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 upon a single stripped 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 (the net likes to call it the night of transitional 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, allowing popular programs to make a quick return to the schedule. This helps keep viewers in the habit of tuning to Syfy.
APRIL PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2013 vs. April 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
April 2013 marks another month with a lot of programming moves without a lot of bottom-line ratings movement. Syfy viewers watched the finales of STRANDED, BEING HUMAN, ROBOT COMBAT LEAGUE and LOST GIRL. They saw the launch of DEFIANCE, the season 4.5 return of WAREHOUSE 13 and the debut of new reality series DEEP SOUTH PARANORMAL. They did not see the promised spring return of GHOST HUNTERS, which was pushed back to June. And they did not move the ratings needle, which stayed at pretty much the same place it was in March. Compared to April 2013 ratings were off by 11% among adult demos.
Mondays were the only night to show growth vs. last year, with an impressive 45% improvement for male ratings (female ratings were stagnant). The night grew vs. last month as well, by even bigger numbers (up 70% for men and 25% for women). The driving force behind the growth was the much-promoted DEFIANCE, which, according to Syfy, was its most-watched scripted series premiere among adults 18-49 since Eureka in 2006. Audience levels dropped slightly in the second week, but the male-skewing show was still able to deliver the net’s second-best telecast, even topping WWE on men 18-49. BEING HUMAN also performed, drawing a strong female following this year and receiving a renewal immediately after its April 8th finale. LOST GIRL draws a female audience as well, although it benefited from the bigger male-skewing lead-in audience from DEFIANCE. And, LOST GIRL will be back next year.
The rest of the week did not look as strong this April. FACE OFF was missed on Tuesdays where it was replaced with lesser fare – movies and ROBOT COMBAT LEAGUE. Adult 18-49 ratings were off by about 60% vs. both last year and last month. ROBOT started strong last month, but continued to bleed audience as it lost its FACE OFF lead-in. Losing its WWE Friday night lead-out slot compounded the problem.
Paranormal Wednesdays were without GHOST HUNTERS again this month (despite the aforementioned promise of a return). HAUNTED COLLECTOR dominated the night with an encore at 8 and a new episode at 9. HAUNTED COLLECTOR gained some traction vs. last month, and Wednesdays hold their traditional lead with women 25-54 (second-best performance behind Fridays). COLLECTOR has been renewed for a new season. At 10PM DEEP SOUTH PARANORMAL, a reality show about paranormal myths and ghost hunting in the South, did not perform as well as STRANDED, the paranormal reality game show it replaced.
Thursdays were back to B-Movies this month, with the night delivering the second lowest ratings of the week. Red Planet was the best-rated title, but it failed to hit the primetime average.
WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN lost core male viewers vs. both last year and last month again this April. Despite the losses, the show continues to deliver Syfy’s strongest program average ratings by a wide margin. Lead-out programming was encores again, rather than premieres, and overall Friday nights lost 18% of men 25-54 vs. last year.
There has been talk of replacing some of the weekend movies with original programming, but this April Syfy was still all about movies. Once again, the Syfy Originals performed the best, trumping theatrical blockbusters as Syfy's Swamp Volcano trumped Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Syfy has announced its programming line-up for Memorial Day weekend and the summer of 2013. The network will continue to steadily roll out a large volume of new and original programming. The network tells us the programming they are looking for Its not about death, darkness or crimes. They are about shedding light and uncovering the unknown.