The new fall TV season is just starting but this Sci-Fi TV update starts off with development news on a number of new shows, including the return of Wonder Woman. We also take a close look at how the season’s ratings are treating shows with who is up and who is down, plus tons of previews and more.
GENRE TV NEWS
Development news: The Munsters, Wonder Woman and more
Over the past week, four sci-fi/genre television projects were announced. First up, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor is bringing his 2007 sci-fi concept album to the small screen in the form of the HBO miniseries "Year Zero":
“We are in [the development phase of] pre-production with HBO and BBC [Worldwide Productions] to do a miniseries,” Reznor said Monday. “It’s exciting. I probably shouldn’t say too much about it except that I understand that there’s a thousand hurdles before anything shows up in your TV listing. It’s been an interesting and very educational process and it cleared the HBO hurdle a few months ago and now we’re writing drafts back and forth. So it’s very much alive and incubating at the moment.”
BBC Worldwide Projections will serve as a producer and the project will be written by Daniel Knauf ("Carnivàle"):
…[Knauf’s] busy with pages right now and revising the overall world Bible. It’s been an interesting collaborative effort but I’ve learned that [television development] moves at a glacial pace.”
Next up, The Ausiello Files is reporting that Bryan Fuller ("Pushing Daisies") is developing a remake of the hit TV series "The Munsters" for NBC. Described as "Modern Family meets True Blood", NBC has committed to a pilot. Guillermo del Toro is also attached in a behind the scenes role. Moving on over to Fox now, writer Brian K. Vaughn ("Lost") has teamed up with Sam Raimi ("Spider-Man") for a new series called "Smokers":
The high-concept drama, based on an original idea by Vaughan, is about a documentary crew following working class heroes who exterminate alien threats in deep space.
And last but not least, Warner Brothers has announced that they’ve reactivated development on "Wonder Woman", but as a TV series, not a movie. According to Deadline, the studio has tapped an ulikely name to write and produce the TV series: David E. Kelley ("Boston Legal", "Ally McBeal"):
Details on the reboot are being kept under wraps, and it is not clear if the new Wonder Woman aka Diana Prince will keep her signature powers and weapons, including her Lasso of Truth, her indestructible bracelets, her tiara and her invisible airplane.
Despite movement on the TV side, WB has not ruled out development of a movie based on the character.
Syfy renews Warehouse 13
Syfy has announced that their hit original series "Warehouse 13" has been renewed for a 13-episode third season to premiere in 2011. Ratings were solid this season — an average audience of 2.50M viewers and a 0.8 A18-49 rating — and the second season finale finished ahead of the first season finale by 10% in viewers and 14% in A18-49 rating. In their press release, Syfy notes that with DVR Live + 7-day data included (through 10 episodes), the show picked up nearly 1 million additional viewers (2.52M viewers through episode 10 with Live + SD vs. 3.43M viewers with Live + 7-day). Here’s an excerpt from the press release announcing the renewal:
In making the announcement, Mark Stern, Executive Vice President, Programming, Syfy, and Co-Head, Original Content, Universal Cable Productions, said: “Jack Kenny’s superlative leadership and the incredible talent of his cast and crew delivered an outstanding second season of Warehouse 13. We’re excited to see this successful series return next year, and to developing our next hit with Jack.”
Smallville and Supernatural have strong start to the new season
"Smallville" and "Supernatural" both had strong starts to their respective new seasons. "Smallville" drew 2.98 million viewers and a 1.3 A18-49 rating for its 10th season premiere on September 24. That was up 16% in viewers and 30% in A18-49 rating from the season nine premiere. "Supernatural", meanwhile, was down a bit from last year’s premiere, but considering the show switched to a new night, its season six premiere performance of 2.89M viewers and a 1.3 A18-49 rating — retention of 97 and 100%, respectively, from its lead-in — was equally solid. "Smallville" and "Supernatural" continue to air Friday night’s at 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. on The CW. Here are a few "Smallville"-related news bites.
- Episode 10×11 will be called "Icarus" [SpoilerTV]
- Series star Tom Welling will direct episode 10×09 – "Patriot", which involves "dolphins, explosions, Aquaman and Aquaman’s wife." [Matt Mitovich | Twitter]
- Dean Cain isn’t rulling out a return visit to "Smallville": "My character on Smallville, you know he’s immortal. So he wasn’t killed. So I could return. I don’t know, they haven’t contacted me yet." [On The Red Carpet]
- Kristin Kreak (Lana Lang) and Annette O’Toole (Martha Kent) are rumored to guest-star in the season 10 finale. [IMDB via SpoilerTV]
Promotional stills for episode 10×03 – "Supergirl" [more at OSCK]
Promotional stills for episode 10×04 – "Homecoming" [more at SpoilerTV]
Preview clip fro "Supergirl" [YouTube]
Set tour with Cassidy Freeman (Tess) [YouTube]
Interview with Allison Mack (Chloe) [via SpoilerTV]
Promotional stills for episode 6×04 – "Weekend at Bobby’s" [more at SpoilerTV]
Promo for episode 6×03 – "The Third Man" [YouTube]
Sneak peek at "The Third Man" [YouTube]
Poor starts for second season of Stargate Universe and Caprica season 1.5
So much for a new night bringing better ratings. The second season premiere of Syfy’s "Stargate Universe" sunk to a new series low of 1.175M viewers (off 20% from the season one finale). The previous low-mark for the series came during the penultimate episode of last season (1.178M / 0.4 A18-49 rating). Also, the season two premiere barely avoided tying a series low in A18-49 rating, drawing a 0.5. For some perspective, the premiere was down 50% in viewers and 44% in A18-49 rating from the much stronger series launch last fall (2.35M / 0.9 A18-49 rating).
In other news, executive producer Brad Wright explained why we still haven’t seen the planned ‘SG-1’ and ‘Atlantis’ direct-to-DVD movies:
"The only thing that is blocking the SG-1 movie or the Atlantis movie, the only thing, is the fact that the direct-to-DVD market has gone away. We were very fortunate with Ark of Truth and Continuum to be among the last very successful direct-to-DVD releases before it all stopped happening. The market has changed, and it’s still changing, and it’s not what it was. And, of course, there have been very big changes at MGM that kind of added to that."
Wright added, however, that there is a plan B: "We held on to a lot of stuff and were ready to go for a very long time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not gonna happen. We have a plan B, and I’ve been talking with MGM about it, and hopefully we’ll still get our chance."
Geting back to the ratings, week two of ‘SGU’ fell to yet another series-low in viewers (1.07M) last night, but was steady in A18-49 rating with a 0.5. The poor ratings news extended to the season 1.5 launch of "Caprica". Debuting on its new night, the show drew a series-low 889,000 viewers and a 0.4 A18-49 rating (tying a series-low). It’s the second time the show has fallen below 1M viewers. Compared to the season 1.0 finale, "Caprica" was down 19% in viewers and 20% in A18-49 rating. The season 1 average now stands at a dreadful 1.17M viewers and a 0.4 A18-49 rating.
Behind the scenes set images (including the first look at the "Destiny" bridge) [more at Collider]
Promotional still of the Cylons [EW]
The Event starts strong…then fizzles + Other ratings highlights
As reported in our last column, the new NBC series "The Event" had a promising start — even managing to grow its audience over the course of its pilot — but ratings for weeks 2 and 3 reveal that week 1 was just a fluke and it could very well be the end of the road for the series. Here’s the three week ratings track:
- "I Haven’t Told You Everything" – 10.88M viewers / 3.6 A18-49 rating
- "To Keep Us Safe" – 9.06M viewers (-17%) / 2.9 A18-49 rating (-19%)
- "Protect Them from the Truth" – 7.56M viewers (-17%) / 2.4 A18-49 rating (-17%)
Losing 31% of your audience over the course of just three weeks (33% in the demo) does not bode well for future success.
Meanwhile, ABC saw a solid start for the poorly reviewed supernatural-themed drama "No Ordinary Family", which launched with 10.69M viewers and a 3.2 A18-49 rating. The second episode aired last night and drew 8.99M viewers (-16%) and a 2.7 A18-49 rating (-16%). Time will tell if audiences stick around, or if it experiences an ‘Event’-sized audience tune out. You’ll find more of my ratings analysis at the bottom of this column.
Promo for "The Event", episode 1×04 – "A Matter of Life and Death" [YouTube]
Promo for "No Ordinary Family", episode 1×03 – "No Ordinary Ring" [YouTube]
Jane Badler’s role on new V will last longer than expected
Great news for fans of new and old "V" alike. Jane Badler, who was recently cast for the upcoming second season as Diana — the mother of Anna who has been held in captivity for over 15 years — will stay on board longer than originally anticipated:
What originally looked like it would be only a few episodes of V looks like it might be a very open-ended role for Badler, who was filming the season’s fourth episode, “Unholy Alliance,” at the time of this interview. “I’m suspecting I’m here for a while,” Badler says enthusiastically. And during that time, will she do anything that could out-gross Diana’s eating of a guinea pig in the original show? “Actually, tonight I’m doing something pretty gross,” Badler teases, holding back from revealing any details.
Badler also offered some new details about her role:
“She’s strong, definitely,” Badler says of this new “Diana.” “She would do things that might seem cold-blooded, but I think she’s probably more fair. I definitely think that [Diana has] a totally different take on things than [Anna]. There’s a lot of conflict between her way of thinking and mine.” Badler also believes that her character will bring out sides of Anna that we’ve never seen before. “Your mother always has a particular power over you,” she explains…Even though the name of the character is Diana, I think they always intended it as an homage to Diana, and not necessarily the same character.”
Season two of "V" is scheduled to launch this November on ABC.
Summer Glau latest big-name guest-star for Chuck
You can add another high-profile guest-star to this season of "Chuck". NBC has tapped Summer Glau ("The Cape", "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") for an upcoming episode, The Ausiello Files reports:
The Sarah Connor Chronicles siren and EW Sexiest Beast finalist has been tapped to play the Buy More’s rotating undercover agent in this season’s eighth episode, sources confirm to me exclusively.
On a disappointing note, none of the season four stunt casting has helped the show in the ratings. The most recent episode this past Monday drew a season-low 1.9 A18-49 rating and through three episodes, the season has averaged 5.52M viewers and a 2.0 A18-49 rating. That’s 10 and 9 percent, respectively, below the season three average (with a more pronounced drop when comparing the first three episodes of season four to the first three episodes of season three).
Fox casts female lead for Terra Nova
Fox has found their female lead for the upcoming prehistoric time-travel series "Terra Nova". British actress Shelley Conn will star opposite Jason O’Mara and Stephen Lang on the series. She’ll play Elizabeth Shannon, wife of O’Mara’s character Jim, who together with "their 3 kids – an ordinary family from 2149 who are transported back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth where they join Terra Nova, a colony of humans with a second chance to build a civilization."
PREVIEW Videos & Images
Promo for episode 4×04 – "Chuck vs. the Coup D’Etat" [YouTube]
Sneak peek at the Christmas special [BBC]
Promotional stills from episode 3×03 – "The Plateau" [more at SpoilerTV]
Promotional stills from episode 3×04 – "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" [SpoilerTV]
Sneak peek at "The Plateau" [YouTube]
Sneak peek at the season one finale, "Spiral" [Syfy]
No Ordinary Family
Promotional stills for episode 1×04 – "No Ordinary Vigilante" [KSiteTV]
Promotional stills from episode 3×01 – "Kali, Part 3" [more at Daemon’s TV]
Promotional stills from episode 3×02 – "Firewall" [more at Daemon’s TV]
Season three trailer [YouTube]
The Sarah Jane Adventures
Season four trailer [YouTube]
Watch more clips here
The Vampire Diaries
Promo for episode 2×05 – "Kill or Be Killed" [YouTube]
Sneak peek at "Kill or Be Killed" [YouTube]
- Fox has decided to shift "Human Target" back to its original Wednesday (8:00-9:00 p.m.) time slot. The show was originally scheduled to launch on Friday, October 1 but the second season will now premiere on Wednesday, November 17. [Fox]
- HBO’s "True Blood" was singled out by GLAAD as the most gay-friendly series on television. [THR]
- It may have received a ton of hype, but in the end, the Syfy original movie event "Sharktopus" didn’t garner any extraordinary audience. The two-hour Saturday night movie drew 2.5 million viewers on September 25. While that’s a solid number for a Syfy series, it falls well short of any record and didn’t even draw as many viewers as August’s "Lake Placid 3" (3.0M). [the live feed | THR]
- "No Ordinary Family" co-star Kay Panabaker considers the new ABC show to be "more grounded in reality" than other supernatural-themed shows: "The family doesn’t fight crime together, only Dad is trying to do that, she says. "The rest of us are trying to live our day-to-day lives and use the powers to make it a little bit better, a little bit sweeter." [TV Guide]
- Episode 1×07 of "No Ordinary Family" will be called "No Ordinary Mobster" and episode 1×08 will be called "No Ordinary Accident".[KSiteTV, (2)]
- …Meanwhile, episode 4×18 of "Fringe" will be called "Past Tense"… [SpoilerTV]
- …And episode 4×08 of "Chuck" will be called "Chuck vs. the Fear of Death". The episode will also feature a character named Adelbert De Smet who will star in two episodes. [SpoilerTV]
- Episode descriptions/synopses:
- "The Sarah Jane Adventures" – 4×01 – 4×02 – "The Nightmare Man". [BlogtorWho]
- "Chuck" – 4×04 – "Chuck vs. the Coup D’Etat". [SpoilerTV]
- "Chuck" – 4×05 – "Chuck vs. the Couch Look". [SpoilerTV]
- "Supernatural" – 6×04 – "Weekend at Bobby’s". [SpoilerTV]
- "Supernatural" – 6×05 – "Live Free or Twihard". [SpoilerTV]
- "The Event" – 1×04 – "A Matter of Life and Death". [SpoilerTV]
- "The Vampire Diaries" – 2×06 – "Plan B". [SpoilerTV]
- "No Ordinary Family" – 1×04 – "No Ordinary Vigilante". [KSiteTV]
- "Smallville" – 10×05 – "Isis". [SpoilerTV]
- Actor/comedian Rob Riggle has been cast in a guest-starring role on NBC’s "Chuck". Riggle will play Jim Rye, "a super smart, intensely positive, and slightly crazy CIA agent who’s brought in to help Chuck become an even better spy." Riggle’s guest spot occurs in episode eight, which features Summer Glau. [The Ausiello Files | EW]
- Lindsay Hartley is playing Mad Harriett in an upcoming episode of "Smallville", a minion of Granny Goodness… [Fancast]
- …In other casting news, Michael Hogan ("Battlestar Galactica") will guest star as Slade Wilson, the alter ego of DC Comics character Deathstroke. Hogan will appear in at least two episodes beginning with 10×09 – "Patriot". [UGO]
SCI-FI RATINGS (Based on final national numbers unless otherwise noted) [@TravisYanan]
Stan Lee’s Superhumans
Episode seven of this new History channel series dropped to 1.04M viewers (-38% / series low) and a 0.5 A18-49 rating (-29% / tying a series low). The season average is now 1.34 million viewers and a 0.6 A18-49 rating.
- Episode 4×03 – 896,000 viewers (-22%) and a 0.4 A18-49 rating (n/c) .
- Episode 4×04 – 936,000 viewers (+4%) and a 0.4 A18-49 rating (n/c).
The season four average through four episodes is now 1.05 million viewers and a 0.4 A18-49 rating.
Episode three of the new Syfy series drew just 642,000 viewers (-19%) and a 0.3 A18-49 rating (n/c).(Ratings were not available for episode 1×04).
Episode 6×16 stayed even from the week prior, drawing 2.08 million viewers and a 0.9 A18-49 rating. The sixth season is currently averaging 2.14 million viewers and a 0.9 A18-49 rating.
"Haven" dropped to a new series-low of 1.41 million viewers (-11%) and tied a series low in A18-49 rating with a 0.4 (n/c) with episode 1×11 – "The Trial of Audrey Parker". The show is currently averaging 1.90 million viewers and a 0.5 A18-49 rating.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Week two of the new season of ‘The Clone Wars’ dropped hard in viewers to 1.69M (-30%), but held steady in A18-49 rating with a 0.5. However, there was an equally steep drop in the key K2-11 demo where the show notched a 1.9 rating (-32%). The season three average currently stands at 2.06 million viewers with a 0.5 A18-49 rating and a 2.4 K2-11 rating.
The Vampire Diaries
- Episode 2×01 – “The Return” – 3.36M viewers and a 1.6 A18-49 rating.
- Episode 2×02 – “Brave New World” – 3.01M viewers (-10%) and a 1.4 A18-49 rating (-13%).
- Episode 2×03 – “New Moon Rising” – 3.56M viewers (+18%) and a 1.6 A18-49 rating (+14%).
- Episode 2×04 – “Memory Lane” – 3.18M viewers (-11%) and a 1.5 A18-49 rating (-6%).
Though the show isn’t performing as well as it did last season — (3.66M / 1.7 A18-49 rating average) — it hasn’t hit any series lows.
- Episode 1×03 – “Rough Trade” – 3.15M viewers (-1%) and a 1.1 A18-49 rating (-8%).
- Episode 1×04 – “The Guardian” – 2.68M viewers (-15%) and a 1.0 A18-49 rating (-9%).
The leash is longer for "Nikita" since it airs on The CW, but it’s dropping pretty hard. The four-episode average now stands at 3.15M viewers and a 1.2 A18-49 rating and episode four was down 25% in viewers and 29% in A18-49 rating from the series premiere (3.57M / 1.4 A18-49 rating).
CHART (9/13/2010 to 9/19/2010)
CHART (9/20/2010 to 9/26/2010)