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prion
August 18th, 2005, 03:47 AM
The Futon Critic

http://www.thefutoncritic.com/cgi/newswire.cgi?id=6964 reports

It all begins on Friday, September 16 at 8:00/7:00c with the two-hour summer finale to "Stargate SG-1's" ninth season ("Prototype"/"The Fourth Horseman, Part 1"). The following week on September 23 at 8:00/7:00c look for spin-off "Stargate Atlantis's" two-hour summer swan song to its second season ("Aurora"/"The Lost Boys"). And that same night, "Battlestar Galactica" closes the first half of its sophomore season at 10:00/9:00c ("Pegasus").

Look for all three series to return in January for the latter half of their respective 20-episode seasons.

.....so, two eps of SG1 one week, two of SGA the next.

Qasim
August 18th, 2005, 04:57 AM
I think its a great idea :)

MediaSavant
August 18th, 2005, 08:41 AM
This is definitely related to CBS's scheduling of their new scifi series "Threshold" on September 16th. It's normal time period is 9PM, but I think they are doing 2-hours from 9 to 11 on the 16th and moving to their regular slot on the 23rd.

I think SciFi feels that if they can schedule finales on both weeks, they may be more competitive.

Albion
August 18th, 2005, 08:51 AM
Was just reading on the main page about Sci-Fi changing it's schedule to double up it's final SGA and SG1 episodes before the hiatus. BSG remains the same, with just one episode as normal, rather than two, back to back.

So...what does this mean? If anything? Does it denote a lack of confidence in SG1 and SGA from Sci-Fi? Are they getting bored with them? Worried about viewer nos. and trying to bump them up?

Or does it signify nothing much at all?

I know zip about the inner mysteries of US TV networks <g>, so I'm curious as to what was likely to have prompted this shift. If anyone out there knows.

Albion :)

Qasim
August 18th, 2005, 08:55 AM
Its better this way because you can watch the whole ep so no waiting - I think fan pressure made them change their mind

prion
August 18th, 2005, 08:55 AM
There's a thread down at

http://forum.gateworld.net/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=15932

on this topic, with MediaSAvant's advice :)

Albion
August 18th, 2005, 09:26 AM
Yes, thanks, Prion - I'd just spotted it myself. I rarely venture that far down the forum :p so I keep having to get my head around the fact that there's actually a folder on the forum that contains all the stories I read on the site's main page. :rolleyes: I'll get there eventually. :D

Interesting.

Albion :)

Lida
August 18th, 2005, 09:41 AM
Hmmm, that kinda makes the term "cliffhanger" moot, doesn't it? I like the suspense of waiting.....I'm wondering why they decided to do it this way.

FoolishPleasure
August 18th, 2005, 09:47 AM
I think SciFi feels that if they can schedule finales on both weeks, they may be more competitive.
I don't think SciFi needs to be worried about "Threshold". I've read some online reviews and none of them have been good. In fact, the show has been called, "half-baked" and plain ole, "bad".

golfbooy
August 18th, 2005, 09:54 AM
Sorry, but I'm having a hard time seeing this as anything other than Scifi trying to protect Atlantis from any sort of competition. My own purely wild speculation is that Threshold doesn't stand much of a chance beyond the first few episodes. Certainly the two hour premier is bound to bring the show its highest ratings.

Perhaps if either Atlantis' or SG-1's ninth episodes had anything remotely resembling major story tie-ins with their respective summer finales I'd be able to see the switch as something more than a defensive move. But that doesn't appear to be the case with either show. No, this is Scifi once again offering SG-1 up as the sacrificial lamb so that Atlantis can be spared. I like both shows. Atlantis is now mature enough and capable enough of a show that it should be able to stand on its own merits. At the very least, it should be given the opportunity to do so. Stunt scheduling like this is unneccesary and doesn't really help either show in the long run. It just pisses me off to see SG-1 get shafted like this again.

I understand where Scifi is coming from. SG-1 has proven itself to have the most stable, reliable fan base of the Sci-fi Friday shows this season. It has seen the smallest ratings decrease this year, while enduring drastic cast and story changes. Galactica's first season ratings have suffered a precipitous drop off, and Atlantis' ratings have seen movement both ways, making it unpredictable. Odds are that SG-1's ratings will fluctuate or suffer the least from the new competition. And, Scifi can now (misleadingly) plug two-hour summer finales to compete with CBS' advertising of Threshold.

Still, the move seems disrespectful to both SG-1 and Atlantis to me. It shoves SG-1 into the role of network work-horse, standing in front of any bullets being fired at Scifi's Friday night dominance. And it implies that Atlantis isn't strong enough to withstand competition. Surely, if Scifi WANTED a nine week summer season, then they would have stuck with the two-hour season premiers which have always garnered tremendous ratings in the past. It's just more poor planning and decision making all-around at Scifi again, only this time they've got more shows to screw up with. Of course, Tripping the Rift is safe, which is what's really important, right?

Hyperspace
August 18th, 2005, 09:56 AM
So the mid-season finale is a cliffhanger for both shows, right? So the 2nd hour of these showings is pt 1 of 2...or are parts 1 and 2 of 3 being shown?

golfbooy
August 18th, 2005, 09:59 AM
Originally Posted by FoolishPleasure:
I don't think SciFi needs to be worried about "Threshold". I've read some online reviews and none of them have been good. In fact, the show has been called, "half-baked" and plain ole, "bad".
True, but they're still clearly worried that the show's premiere will effect their first-run Sci-Fi Friday ratings. And while Threshold's ratings may dwindle as the show progresses into the winter, the first few weeks, which are those that line up with Scifi's line up, are going to be the show's highest rated. Unless, of course, it turns out to be a breakout hit. Then Scifi will really be in trouble.

TyrionLannister
August 18th, 2005, 10:06 AM
Folks, its still a cliffhanger. Episode 9 and 10 will run together and episode 11 will run after the break. It is Episodes 10 that has the cliffhanger that will be resolved with Episode 11.

For SGI we will get Prototype and Four Hoursemen Pt 1 before the break, establishing a cliffhanger, and get Four Horsemen Part 2 after break, resolving the cliffhanger.

The same goes for Atlantis, get Auroa and Lost Boys (which is basiclly a part one) and The Hive (basiclly part two) after break to resolve the cliffhanger.

Avatar28
August 18th, 2005, 10:31 AM
Hey, I really rather happen to LIKE Tripping The Rift. And it's on Friday anyways, so why even bring it up. If you don't like it then just don't watch it. It's as simple as that.

Darth Buddha
August 18th, 2005, 10:41 AM
I think SciFi feels that if they can schedule finales on both weeks, they may be more competitive.I don't think SciFi needs to be worried about "Threshold". I've read some online reviews and none of them have been good. In fact, the show has been called, "half-baked" and plain ole, "bad".
Not everybody reads such reviews, and might therefore end up investing an episode or two before bailing. Network dramas usually have bigger budgets and supposedly higher burden to meet in terms of quality... so even I will tape the damned thing to reach my own conclusions.

However, if you've got the links to said reviews, FoolishPleasure, I'd be appreciative. A few reviews, especially if it is a well detailed and rational pan, and/or from a reviewer I've come to trust, are always welcome.

rosewood
August 18th, 2005, 10:56 AM
Is this the new network show that features Brent Spiner (Data from ST:TNG)? I think seeing him in a preview will attract alot of people to check out that premiere just to see him (imho of course.)

illuminarok
August 18th, 2005, 11:44 AM
It is of my opinion that this is just being done to test each show's true ratings. Theoretically if SG1 gets a 2.1 SGA gets a 1.9 and BSG gets a 1.9 on average normally then coupling 2 episodes on one night should yield the same ratings over a 2 hour time period. 2.1 SG1 at 8pm EST 2.1 SG1 at 9pm EST, the next week 1.9-2.0 SGA at 8pm EST 1.9-2.0 SGA at 9pm EST. It's a way to test it, and also to prevent people from experimenting with other shows. Enticing people to be more interested with SG1 and SGA when this Threshold premiers. It starts at 9pm right? Well SG1 and SGA start at 8pm, and when they go off instead of changing to watch Threshold they will see the advertisements durring SG1 and SGA that say, "Stay tuned for an additional episode of Stargate SG1/Stargate Atlantis" which will keep them glued to the SciFi channel instead of changing over to CBS or whatever. Just my 2

FoolishPleasure
August 18th, 2005, 11:44 AM
However, if you've got the links to said reviews, FoolishPleasure, I'd be appreciative. A few reviews, especially if it is a well detailed and rational pan, and/or from a reviewer I've come to trust, are always welcome.

CBS only sent out a "preview" - not even an entire episode, for reviewers - some of whom have decided to "wait and see" before writing reviews.

http://syfyportal.com/article.php?id=1970

http://www.thefutoncritic.com/cgi/rant.cgi?id=20050804

http://trekweb.com/stories.php?aid=42e63e13e8238

They seem to like Spiner though. ;)

Darren
August 18th, 2005, 02:31 PM
If SCI FI doesn't want to compete with network shows, you'd think they would start the season a week or two earlier rather than allowing an overlap in September. That is the whole goal of counter-programming your original programming to air in the summertime, is it not?

NowIWillDestroyAbydos
August 18th, 2005, 03:52 PM
I think its a great idea :)
I also agree

golfbooy
August 18th, 2005, 04:25 PM
Originally Posted by Darren:
If SCI FI doesn't want to compete with network shows, you'd think they would start the season a week or two earlier rather than allowing an overlap in September. That is the whole goal of counter-programming your original programming to air in the summertime, is it not?
Excellent point. Stargate has grown as a franchise over the last few years in spite of Scifi's continually non-sensical approach to programming and decision making. So far this year they seem to have done everything possible to minimize their own ratings. And it's worked.

the fifth man
August 18th, 2005, 08:00 PM
Personally, I will love seeing a two-hour block of each show. It will be an interesting change of pace.

MediaSavant
August 19th, 2005, 05:46 AM
It's just more poor planning and decision making all-around at Scifi again, only this time they've got more shows to screw up with.

I disagree with most of what you said, but I particulary disagree with this. It was CBS that changed their schedule. They only announced a few weeks ago that they were starting Threshold a week ahead of their official premiere week. No one knew they would do that. It appears that as soon as the schedulers at SciFi heard the news, they started thinking of competitive ideas. Frankly, I think they came up with a good one.

Also, CBS and all the other networks didn't announce their Fall schedules until mid-May. No one knew there would be so much science fiction would be on those schedules and no one knew that any of those SciFi shows would be put on Friday night.

If I'm not mistaken, the SciFi debut date of July 15th was already set by mid May. (correct me if I'm wrong)

Stargate competed with network shows during last winter. It's only when they compete with shows in the same genre that are likely to have more promotional muscle behind them that it becomes a concern.

Even if the ratings go down a bit, the network is going to know the reason is competition and not be blamed on the show. Having the show blamed for any ratings drop should be your only concern and this move implies that the programmers are VERY aware of the competition factor.

MediaSavant
August 19th, 2005, 05:52 AM
CBS only sent out a "preview" - not even an entire episode, for reviewers - some of whom have decided to "wait and see" before writing reviews.

I saw the full pilot from another source. I rated it a "C", I believe. The best thing in it was an actor named Peter Dinklage, who I've liked since the "Station Agent".

However, the reviews don't matter. It's how many people tune in out of curiosity.

If you are curious about how the promos look, you can find one at:

http://www.cbs.com/primetime/fall_preview_2005/

LaCroix
August 19th, 2005, 06:24 AM
I did a little homework on Threshold and this is what I found out. Along with Brent Spiner they have:

Brannon Braga, a well-seasoned writer for STNG, the NG movies and also worked on M.I. II.

David S. Goyer, who wrote the Threshold pilot, but also has worked on Blade I
and II. Also he is working on Batman Begins.

David Heyman is the Excutive Producer, but also produced the Harry Potter movies.

I'd dare say that Scifi is very worried with losing more viewers to this, considering that the above mentioned people have worked on the big screen
and the little screen.

If you take a look at S8 first 5 episode ratings and S9 first five episodes average S8 had a 2.24, S9 has a 2.04 share, a loss of .20. So is SciFi worried? I think so.

KatG
August 19th, 2005, 07:03 AM
If SCI FI doesn't want to compete with network shows, you'd think they would start the season a week or two earlier rather than allowing an overlap in September. That is the whole goal of counter-programming your original programming to air in the summertime, is it not?


One would think so.

AFAIK, this is the first time the SciFi channel started the new season this late. Seems like we usually get it near the middle to end of June. If they'd done that, there would have been no conflict whatsoever.

prion
August 19th, 2005, 08:30 AM
For those interested in how networks change their schedules, read today's Wall Street Journal, left column, front page, on how Fox moves its shows around so much viewers have no idea where things are anymore...

golfbooy
August 19th, 2005, 09:26 AM
Originally Posted by MediaSavant:
Even if the ratings go down a bit, the network is going to know the reason is competition and not be blamed on the show. Having the show blamed for any ratings drop should be your only concern and this move implies that the programmers are VERY aware of the competition factor.
I never implied that the show would be blamed for lower ratings. What I did imply was that Scifi doesn't appear to have enough faith in its "powerhouse" Scifi Friday lineup to withstand any competition from another show in the same genre. And if Scifi was really concerned about losing viewers, then why keep its shows in direct competition at all? As Darren posted above, if the whole point of counter-programming is to avoid situations just like this, why not start the season early enough to avoid fall premieres all together? It was simply a bad decision to begin the new seasons on July 15, regardless of when the decision was made. Networks have been premiering new shows and new seasons of returning shows in September for years, have they not? Scifi moving its schedule around now is just an attempt to minimize the effects of a bad programming decision to start the shows too late in the summer to avoid direct network competition.

The point I was trying to convey above was that changing the lineups for SG-1 and Atlantis is more of a gauge as to how Scifi views those shows, rather than how it feels Threshold will effect them. Obviously, it believes SG-1 will perform better against Threshold's premiere than Atlantis. Or, it cares less about a ratings drop for SG-1 than it would about a ratings drop for Atlantis.

There's no way to be certain of this, but CBS' move of Threshold to a week earlier seems to indicate a lack of faith in that show's ability to perform amidst other network premieres or, as would have been the case, Scifi's original finale night. As things stood before Scifi's move, Threshold wouldn't have had to compete with any of the Scifi series finales. But now, with the change in Scifi's schedule, that's no longer the case. So, despite scheduling changes on the part of both channels, one show's premiere is still up against another show's finale. Had Scifi done nothing, it would have had an entire night of Scifi Friday finales with which to pull viewers.

And to be clear, I'm not saying that either show will be effected greatly by any scheduling changes or new competiton. I'm just saying that Scifi's change of schedule seems to be counterproductive.

MediaSavant
August 19th, 2005, 10:37 AM
I never implied that the show would be blamed for lower ratings. What I did imply was that Scifi doesn't appear to have enough faith in its "powerhouse" Scifi Friday lineup to withstand any competition from another show in the same genre.

I think the programmers are just doing what they get paid to do--try to give their shows every tactical advantage possible.

Instead of having one night with "finales". Now they have two. It's pretty smart. CBS's move may have inspired it, but it isn't a bad idea on its own.

As for when they debuted the shows, there may be reasons for running them into September that we may not be privy to--advertising sales, for instance. The sales guys may have said, "Look, we need more ratings in September because we're missing out on a time when many advertisers start new campaigns." You can't say "it's a bad decision" unless you are aware of all the factors that played into it.

I doubt you even considered how advertising sales might be an influence on scheduling decisions.

Even if they lose a few tenths because of it, it's still higher than the ratings they get with repeats.

What ratings did SG-1 and Atlantis get when they ran into September last year? I know SG-1 did a 1.7 on 9/10, but I don't know 9/17? Had those been reruns, though, the ratings would've been even lower.

Darren
August 19th, 2005, 10:54 AM
The simple fact that it won't have a new genre show up against it means that the SG-1 season finale should do a bit better than it would. Unfortunately, that means Atlantis has to take whatever hit that represents the following week.

SG-1 did a 1.7 and 1.8, respectively, on 9/10 and 9/17 last year ("Sacrifices" and "Endgame"), in the 9 p.m. timeslot. Atlantis did a 1.7 ("Home") and a 1.9 ("The Storm") at 10 p.m.

golfbooy
August 19th, 2005, 11:53 AM
Originally Posted by MediaSavant:
As for when they debuted the shows, there may be reasons for running them into September that we may not be privy to--advertising sales, for instance. The sales guys may have said, "Look, we need more ratings in September because we're missing out on a time when many advertisers start new campaigns." You can't say "it's a bad decision" unless you are aware of all the factors that played into it.
Sure, that's great reasoning if that is the case. Advertising sales could very well be a mitigating factor. But I don't know that for a fact, and I'm pretty sure you don't either. My opinion that "it's a bad decision" is based on the information I have, just as your opinion that it's a good decision is based on the information you have. If you know something about the situation that I don't, then please, share.

And, supposing you're shot in the dark has hit upon Scifi's mitigating criteria, I don't see how they could command MORE advertising dollars for weeks that are, according your own numbers, lower rated than those earlier in the summer. Add to that the increased ratings on networks during the fall and advertisers' inherent desire to capitalize on the greater viewership, and the idea that greater ad revenues could be made on Scifi in September doesn't hold water. I could be wrong, but it seems to fly in the face of logical reasoning. If you're point was that Scifi as a network perhaps needs the revenue more in September than they do in the summer, well, again you could be right. Or not. Unless, you've read NBC/Universal's or (I think) Viacom's consolidated balance sheets, which I haven't either, then I don't think either of us can know for sure.

I doubt you even considered how advertising sales might be an influence on scheduling decisions. I'm not going to make up various mitigating circumstances or could-be scenarios to defend my point of view. I'm perfectly willing to concede that there may be and probably are other outside factors that go into Scifi's planned schedule. But, from the information that I know to be true, my opinion stands.

Even if they lose a few tenths because of it, it's still higher than the ratings they get with repeats.

What ratings did SG-1 and Atlantis get when they ran into September last year? I know SG-1 did a 1.7 on 9/10, but I don't know 9/17? Had those been reruns, though, the ratings would've been even lower.I don't really get what your point here is. If you're saying that new episodes will do better than reruns, I agree. I think that's a given. I think the point you're trying to make is SG-1's ratings for September of 2004 were below the show's average, but they were still well above the 1.1 or 1.2 that a rerun would have recieved. Is that right?

If that's the case, and in general ratings in September are low, then wouldn't starting the season earlier in the summer make sense, so as to try to keep the ratings high before the September drop off? I mean, there's no guarantee that ratings earlier in the summer would be any better than ratings in September, but if your information is correct, then we know that ratings in September aren't great. Wouldn't it make sense to bump the premier back a couple of weeks, take a break for the Fourth of July if necessary, and see what happens?

golfbooy
August 19th, 2005, 11:55 AM
Originally Posted by Darren:
The simple fact that it won't have a new genre show up against it means that the SG-1 season finale should do a bit better than it would.
Wait, wait, wait. Am I confused? Isn't SG-1 scheduled opposite the premiere of Threshold? Threshold is scheduled to run on September 16, from 9pm to 11pm. SG-1's Prototype is scheduled to run at 8pm and The Fourth Horseman Part I is scheduled to run at 9pm on the same night. Thus, the season finale episode (Fourth Horseman) runs directly opposite a new genre show, and its premiere to boot. If what you're saying is that SG-1's two hour block starts at 8pm while Threshold starts at 9pm, and that there shouldn't be much of a decline in viewers if they tune in at 8pm to begin with, then I agree with you.

Unfortunately, that means Atlantis has to take whatever hit that represents the following week.
I agree it's unfortunate, and I still say that Scifi is hurting itself. Now both Atlantis' and SG-1's season finale episodes have to run against a new genre show. How this could be viewed as effective programming escapes me.

gatestuff
August 19th, 2005, 01:24 PM
Wait, wait, wait. Am I confused? Isn't SG-1 scheduled opposite the premiere of Threshold? Threshold is scheduled to run on September 16, from 9pm to 11pm. SG-1's Prototype is scheduled to run at 8pm and The Fourth Horseman Part I is scheduled to run at 9pm on the same night. Thus, the season finale episode (Fourth Horseman) runs directly opposite a new genre show, and its premiere to boot. If what you're saying is that SG-1's two hour block starts at 8pm while Threshold starts at 9pm, and that there shouldn't be much of a decline in viewers if they tune in at 8pm to begin with, then I agree with you.

I agree it's unfortunate, and I still say that Scifi is hurting itself. Now both Atlantis' and SG-1's season finale episodes have to run against a new genre show. How this could be viewed as effective programming escapes me.
There is some evidence to support the idea that season finales get higher ratings in general, isn't there? That puts stronger episodes, at least in terms of ratings potential, against the CBS series. Plus, if you're already watching a show on a given night, such as the 8:00 episodes, would you be less likely to channel surf if the same show come on after it, namely the 9:00 episodes.

GateTraveler
August 19th, 2005, 01:39 PM
To me this seems like a good gamble on SciFi's part. It's pretty clear this is counter-programming and to be able to promote finales of their top two shows on consecutive weeks seems like their best shot at cutting into the competition. It may fail but it seems like sound reasoning to me. It might also bring in some new viewers as "event" television usually does. We'll see. Regardless, I don't see how anyone could view this as showing favoritism of one show over another.

Gargen
August 19th, 2005, 01:47 PM
i think its a great idea personally

MediaSavant
August 19th, 2005, 02:26 PM
SG-1 did a 1.7 and 1.8, respectively, on 9/10 and 9/17 last year ("Sacrifices" and "Endgame"), in the 9 p.m. timeslot. Atlantis did a 1.7 ("Home") and a 1.9 ("The Storm") at 10 p.m.

Those aren't bad at all given some of the mid-August shows running against reruns did the same thing.

MediaSavant
August 19th, 2005, 03:05 PM
Sure, that's great reasoning if that is the case. Advertising sales could very well be a mitigating factor. But I don't know that for a fact, and I'm pretty sure you don't either. My opinion that "it's a bad decision" is based on the information I have, just as your opinion that it's a good decision is based on the information you have. If you know something about the situation that I don't, then please, share.

I've been studying TV scheduling since I was 16. That was 32 years ago. I've worked in the advertising industry. I've studied SciFi's scheduling and their ratings since Farscape debuted.

Fact: September is a better month for advertising.
Fact: Scheduling their shows earlier in the summer is a "been there/done that". They used to do it, so they know what happens when they do it.
Fact: It's a longterm trend that SciFi's scheduling has gotten bolder and less risk-averse. They once used to run repeats during February sweeps and they now run straight through. They tried it once a few years ago and it didn't hurt them, so they don't avoid February anymore.

I see the shift later in the Summer as being highly purposeful on their part.

As you said, neither one of us will see those balance sheets.

BTW, the Wall Street Journal has a terrific article about scheduling strategies. Here's a link to the text, if you are interested.

http://www.watchfarscape.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35038

golfbooy
August 19th, 2005, 06:51 PM
Originally Posted by MediaSavant:
I've been studying TV scheduling since I was 16. That was 32 years ago. I've worked in the advertising industry. I've studied SciFi's scheduling and their ratings since Farscape debuted.We seem to have gotten a little off topic here. This isn't about you. Your inability to win me over to your opinion is not a personal attack against you as a person. Whether or not you are an "expert" isn't very relevant to the discussion. To be frank, the internet isn't the place to try to convince someone of your credentials. And I'm always skeptical to believe facts not supported by evidence. No, that is not a challenge. I have no desire to read or analyze enough data to draw such conclusions.

And honestly, I appreciate the discourse that we've been having. It's been my experience, albeit a rather limited experience, that a discussion of any substance being sustained for any length of time on such a forum is rare. We're obviously not going to agree on this one. Let's try to avoid any sense of insult, feigned or otherwise, and just move on. Besides, the issue is academic at best. Scifi has already done what it's going to do, no doubt believing that it's doing what's best for Scifi.


As you said, neither one of us will see those balance sheets.
Actually, if you're as interested in Scifi's decision making, ratings, and the financial data behind them as you appear to be, then you can get those balance sheets. There are a number of companies that provide access to that data, for a price. Just about any college or university is bound to have a subscription to Moody's or the like if you don't want cough up the cash. Or you could buy the stock.