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FOX's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Yes She Will Be Back!

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April 15th, 2008

Update 04/19/08: TVGuide's Ausiello is now reporting that the show has been renewed!

TVGuide.com's Michael Ausiello reported over a week ago that inside sources were telling him the in-limbo Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles had begun hiring for the fall and that FOX had given the green light to start booking directors for next season's first few episodes.

I'd been calling "She'll be back" since the season finale aired, but FOX still doesn't seem to be in any hurry to put fans of the show at ease. I base my thinking on a couple of pieces of data. That additionally I'm infatuated with Summer Glau in the role of a reprogrammed "good" terminator and Lena Headey in the starring role, doesn't hurt. But I'm going to keep it based on numbers and things not related to beautiful women. Or at least try!

Prison Break, both in overall numbers and in the all-important 18-49 demographic, the notion that Prison Break probably costs significantly less than TSCC isn't lost on me. Also, FOX may well be thinking it would be better off with another unscripted show in the time slot or a drama that could potentially improve on TSCC's numbers (none of this season's other new dramas for FOX outperformed TSCC).

The primary reason that I doubt the show won't be renewed is because the fourth Terminator movie is scheduled for release next May, so I'd be surprised if nothing else if there were not at least another 9-12 episode run next winter/spring to serve as a promotional vehicle for the movie. The Halcyon Co., a privately financed film development company acquired the franchise rights to the movie last spring, and my understanding is that deal did give them certain rights with TSCC, but I have no idea what those terms are.

You can see season one's full ratings breakdown here.

From a numbers point of view the show did big numbers following an NFC playoff matchup in its debut on 1/13/2008, obviously the biggest numbers of its run. The next night FOX aired the second episode with Prison Break as its lead-in and TSCC improved over Prison Break by more than 20%. On that night it was the second most-watched program in the 9pm hour trailing only a repeat of CBS' Two and a Half Men, though TSCC crushed 2.5 Men in the 18-49 demo that night. This would be the show's second best performance, trailing only the pilot that aired the night before.

The show then settled into its "typical ratings" of 8 million or so LIVE+SD viewers, with its low on 2/25. The two episode finale on 3/3 improved, with the final episode being its best numbers over the last 4 episodes in both viewers and 18-49 viewers. I don't place as much weight on lead-in as most who cover TV ratings, but it should be noted the low on 2/25 had Moment of Truth as a lead-in rather than Prison Break.

I'd like to see this show come back. I enjoyed it and the writers did something pretty spectacular, which was generally hold my interest during the entire run. I consider it pretty spectacular because both figuratively and literally I have "seen how this movie ends". The primary reason I think we'll see at least another 8 episode run is because the movie is coming.

In fairness, it's hard to judge a show only on 9 episodes. I for example loved the pilot/miniseries for Battlestar Galactica (as a stand alone piece of work, it was outstanding), and I enjoyed most of the first two seasons of the show very much. Last year, Season 3 of BSG had trouble keeping my attention and I was really only interested in episodes related to the primary story arc, which sadly for me was almost none of them. Fortunately the season 3 finale was worth the wait for me.

My point with that is, I don't know that TSCC is a show that could have a three or four year run given that it occurs in the time between the second and third terminator movies. But I was surprised that the show could hold my attention for even nine episodes, so I am OK with being surprised again if it came to that.

If I had to wager, I doubt I'd wager anything substantial but I see the most likely scenario that it will have at least as many episodes as it had this year next Winter and Spring as a promotional tie-in to the movie. I'd rather see them have a shot at a full 22 or so episode run though, but one way or the other, I'm convinced that when it comes to Sarah Connor (and Cameron Phillips), she'll be back.

 
  • Jack

    I want a full 22 episode run next season! And a Summer Glau spin-off or something.

  • Jack

    I want a full 22 episode run next season! And a Summer Glau spin-off or something.

  • Robin

    I’m really getting annoyed with Fox already. They’ve announced the renewal for Prison Break, which has lower ratings. All of the “inside sources” have made the fans think the show is coming back? Why haven’t they announced it? C’mon Fox!

  • Robin

    I'm really getting annoyed with Fox already. They've announced the renewal for Prison Break, which has lower ratings. All of the “inside sources” have made the fans think the show is coming back? Why haven't they announced it? C'mon Fox!

  • Raijin

    They’ve actually said they are ignoring T3, so the show’s story doesn’t end there. I mean, they’ve completely jumped over the T3 timeline. In T3 Judgment Day was 2003, in TSCC it’s 2011. They are writing their own story.

    According to Josh Friedman, they’ve got about 4 seasons worth of main story mapped out.

  • Raijin

    They've actually said they are ignoring T3, so the show's story doesn't end there. I mean, they've completely jumped over the T3 timeline. In T3 Judgment Day was 2003, in TSCC it's 2011. They are writing their own story.

    According to Josh Friedman, they've got about 4 seasons worth of main story mapped out.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @Raijin thanks, and yeah, some of that should’ve been quite obvious to me. I’m excited to know they have 4 seasons worth mapped out already.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @Raijin thanks, and yeah, some of that should've been quite obvious to me. I'm excited to know they have 4 seasons worth mapped out already.

  • Tony

    We were robbed from a full season due to the strike so I don’t expect anything less than 13 episodes, but I would much prefer 22 ofcourse. The quality of the show justifies a second season and Fox should announce it already or do we have to wait until May. The show has created a lot of buzz and people are still talking about it, just look at the imdb boards for starters and ofcourse this site. We need more Terminator The Summer Glau Chronicles!

  • Tony

    We were robbed from a full season due to the strike so I don't expect anything less than 13 episodes, but I would much prefer 22 ofcourse. The quality of the show justifies a second season and Fox should announce it already or do we have to wait until May. The show has created a lot of buzz and people are still talking about it, just look at the imdb boards for starters and ofcourse this site. We need more Terminator The Summer Glau Chronicles!

  • K8ie

    Given the size of the cast, the age of the show (it’s my understanding that cast salaries go up the longer a program is on air) and the expense of filming on location in Dallas (note the series is coming back to LA and the FOX lot to film season 4), I’d be surprised if PB is actually less expensive per episode than TSCC, which films on the WB studios with a very small cast composed of “new” faces and character actors. I think the difference in renewal is that PB is a FOX TV co-production. The parent company owns both the show and the network. TSCC is owned by Warner Bros, which is probably why you’re seeing PB’s renewal announcement first. I would imagine that FOX gives the first slots in their season to their top performers, then the shows they own, then everything else (TSCC isn’t quite the former and not the latter).

  • K8ie

    Given the size of the cast, the age of the show (it's my understanding that cast salaries go up the longer a program is on air) and the expense of filming on location in Dallas (note the series is coming back to LA and the FOX lot to film season 4), I'd be surprised if PB is actually less expensive per episode than TSCC, which films on the WB studios with a very small cast composed of “new” faces and character actors. I think the difference in renewal is that PB is a FOX TV co-production. The parent company owns both the show and the network. TSCC is owned by Warner Bros, which is probably why you're seeing PB's renewal announcement first. I would imagine that FOX gives the first slots in their season to their top performers, then the shows they own, then everything else (TSCC isn't quite the former and not the latter).

  • Bill

    Robert, I posted this on the “Will it be Renewed” topic. Do you have any insight?

    Does Fox keep the current cast members in the dark about the show’s status? They could land other roles that would potentially conflict with shooting a new season, right? I think if even one of the
    main
    cast members were to leave the show it would struggle to get off the ground next year.

  • Bill

    Robert, I posted this on the “Will it be Renewed” topic. Do you have any insight?

    Does Fox keep the current cast members in the dark about the show’s status? They could land other roles that would potentially conflict with shooting a new season, right? I think if even one of the
    main
    cast members were to leave the show it would struggle to get off the ground next year.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Bill, my understanding is the actors are under contract (and the contracts have an expiration date, though I don’t know what it is).

    Beyond that all I can do is speculate based on what I read. It seems that FOX does keep in touch with the producers and the producers do keep in touch with the cast/crew. My guess is the producers do their best to keep the actors informed so that they can figure out their lives/schedule more work, etc. With all the love Summer is getting here (nice linking, by the way!) we can dream that someday she’ll show up here and let us know how they handled all that with her. ;)

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Bill, my understanding is the actors are under contract (and the contracts have an expiration date, though I don't know what it is).

    Beyond that all I can do is speculate based on what I read. It seems that FOX does keep in touch with the producers and the producers do keep in touch with the cast/crew. My guess is the producers do their best to keep the actors informed so that they can figure out their lives/schedule more work, etc. With all the love Summer is getting here (nice linking, by the way!) we can dream that someday she'll show up here and let us know how they handled all that with her. ;)

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @K8ie, that all makes good sense. I’ve read that Prison Break has a budget of ~$3 million per episode. I’d be surprised if TSCC wasn’t more or less in the same ballpark, even though PB has been on the air longer.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @K8ie, that all makes good sense. I've read that Prison Break has a budget of ~$3 million per episode. I'd be surprised if TSCC wasn't more or less in the same ballpark, even though PB has been on the air longer.

  • frankj

    Robert, given just the numbers T:TSCC has (Live+SD, 18-49), and not the fact that it's a new show, do the numbers correspond to a TV show worthy of a major network? Meaning, would ANY show that had those numbers potentially be in trouble? For example, BSG, with it's numbers, could probably never survive on a major network. But yet it looks like FOX didn't bat an eye with Prison Break's low numbers. What if those were numbers from a show on NBC, or CBS? Given similar production costs (which according to interviews is not as high as people think, apparently they're akin to an average network drama).

    I can't help but think a lot of this “bubble” talk in the press started because FOX was expecting the next 24. And in that sense I think FOX is still sticking it out to see if their other new shows turn into hits (though according to most articles they're saying the verdict is in that T:TSCC won the day as far as new shows), regardless of the fact that T:TSCC's numbers might have been plenty good for renewal.

  • frankj

    Robert, given just the numbers T:TSCC has (Live+SD, 18-49), and not the fact that it’s a new show, do the numbers correspond to a TV show worthy of a major network? Meaning, would ANY show that had those numbers potentially be in trouble? For example, BSG, with it’s numbers, could probably never survive on a major network. But yet it looks like FOX didn’t bat an eye with Prison Break’s low numbers. What if those were numbers from a show on NBC, or CBS? Given similar production costs (which according to interviews is not as high as people think, apparently they’re akin to an average network drama).

    I can’t help but think a lot of this “bubble” talk in the press started because FOX was expecting the next 24. And in that sense I think FOX is still sticking it out to see if their other new shows turn into hits (though according to most articles they’re saying the verdict is in that T:TSCC won the day as far as new shows), regardless of the fact that T:TSCC’s numbers might have been plenty good for renewal.

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