via press release:
SEASON THREE MERLIN PREMIERE ON SYFY BEWITCHES 1.34 MILLION TOTAL VIEWERS
WWE SMACKDOWN® DELIVERS HIGHEST HOUSEHOLD RATING EVER ON SYFY
SYFY #2 CABLE NETWORK IN PRIME AMONG ADULTS 18-49 AND ADULTS 25-54
NEW YORK – January 10, 2011 – The season three premiere of Merlin on Syfy entranced more than 1.34 million total viewers on Friday, January 7, during its 10-11PM (ET/PT) premiere, up five percent versus the 2010 average.
The viewership was boosted by its Friday night tag team partner WWE SmackDown®, which pinned 2.845 million total viewers as the 8-10PM (ET/PT) lead-in. This was the second highest performance for the series behind only the October 15 telecast (2.88 million). The 1.95 HH rating was the highest household rating ever for SmackDown.
The program also delivered 1.1 million Adults 18-49 (up 41% week-to-week) and 1.04 million Adults 25-54 (up 19% week-to-week). This also represents a Syfy high for SmackDown among Adults18-34 (454,000).
In 8-11PM prime, Merlin and SmackDown propelled Syfy to the #2 cable network for Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54.
A host of new guest stars joins the regular Merlin cast of Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Anthony Head, Katie McGrath and Angel Coulby to enthrall audiences over the 13-week third season. Harry Melling (The Harry Potter Series) portrays Gilli, Warwick Davis (The Harry Potter Series, The Chronicles of Narnia) will play Grettir, Miriam Margoyles (The Harry Potter Series, Being Julia) will play Grunhilda, and Mark Williams (The Harry Potter Series, The Fast Show) is the voice of a mischievous Goblin. Guest stars from the previous season such as Emilia Fox (The Pianist, Ballet Shoes) who plays Morgause, and Santiago Cabrera (Heroes, Che), who plays Launcelot, will also be returning.
Legendary actor John Hurt once again provides the Voice of the Great Dragon.
Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in 98 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)
FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) holds the exclusive distribution, home entertainment and licensing rights to The Adventures of Merlin. FME has sold the series to over 52 broadcasters in more than 183 countries including Network Ten in Australia, MICO in Japan and RTL in Germany. FME has also secured licensing deals to produce numerous multi-territory Merlin branded products including a publishing range, figurines and an iphone application. FME has invested in the Merlin series alongside UK broadcaster BBC One. The show is produced and created by Shine TV. A fourth series has been commissioned by the BBC.