthew

    One question I have, those ratings are for the actual premiere right? not the 12 dozen showings of it since the premier… With Sci-Fi, a lot of people may hold off and watch subsequent showings at a more decent hour, Plus, Sci-Fi must be the most Tivo’d network, are there live +7 data for Cable shows? and if so, does it take into account subsequent showings over the course of the week?

  • Matthew

    One question I have, those ratings are for the actual premiere right? not the 12 dozen showings of it since the premier… With Sci-Fi, a lot of people may hold off and watch subsequent showings at a more decent hour, Plus, Sci-Fi must be the most Tivo’d network, are there live +7 data for Cable shows? and if so, does it take into account subsequent showings over the course of the week?

  • Matthew

    One question I have, those ratings are for the actual premiere right? not the 12 dozen showings of it since the premier… With Sci-Fi, a lot of people may hold off and watch subsequent showings at a more decent hour, Plus, Sci-Fi must be the most Tivo’d network, are there live +7 data for Cable shows? and if so, does it take into account subsequent showings over the course of the week?

  • Matthew

    One question I have, those ratings are for the actual premiere right? not the 12 dozen showings of it since the premier… With Sci-Fi, a lot of people may hold off and watch subsequent showings at a more decent hour, Plus, Sci-Fi must be the most Tivo’d network, are there live +7 data for Cable shows? and if so, does it take into account subsequent showings over the course of the week?

  • Jason

    Oh, good catch Robert! What can I say, it was getting late, and it looked like the 1.6 was talking about the overall rating when I read it initially. Now I see my mistake. But it looks like some of the demo data from the release got put in here. Good to see those extra details.

    As for the performance comparisons to network shows, I’d remember that it’s still on cable. As Gavin touched upon, the numbers pretty much have no chance of getting to network-quality levels anyway. Matching the likes of even Jericho would mean raw viewers would probably require a rise all the way up to (maybe even past) the levels the miniseries got, which the main series has never hit (or even come close to). There are only a handful of cable series that are getting numbers like that these days. The Closer comes to mind right away, but it’s a crime drama, something that will sell better to the mainstream audiences right now.

    Sci-fi is hard to sell in the current market, I would say mainly because there are a few more choices now than back when Star Trek: TNG was one of the most watched shows in syndication. And numbers like BSG’s are probably pretty acceptable to the SciFi Channel. Especially when NBC is touting the performance so strongly. PR-speak or not, you don’t usually make a big deal out of something unless it performs at least as expected, if not better. And I don’t think those numbers are too much different from what the Stargates have managed on some occasions. So let’s compare apples to apples and stick to cable for comparisons in the future.

  • Jason

    Oh, good catch Robert! What can I say, it was getting late, and it looked like the 1.6 was talking about the overall rating when I read it initially. Now I see my mistake. But it looks like some of the demo data from the release got put in here. Good to see those extra details.

    As for the performance comparisons to network shows, I’d remember that it’s still on cable. As Gavin touched upon, the numbers pretty much have no chance of getting to network-quality levels anyway. Matching the likes of even Jericho would mean raw viewers would probably require a rise all the way up to (maybe even past) the levels the miniseries got, which the main series has never hit (or even come close to). There are only a handful of cable series that are getting numbers like that these days. The Closer comes to mind right away, but it’s a crime drama, something that will sell better to the mainstream audiences right now.

    Sci-fi is hard to sell in the current market, I would say mainly because there are a few more choices now than back when Star Trek: TNG was one of the most watched shows in syndication. And numbers like BSG’s are probably pretty acceptable to the SciFi Channel. Especially when NBC is touting the performance so strongly. PR-speak or not, you don’t usually make a big deal out of something unless it performs at least as expected, if not better. And I don’t think those numbers are too much different from what the Stargates have managed on some occasions. So let’s compare apples to apples and stick to cable for comparisons in the future.

  • frankj

    I bet the buzz for the show did contribute to some viewership, just not the Season 4 premiere. As someone else noted Sci-Fi re-airs stuff all the time, so people may just figure they’ll catch one of those showings, and I would also imagine a lot of new viewers were tempted to start getting into the series. Obviously one store isn’t a trend, but I did see people buying the season box sets at Best Buy this weekend.

  • frankj

    I bet the buzz for the show did contribute to some viewership, just not the Season 4 premiere. As someone else noted Sci-Fi re-airs stuff all the time, so people may just figure they’ll catch one of those showings, and I would also imagine a lot of new viewers were tempted to start getting into the series. Obviously one store isn’t a trend, but I did see people buying the season box sets at Best Buy this weekend.

  • frankj

    I bet the buzz for the show did contribute to some viewership, just not the Season 4 premiere. As someone else noted Sci-Fi re-airs stuff all the time, so people may just figure they’ll catch one of those showings, and I would also imagine a lot of new viewers were tempted to start getting into the series. Obviously one store isn’t a trend, but I did see people buying the season box sets at Best Buy this weekend.

  • frankj

    I bet the buzz for the show did contribute to some viewership, just not the Season 4 premiere. As someone else noted Sci-Fi re-airs stuff all the time, so people may just figure they’ll catch one of those showings, and I would also imagine a lot of new viewers were tempted to start getting into the series. Obviously one store isn’t a trend, but I did see people buying the season box sets at Best Buy this weekend.

  • http://www.cvillepodcast.com/ Sean Tubbs

    Robert, do you have any indication of how the live Internet stream of the show performed? I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether or not that affected the numbers.

  • http://www.cvillepodcast.com/ Sean Tubbs

    Robert, do you have any indication of how the live Internet stream of the show performed? I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether or not that affected the numbers.

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