Syfy Analysis

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Syfy programs its line-up differently every night of the week, with no strips or similar fare to carry viewers across the week. The schedule is well-rounded – unlike other nets, Syfy does not rely too heavily upon a single program to boost the numbers. Syfy has the resources to use the volume approach to finding the next new hit, pushing a lot of programming through the line-up to see what resonates with audiences.

Most nights have seen dramatic change in the past year, but the schedule has begun to settle down. There is still room on the schedule for more original programming, particularly Thursday and Sunday nights.

Mondays are now a marquee night, with original series headlining nearly all seasons. Tuesdays were the night under construction for the past year, and the night seems to have found its footing with paranormal and competition programming. On Wednesdays the once powerful GHOST HUNTERS franchise is fading and newer reality programs are moving in. WWE SMACKDOWN continues to revitalize Friday nights, bringing a lot of male viewers to the net and a solid male lead-in for original series at 10PM.

In addition to acquiring ready-made series, Syfy has been giving its own series quick renewal orders and short production cycles, allowing popular programs to make a quick return to the schedule. This helps keep viewers in the habit of tuning to Syfy.


Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2013 vs. January 2012  (% Change)




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Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

January 2013: Syfy eased off its original programming in December, giving much of its line-up a holiday vacation. Movies filled a good part of the schedule and there were a limited number of series on the air. But the break was short-lived, and halfway through January programs were back in place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Audiences tuned back in, with six nights growing ratings (Sundays dropped) and the bottom line primetime average showing 20% or better gains vs. December. However, Syfy premiered new programming earlier in the month last January, and some programs are struggling this year. As a result, bottom-line ratings are down by about 10% vs. last 2012.

Following a long-held tradition, Syfy brought in the New Year with a TWILIGHT ZONE marathon. According to Syfy, the marathon brought in 1.1 million total viewers, with the best rated episode airing at 5PM, (The episode was "It's a Good Life," about a six-year-old boy possessing the power to change things with a thought inside his mind.) Our Nielsen SD numbers show a six percent primetime bump on household ratings vs. last year’s run. Older men were the biggest viewers of the classic program and their ratings improved by 15% over last year.

“Powerful Mondays” kicked off on January 17th. The night could also be called “Canadian Mondays,” as each of the three “original” programs, CONTINUUM, BEING HUMAN and LOST GIRL originated and/or were produced in Canada. In fact, many of Syfy’s recent series hail from our neighbors to the North -- BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, EUREKA, CAPRICA, SANCTUARY and STARGATE were shot in Vancouver. More recent Syfy productions like WAREHOUSE 13 and ALPHAS have been shot in Toronto, while HAVENhails from Nova Scotia.

But back to Syfy on Monday nights. Each of this month's one-hour series skews male, with men 25-54 pulling the highest ratings. BEING HUMAN draws the best numbers, and is the only program to outpace the primetime average. CONTINUUM had a weak debut, but it did gain viewers with its second outing, nearly doubling some demo deliveries. LOST GIRL showed strong improvement over last year. The Monday night line-up is under review -- it was announced in January that ALPHAS, a perennial show on Monday nights, was cancelled after two seasons.

Tuesdays thrived with new episodes of FACE OFF. Even with the encore telecast factored in, the competition program ranked best in men, women and adult 18-49 ratings, behind ratings behemoth WWE. The program showed growth on male demos vs. last year, while holding women. It also helped lead-out TOTAL BLACK OUT, as the game show more than doubled audience over last month’s performance.

The same cannot be said for GHOST HUNTERS. With new episodes this month the grand dame of paranormal programs is showing its age. It was down by a little more than 10% on core female demos vs. last month and down 16% vs. last year. Syfy moved the show out of its long-standing 9PM timeslot in February.

HAVEN’s finale was postponed from its slated December airdate due to content that was disturbingly reminiscent of the events in Newtown, Connecticut. The finale ran in mid-January in a different timeslot (Thursday at 8 and 9 instead of Friday at 10), and while it performed well below its Friday night average from December, it was the best-rated program on Thursday nights this January. The rest of Thursday was filled, as usual, with low-rated movies.

Led by WWE, Friday continues to tower above the rest of the week. Even with the 7% loss on men 18-49 ratings vs. last year, the franchise is in a different ratings league than the rest of the line-up. MERLIN (the acquired BBC series) receives the sizable audience lead-in this month, helping it to a third place ranking in the ratings (behind WWE and FACE OFF).

Saturday and Sunday movies had mixed results vs. last year and last month. Top rated titles, once again, were the Syfy originals. Tasmanian Devil and Abominable Snowman were the top performers of the month. The campy originals consistently deliver better ratings than A-list acquired theatricals.