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‘Helix’ Has Uphill Climb To Build Audience

Premiere episode Friday attracted less than 2 million viewers


For Syfy, it’s the best Friday night they had in four years. But compared to everyone else — including some of Syfy’s past schedule — its highly hyped drama “Helix” struggled a bit to get the viewers the cable channel was likely expecting.

When the dust settled around the Arctic, the show from “Battlestar Galactica’s” Ronald D. Moore pulled in 1.8 million viewers, according to a release from Syfy, beaten Friday night only by “Bering Sea Gold” on Discovery. That show, which highlights gold mining at sea, drew 2.5 million viewers, according to TVByTheNumbers.

“Helix” also had a bit of a time competing with reruns of “Modern Family” on USA, which attracted 1.7 million viewers in the same time slot; it just slipped past “American Pickers” on History by a few thousand viewers.

It also appears “Helix” finished behind “Full House” on Nick at Nite, which had just less than 2 million viewers.

The biggest question mark surrounding the show, however, is how it stacked up against other popular Syfy shows — including some recent casualties. “Warehouse 13,” for example, averaged a little less than 1.5 million viewers in its most recent season, which ended last July.

The fourth season of “Haven” is averaging 1.5 million viewers as well. The first season of “Defiance,” however, pulled in a little more than 2 million viewers.

All of these shows had much larger premieres, and then settled in. If history holds true, that could be the same for “Helix,” meaning it could drop into the range of “Warehouse 13” and “Haven,” or even lower.

The hope is that viewers will discover “Helix” as the season wears on, which is also possible. Or that the numbers it settles into are more than enough for Syfy to keep it going.

If not, life in the Arctic might be a short one for “Helix.”

“Helix” airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.

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