Wednesday, January 21, 2009

413 Ratings

NBCU has released a cheerful press release on the Friday ratings for ep 413. As they should do. Bottom line: a bit better than 4.0 and very popular amongst men who hang at home on Fridays.

Meanwhile, in the Cranky Fan Department, THR Feed's James Hibberd has hit the nail more squarely on the head, for those of us who actually watch the show on air…

The first episode of the final batch of "Battlestar" episodes (2.1 million viewers, 1.3 million adults 18-49) matched the Season 4 premiere in viewers and was down just slightly in the adult demo.

The network is fortunate that's all it lost. Sci Fi has engaged in a momentum-crushing, yet budget-friendly, release schedule for this relatively pricey series. In an era when serialized shows have proven time and time again to benefit from as few breaks as possible, Sci Fi went the other direction for its final round of "Battlestar," splitting 20 episodes into a two-part season airing about a year apart (meaning the network also has to market the show twice).

After DVD sales are factored (look, it's "Battlestar" Season "4.0" ... then "4.5"), it probably all makes sense on paper. But fans get so annoyed by the network's strategy, you have to wonder if it costs Sci Fi in unfactorable ways.

5 comments:

Adam Whitehead said...

I hadn't thought of this before. Having to market the same season twice doesn't really make sense, and even with post-production schedules I don't see why they couldn't have started showing the episodes in September or October 2008 at the latest.

At the same time, the Sci-Fi Channel did go all-out with the marketing and promos for the new season in a very impressive manner showing their faith in these last ten episodes, and that is certainly to be applauded.

gcg2004 said...

Don't we need to keep in mind that the writer's strike was going on at the time? The writers had only gotten up to last week's episode before the strike shut them down (If I understand things correctly), so they had to write more before filming and post production could be finished.

muldfeld said...

It is worth adding that Ron Moore and his writers used the time well to recraft the last half season so that it was better. The writers' strike may have allowed that, but the looser TV schedule allowed that, too.

That and the fact that the writing has been far too rushed and has barely given enough attention to Head Six, Tom Zarek and essentially avoided the amazing Doral or even developing Simon, I don't think I'm alone in wishing Sci Fi had just given the show a 5th season, so things wouldn't end this way. It's hear-breaking to watch a once very textured show with consistently amazing dialogue rush through plot points and not have enough time to fully develop stories, such as a stronger sense of the cylon civil war. Why exactly Boomer was attracted to Cavil; what has been her thinking all these years.

There's so much left to tell, so many new themes to explore and so much political insight in which to engage. I'm going to be so sad seeing this show go.

The real fault for the show ending so early are the fans who had Nielsen boxes but insisted on DVRing or recording the show. The show's ratings shouldn't be this low, and we're losing a vital part of our culture because of their selfishness.

I can't wait for Ron Moore's first penned episode in over 2 years!

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