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Syfy Renews ‘Defiance,’ But ‘Warehouse 13’ Waits

Could this be the change of an era at cable channel?

“Defiance,” the bold (and very expensive) new series from Syfy, earned a second season Friday as expected. But it’s what Syfy has yet to renew that may be getting more attention.

“Warehouse 13,” which is in the middle of its fourth season, has yet to receive any news about its fate. Although showrunner Jack Kenny has told Airlock Alpha that he is breaking stories for a fifth season, nothing has come down from the powers that be on high that there will be more of the show when the fall or winter rolls around.

What might be even more telling is the lack of cheering over ratings that usually comes out of Syfy when a show is performing well. Although the cable channel announced to news outlets its version of the Nielsen ratings numbers for the first two episodes of “Defiance,” it has been completely mum on how “Warehouse 13” has done since its mid-season premiere.

There may be something to worry about. “Warehouse 13” picked up 1.5 million viewers in the adults 25-54 category for its April 30 premiere, well behind the 2.3 million earned by “Defiance” for the same night, according to TV By the Numbers. It got worse the following week when “Defiance” earned 2.15 million in the demographic, while “Warehouse 13” slipped to 1.28 million.

The good news is that this may be just enough to keep “Warehouse 13” around the 2 million total viewers per episode that earned it an expanded 20-episode season in January 2012.

If “Warehouse 13” does end, it would be the departure of the first new series launched under the rebranded Syfy name for the cable channel, and also the final series in the so-called “Eureka” trilogy that includes both “Eureka” (cancelled in 2012) and “Alphas” (cancelled in 2013).

“Defiance” is definitely a huge departure from that. Getting solid ratings a few years ago from grounded original series set in the present time like “Warehouse 13,” Syfy shied away from major futuristic dramas. But “Defiance” was something that had been in the works for many years, and would help launch the idea of simultaneously developing games and television episodes for fans.

Set a few decades in the future on the site of what was once St. Louis, a group of various aliens have to learn how to live with their human hosts in what has become the terraforming frontier. It includes a game developed by Trion Worlds that has had more than 1 million registered accounts, which also will carry forward into the second season.

Kevin Murphy, who made a name for himself originally as a showrunner and producer for the “Battlestar Galactica” spinoff series “Caprica,” will return in the same role next year. Also coming back are executive producers Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin, while Michael Taylor will serve as a consulting producer. For Taylor, this is more title than an actual job, since he departed the series last month.

Syfy made an odd move for “Warehouse 13” for the second half of Season 4, moving the family-friendly show to a not-so-family-friendly timeslot of 10 p.m. this year. What made the move more strange is that Syfy had its 8 p.m. Monday slot still open (“Defiance” airs at 9 p.m. ET), and many observers have noted that “Warehouse 13” earlier would be a much better lead-in to “Defiance” at 9, than the other way around that would push “Warehouse 13” to a time when many children who might watch the show are in bed.

Production for Season 2 of “Defiance” picks up in Toronto in August, with Syfy eyeing a possible spring 2014 premiere of a 13-episode season.

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