A few years ago, science-fiction was almost unheard of on network television.
Now there are more shows than most news outlets, including us, can keep up with. But there doesn’t seem to be enough audience to go down.
Of the seven genre shows that returned from the strike-shortened 2007-08 season, only one grew its audience last year. Overall, returning genre programs lost more than 28 percent of its audience, and the niche as a whole struggled as many shows just couldn’t find their footing.
The only program to actually see a jump in ratings this year was “Supernatural” on The CW, growing 10.5 percent in average overnight ratings from a 1.9 rating/3 share in 2007-08 to a 2.1/3 last season. Its companion show, “Smallville,” dropped nearly 8 percent from a 2.6/4 to a 2.4/4. Both “Supernatural” and “Smallville” were renewed by The CW, but the network has already announced they will not be paired up next year.
The two shows with the biggest audience losses were two of the few from this year’s genre list that won’t be returning next year. “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” on Fox lost 48.2 percent of its viewers from a year ago while “Pushing Daisies” on ABC was down 44.4 percent.
“Heroes” on NBC also took a significant tumble, losing nearly 29 percent of its audience, while viewership for “Lost” on ABC was down 24.7 percent. “Chuck,” which NBC said was a bubble show toward the end of its second season, was actually down just 16.7 percent from the year before.
Overall, genre viewing on the networks dropped 18 percent from the previous year, going from a 4.9/8 overnight average in 2007-08 to a 4.0/7 this past season.
The now-cancelled “Reaper” on The CW was able to retain more of its audience than any other show, although with an average rating of 1.4/2, it would be hard not to. It kept 86.3 percent of its audience, according to analysis through the BlipNetwork’s Stability Index Rating where the show’s average rating is compared to its highest rating.
“Reaper” just edged out “Supernatural,” which was able to keep 86.2 percent of its audience throughout the season. “Lost” may not have kept viewers from the previous year, but those who turned out from the beginning of this past season stuck around, earning an SIR of 85.6.
ABC’s “Lost on Mars,” which ended up getting bumped around the schedule before it became a lead-out to “Lost” had the most unstable audience, only able to retain a little more than 59 percent of its audience.
For a complete breakdown of genre shows, check out our message boards by clicking here.