With actor contracts set to expire by November, Syfy has moved the mid-season premiere of “Caprica” to the beginning of October.
The “Battlestar Galactica” spinoff — which stars Eric Stoltz, Paula Malcomson, Esai Morales and Polly Walker — will premiere Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. ET, moving to Tuesday nights following “Stargate: Universe.”
“Though we initially announced the January return of ‘Caprica,’ we still had hopes of finding a way to get the series back on the air sooner,” said Mark Stern, Syfy’s executive vice president of original programming, in a release. “We’ve been able to successfully rework our schedule, and are thrilled to bring the show back during what is traditionally Syfy’s most-watched time of the year. The outcome should also please fans who expressed their wishes for a shorter mid-season hiatus.”
However, there is more to the move than simply finding room on the schedule. Contract options for many of the key actors are set to expire in November after Syfy exercised an extension from August, giving the cable channel until then to decide whether or not to order a second season for the series. “Caprica” received some strong praise from various critics, however, it didn’t score the kind of audiences in the first 10 episodes the cable channel had hoped for.
With the decision to air the remaining episodes in 2011, Syfy effectively was forcing itself to decide the fate of the show based solely on first-half numbers and any DVD sales. The first 10-episode DVD set is scheduled to hit store shelves Oct. 5, the same day now that the second half of “Caprica” is set to premiere on Syfy.
The schedule move gives Syfy a chance to see if a large enough audience has warmed to the show, sources tell Airlock Alpha. No one would give numbers, but audiences likely would have to boost by at least 15 percent from the first half average in order to push “Caprica” into the renewed column, according to those familiar with the cable channel’s decision process.
Tuesday has traditionally been a strong night for Syfy, with its top two scripted programs — “Warehouse 13” and “Eureka” — airing on that night. The cable channel decided to shift its remaining Friday programming like “Haven,” “Stargate: Universe” and “Caprica” to Tuesdays in the fall after moving its professional wrestling programming to Fridays.
“Caprica” will have some stiff competition Tuesday nights from the television networks, however. CBS airs “The Good Wife,” which some say pulls from a similar female-centric audience “Caprica” does in the same timeslot. Last year, “The Good Wife” was one of the top freshman shows of the season, earning an average overnight audience of an 8.5 rating/15 share, allowing it to finish in the top 10 television franchises, just ahead of “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC as well as “Big Bang Theory” and “Criminal Minds” on CBS.
The highest-rated genre show last year was “Lost” on ABC, which averaged a 6.6/11 in overnights, good for 21st place overall.
“Caprica” also will be up against “Detroit 1-8-7,” a new crime drama on ABC starring Michael Imperioli from “The Sopranos” and “Life on Mars.” NBC will air “Parenthood,” which last year averaged a 4.2/7 in overnights, tying it for 60th place with “Sing-Off” and the now-cancelled “Mercy.”
Syfy, however, is apparently hoping that “The Good Wife’s” audience will cool a bit from its first season — typical of hot shows entering their sophomore seasons — and instead will be drawn to see action pick up a bit on “Caprica.”
The new episodes will take viewers not just through more alleyways of the virtual world, but also to the outer worlds of the Twelve Colonies, according to a release from Syfy.
“Along the way, revolutionary tensions rise, family power shifts and our characters grapple with the physical and emotional consequences of their questionable decisions,” the release said. “As the season races towards its stunning conclusion, each episode lays the groundwork for the inevitable (and brutal) clash between the new Cylon race and its human creators.”
With the “Caprica” move, “Sanctuary’s” premiere has been pushed back to Oct. 15, where it will air in its former timeslot at 10 p.m. ET, this time following wrestling. It is expected to remain wrestling’s lead-out for the rest of its third season.
Stoltz and Malcomson play Daniel and Amanda Graystone, the family responsible for the creation of the Cylons. Morales is Joseph Adama, a Tauron who relocates to Caprica to help defend members of the Tauron mafia, including his brother Sam, played by Sasha Roiz.
“Caprica” also stars Alessandra Torresani and Magda Apanowicz.
Roiz and Torresani talk with Airlock Alpha about the possible return of “Caprica” for a second season during San Diego Comic-Con in July in this video, although fans would later learn that they’d have to wait longer for a final decision.
A sneak peek of what’s to come at both “Caprica” and SGU can be found right here.
Also, get up on what you may have missed on ‘Caprica’ by clicking here.