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October 07 2008

Terminator series gets 'Drive' ratings. Uh-oh! Some site I've never heard of says they have sources at Fox. The sources say Terminator: SCC may get canceled due to low ratings and a small number of episodes ordered for the season. Thoughts, anyone?

Personally, I find this all very speculative. Everyone and their dog seems to have sources these days. However, the show is currently up against the CBS comedies and the NBC geek-specific actioners, not to mention Monday Night Football. I think a new night and time would solve all their problems, greatly. Wednesdays, perhaps?

T:SCC had about a 5.8 rating last week. Which, while not great, isn't worth panicking about yet - especially since they got a bump up this week. When Drive was canceled, it was because of ratings in the range of 1.2, that brought down the ratings of 24 behind it. The comparison isn't even close right now.
I agree. People are packing so much about ratings lately, whether it's NBC's Monday lineup, TSCC or even Pushing Daisies. Still, moving the show to Wednesdays at 9 PM, as a follw-up to Bones would be a great idea. Don't expect it to happen, though, since Fox is heading to baseball playoff mode, and Wednesdays and Thursdays are owned by American Idol. Thus, it's too late for a move. Besides, could Fox dare to rob us of a showdown between Cameron and another Terminator...the one who isn't Cromartie?

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2008-10-08 02:07 ]
Well, I'll be a Neilson family soon (got the call confirming that today, they'll be sending the package soon) so I'll do my part to save TSCC, Chuck (which should I DVR and which should I watch live? I usually don't watch live and will catch up on Hulu if I don't record) and Pushing Daisies.

Any other shows I should be saving?
Honestly how can Terminator be expected to survive on a Monday night? Chuck, Heroes, Gossip Girl, HIMYM, TBBT, and football it's just not fair. I've personally been enjoying the series. I thought season 1 was quite entertaining and I like where they are going in season 2. I won't be devastated if the show is cancelled. But I will miss it.
Barclay, I think you got the numbers mixed up. The 5.8 was the # of viewers in millions. And Drive got lower ratings, but not that low. You might be thinking of the 18-49 demo numbers. Those are two entirely different sets of numbers.

theclynn, you should watch live whichever show you would rather help more.
Terminator's Nielsen rating was 2.3 last night, #10 for the night.
Well all the (good) shows on Monday night are struggling and this week’s ratings for Terminator went up while Chuck and Heroes went down. Also Terminator is in the top 5 DVRed shows of the week and all indications are that they are now taking these figures into consideration.

Actually at this point in time I am more concerned about the Future of Chuck, Heroes and Pushing Daises than I am about Terminator. Also I believe that if FOX put Terminator on after Bones the rating would improve considerably.
I don't particularly love TSCC. I love seeing Summer on TV, fantastic, but I sort of hate the entire Terminator series. There are MASSIVE plotholes and it seems that the show follows suit. But, I would be disappointed if Summer weren't on the telly.
After reading several of these articles, I'm beginning to wonder just how much FOX (or any network,really) takes into consideration when viewing these figures.

Viewing-wise, an audience has so many options on how to watch a series nowadays: Internet streaming, DVR, and waiting to purchase the DVD set. It just gets me wondering how much these network heads factor in when looking at these figures, or if they do at all...It just doesn't seem fair to judge how well a series is doing nowadays based solely on the Nielson rating :/
I agree I watch most of my shows on the internet or just wait to get them on DVD. There are a very select few that I will rearrange my schedule to watch.
Its Nielsen rating is low. Its total viewership number is low. It's not really loved by the press. It doesn't have a huge fanbase.

From Fox's perspective, why keep it?
I wrote this article.. I have got an enormous amount of flak for it from T:SCC fans, despite being the person who called Drive, The Inside and Standoff shuttin' down (all FOX, doh).

I'm afraid to say the numbers speak for themselves.
gossi: Are there any hints as to the current thinking on whether the remaining episodes will be produced and aired?
jlp, they're shooting 10 at the moment I think, casting 12 and 13. They'll produce all 13 as it costs to shut down early.

I've no idea if they will air all the episodes. If they fail to order more production, given past experience it's very unlikely.
well, I feel for its fans. I've watched a handful of S1 episodes and I was entertained but didn't *love* it. I'll give it another try when both S1 and S2 are out on DVD, mostly because of Summer Glau and she's worth it, I think. But if it gets cancelled midseason or even at the end of this season I won't. I have enough "dead bodies" in my dvd collection as it is.

I so wish TV shows weren't made to make money and ratings didn't matter. Half of the stuff I like gets routinely canned.
I dunno. The last two were better than the dismal first few this season, but last night's was kind of predictable -- everything that happened was artlessly signaled well in advance during the episode. I'm kind of finding newfound respect for the much-coveted 18-49 demo if they aren't finding that kind of storytelling compelling.

ETA the reminder that I much enjoyed season one, so it's not like I'm just some sort of reflexive T:SCC hater.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-10-08 06:45 ]
I watch solely for Summer. I love her and that character; it would probably be a better show built around her, but I guess it's hard to have a robot as your emotional core.
By the way, Barclay - as hacksaway pointed out, your numbers are simply incorrect.
I'll be upset if they do cancel it. We've been watching it religiously, and while it isn't the best show on tv, it's pretty darn good sometimes.

Although saying that, the thing I'm most worried about in the article is "Taking over the timeslot from January, FOX have penciled in Joss Whedon’s upcoming drama “Dollhouse“." if the problem really is the timeslot.
SCC got higher ratings than Prison Break this week, as far as I remember. I'm more worried about Chuck and Pushing Daisies. Also, the numbers for Heroes are less than stellar.

I guess there are simply too many shows to choose from on Mondays. That makes me a little worried about Dollhouse but I'm not going to panic before I absolutely have to.
I'm in that demo. I can take or leave T:SCC. It's excessively violent, and if I want that, I watch the news. Also, I'm completely unsympathetic to the character of Sarah Connor. I find her annoying, and completely contrardictory to my vision of female feminism for my age group. Just my opinion. Maybe I'm not alone.

As for the men, and some of the women, in my demo, I expect they are watching football.

I won't miss it if it goes. It would be nice to have the story continue in a movie though. I thought that format worked better anyway.

By the way, does the Nelson system assume that every household only has one TV? Does it make allowances if say, one person is watching T:SCC and another is watching football?
Actually, I think tha jlp has it right; the real reason to watch is to see what Cameron (Summer) does, not what Sara or John do. The Sara/John story is too well known- mom protects son at all cost, while son tries to break away and become his own man- and could it have gotten any worse than this week: "He died for you, John." John Connor, JC, get it? So it was good to see Cameron not know anything about how to deal with a scared child, while Sara had to protect the kid properly because, you know, she's a mom...

Cameron owns the show. If they featured her nore, I think it would do better.
I am a little bit afraid for Dollhouse because Monday at that hour is such a competitive time slot! Aren't you?

As for Terminator, I think it's entertaining but I prefer Chuck.
I think the last two posts above me basically tell you everything you need to know about why the ratings have been going down.
Furthermore, does the Neilson system account for things like TiVos? I admit, I watch almost nothing live, yet my little TiVo knows to record T:SCC every week, without fail...
... it would probably be a better show built around her, but I guess it's hard to have a robot as your emotional core.

I actually think, if you ignore the name of the show, it pretty much is already. Most of the time the plot featuring Cameron feels like the A story to me with Sarah sometimes even being the C thread. And thanks to the ambiguity Summer lends the character (and the writing too) the "robot" does just fine as the emotional core IMO.

This wouldn't surprise me as news goes, it didn't seem anything like secure last season and it's doing worse this season. Gossi authored or not though, I don't think "T:SCC premiered January of this year with 18.6 million viewers — which set a record for FOX at the time — and promptly fell to an average of 11.4 million for the series." presents an accurate picture without also noting that it premiered with a huge lead-in from an American football game (i.e. most shows would drop massively the next episode after an artificially inflated first figure like that).

I'll miss it personally and certainly hope they get to make the 13 (as seems likely). At least then they might be able to provide a semi-resolution a la 'The Inside' or 'Wonderfalls'.
Nielsen has DVR (TiVo etc) ratings, and T:SCC is unsurprisingly high up on the DVR charts as the audience is generally the kind of person that owns a DVR I expect. The problem is that T:SCC doesn't really have a lot of product placement in it (that I can recall), so I'm not sure they will make as much from DVR'ed viewers. (DVRs offer the facility to fast forward or skip adverts). Heroes uses product placement to get as much money as possible from DVR viewers. (Do you own a Nissan? I hear they're great!).

Saje, that sentence is accurate I think, but doesn't show the full picture - I put the graph in to give it more visual representation.
Summer Glau and her portrayal of Cameron is indeed where it's at with the interest in this show. I'm not just saying that because I'm a fan of the actress. If "Allison from Palmdale" taught us anything, it's that things are the most fascinating and unpredictable when learning more about this character. Look at how many people love characters like Data and Seven of Nine from the two Star Trek shows, respectively.

The first season benefited greatly from three factors that are no longer in play here. 1. The show premiered in January, at a time when other shows were either on break or people were hungry for something new. 2. Since the Writers' Strike hit shortly after, there wasn't much new content to turn to, so other shows weren't really getting in the way. 3. Brian Austin Green. Much like what Jason Priestly did for Tru Calling, Green's addition to the cast brought in a new, exciting dynamic to the storyline and allowed this show to flash forward (flashback?) into the future, which is what Terminator followers have been waiting on for years.

Now, the show has run into a bit of overcrowding, similar to Heroes. There are so many characters to deal with, and they're all separate from one another, many of them are on screen for maybe a couple minutes an episode, which is slowing the story down to a crawl. While Shirley Manson is helping to bring some new life to things, she has yet to interact with the main cast at this point and her motives are still unclear. Also, I feel that her "secret" was exposed way too soon (first episode of the season). At present, there are FOUR (3, if you take into account the events of this past episode) terminators running around, all scattered. One would think the antagonists would be more organized at this point.

I'm still on board with this program and I'm hopeful that if it can just make it through the football and baseball season, it will come back strong in January and the story will pick up speed. We'll see.
Saje, that sentence is accurate I think, but doesn't show the full picture - I put the graph in to give it more visual representation.

Yeah, it's accurate gossi and it doesn't show the full picture but the graph doesn't help with that IMO because the part of the picture missing isn't a number, it's the knowledge that the premiere was led into from an American football game (and if it was in January then presumably it would've been part of the Superbowl, so a big game).

I don't think it materially changes the situation though - if you took the first rating off (i.e. called it "an outlier") you'd still have figures that are steady but in the danger-zone and then dropping in season 2 (or in other words, as I say, the gist of your article seems spot-on).
It seems that a lot of people dislike Sarah's character, and that's to be understood. There's many directions the writers could go in to make her character more interesting. But I also think some people are neglecting to see some of her good points as well. I think the one thing Lena Headley does well is portraying a mother. Not a good one necessarily, but one that's trying the best she can with a set of pretty horrible circumstances. Sarah may not be my favorite character, but she's not a lost cause either.
Here's a question. Does anybody like John Connor?
I'm fairly certain that cancellation is inevitable, but I think it could have been largely circumvented if FOX would have had the foresight to air it on a different night.

...but then again, FOX and foresight aren't really suitable bedfellows, are they?
gossi -first three episodes of this season, not so much. As of this moment, and especially after the latest episode, yes. I just hope that the next appearance of Riley doesn't drag him back to "Never mind about the human race, what about me?"/Emo John.

[ edited by Hilary on 2008-10-08 14:51 ]
I like John Connor much more since the last episode. He was pretty good in the first season (even with the hair) then he got annoyingly teenager like in the last few episodes, but seems to have gotten over that pretty quickly. But yes, I like his character.
Does anybody like John Connor?

Surprisingly very much. Except for Summer, I came to TSCC not knowing anything about any of the cast and having seen none of them in any show, movie, etc. As a fan of the original franchise, and with even some small appreciation for the dreckalicious T3, I may occasionally wish for tighter writing on TSCC, but on the whole I'm quite happy to be giving this show my time and attention, and I can honestly say I enjoy watching every one of the cast. As said above, it's hard to juggle this many characters (like geese). But I think the writers are doing a credible job, I love watching them all play off each other, and I would hate to see TSCC cancelled before the cast and crew can deliver on the tower of Babylon they've only just set the foundation for. (how's that for pretentious caffeinated verbiage?)

(Full disclosure: The only other current show I'm watching is Dexter. I may be an atypical viewer, even for this crowd :)

(And hey, don't diss the hair! That goofy, floppy haired smile on Dekker's face in the S1 finale, when Lena says she sent Cameron to get cake? Tres adorable, and destined for a CAKE OR DEATH? icon.)

[ edited by damaged justice on 2008-10-08 15:02 ]
The problem is that T:SCC doesn't really have a lot of product placement in it (that I can recall)

It may not have a lot of different products, but did you know that the Connors drive an ALL-NEW DODGE RAM? Hey, look at the navigation system in this ALL-NEW DODGE RAM; we'll use it to find the military academy! Oh, and look at all the convenient storage places in this ALL-NEW DODGE RAM; we'll stuff them full of guns, right after the camera subtly (ahem) pans up from the logo on the tailgate of this ALL-NEW DODGE RAM!

jp - Speaking as someone who normally detests all manner of product placement, even the most subtle and/or meaningful, I noticed the Dodge stuff but was actually not bothered by it. I recall that shot you mention where the camera lingered a bit too longingly on the Dodge logo while they were loading up, but otherwise it just came off like generic gratuitous truck/vehicle porn, just like the pretty people we tune in to look at each week. If they can continue to produce the series with that kind of whoring? I say, bring it on ;)
The problem is that T:SCC doesn't really have a lot of product placement in it (that I can recall)

What about Cyberdyne? I now buy all my military tech from them.
Nobody builds a hyper-alloy combat chassis quite like they do. Buy dyne, buy Cyberdyne.

ETA: I variously do and don't like John. Right now he's meant to be a bit of an annoying teenager IMO but he's gradually developing into something extraordinary (just like Dawn ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-10-08 15:59 ]
I met the PR lady from Cyberdyne whilst in L.A. She showed me her new robots. It went wrong – bad memories.
My Mondays are already full - Chuck, Heroes, Boston Legal and timeshifted The Border. I don't want them trying to cram Dollhouse in there.
dj, aside from TSSC, I'm also watching Dexter. :) As well as True Blood (which is alternately intriguing and ridiculously hokey), Californication (which I thought was over, but....mmmkay) and that Diary of a sex kitten (or whatever) show on HBO. And tapping my impatient foot for Dollhouse.....

As for TSSC.....sigh. When I first heard the show was in trouble I determined to start watching it on monday's when it aired instead of streaming it from the fox website like we usually do. And then I remembered that we don't count. We're not Nielsens.
I'll miss the show. I really like all the main cast (but Cameron so steals the show) and I was dreaming about 5 or 6 seasons worth of Terminaty goodness. I think there's a lot more of this story to tell.

And you know? Last night my friend, who likes things like Nascar, and American Idol and religion came over just as we were starting monday night's episode. Her reaction? Oh my God I love this show!! I watch it every week!
Looking solely at ratings is short-sighted. Very. That being said, I don't really expect this show to go past 13 episodes. I will miss it, but I will be excited to see what all the folks involved do next.
I really like T:SCC, but the problem it has is that we already know how the story is going to end. There is no way they can actually stop Skynet. So I wouldn't mind seeing a little more in way of preparation for Judgement Day from Sara and the gang. Yes, she's trained John to fight the Terminators and gave him other skills, but what about the people that he will meet in the future? What about doing what the Terminators were doing and stashing stuff in places where he'll know to get it? (Like those huge bullets that took out Mr. Clean in the last episode. A few of those would come in handy, I bet.) And what about doing a little research on what is written on the wall at home? Are they really going to leave it there!? 1) Yuck and 2) someone else could find it. This last episode was a step in that direction and if they aren't going to get much more time I'd rather they stepped that up and stopped with the mystery of skynet's plans. We know their plans! Kill everyone!

ETA: I do watch it when it's on, but I also DVR it just in case anyone pays attention to those numbers. Not a neilson family and haven't been since the early 80s. Not sure if it works, but I really don't like not being counted.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-10-08 19:30 ]
"Nielsen has DVR (TiVo etc) ratings, and T:SCC is unsurprisingly high up on the DVR charts as the audience is generally the kind of person that owns a DVR I expect."

That's good. Articles about the ratings of TSCC never seem to mention how the sales of the episodes are doing on Amazon ($1.99 per ep, buy it now!), or how the viewership is on Hula, or how the viewership on is.

Until the network starts incorporating this information, shows that appeal to the prime demographic of technologically savvy people will be canceled. I put $1.99 to the cause again this week, buying the episode on Amazon, since I know that my watching the show live -- which I do -- counts for absolutely nothing.
In May, Fox will be wishing they hadn't canceled the show. That's when the next upcoming Terminator movie comes out. Let it continue, maybe hold the episodes back until the start of the year when the buzz for T4 will be useful. It is the Terminator for Christ's sakes, you don't just let a license like that go away.
"Any other shows I should be saving?"

theclynn, there's no Whedon connection that I know of, but I would appreciate it if you would watch an episode of Sons of Anarchy on FX. New eps air on Wednesdays (tonight). The pilot episode and various clips are available on the FX official website, if you want to check it out and catch up without skewing your Neilsen report.

Sons of Anarchy is a look at a pure warrior culture in the form of an outlaw biker club, with a plot loosely derived from Hamlet. Good acting, good writing, at least one strong female character, and it deserves a larger audience.
willbueche, just because sites that report ratings do not mention Amazon, Hulu, iTunes etc. does not mean that the network doesn't pay very close attention to those metrics. They do. TSCC's 7 day DVR increase is always impressive.

"For the week of September 15-21, Fox’s House had the largest audience via DVR viewing with 4.064 million viewers via DVRs, one of the largest DVR audiences we have measured to date. In fact, Fox had the top 5 biggest DVR audiences including Fringe, Bones and Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles and Prison Break. Rounding out the top ten for the largest DVR audiences were Big Brother, America’s Top Model, two America’s Got Talents, 90210 and Kitchen Nightmares.
The CW’s 90210 had the greatest percentage boost from DVR viewing, increasing 40.8% from its Live viewing. Rounding out the top 10 for largest % increase via DVR viewing was Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, America’s Top Model, House, Prison Break, Bones, Gossip Girl, Fringe Smallville, and One Tree Hill."

Sons of Anarchy has already been picked up for a second season. It is doing extremely well.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-10-09 00:51 ]
Mystic Slug -

The Nielson people ask how many TVs you have in your household and then send a separate booklet for each set. And then you list each person who was present in the room with each TV for each show/time slot in their own column (including visitors).

And there is a separate page for noting any programs which you may have recorded (and, iirc, what type of recording method - DVR, VCR - used).
I would argue that DVR figures are more important than live figures. I have Sky+, things I watch live tend to be just what's on. Shows I really watch I record them so I can skip adverts (Okay, bad for the advertisers but...) and rewind if I miss something and watch again. I don't DVR my second choice shows, I DVR my top shows.
"dj, aside from TSSC, I'm also watching Dexter. :) As well as True Blood (which is alternately intriguing and ridiculously hokey), Californication (which I thought was over, but....mmmkay) and that Diary of a sex kitten (or whatever) show on HBO. And tapping my impatient foot for Dollhouse....."

Would it be OT to discuss what we're watching regularly? I'm looking forward to Dollhouse and the return of Battlestar Galactica. Right now, I'm watching Mad Men, True Blood, The Shield and the aforementioned S of A. Tried SCC a time or two but wasn't gripped by it.
zz9, you can make that argument but the network decision makers will laugh you out of the room. Their job is to get people to actually watch commercials.
janef said,
"I'm looking forward to Dollhouse and the return of Battlestar Galactica. Right now, I'm watching Mad Men, True Blood, The Shield and the aforementioned S of A. Tried SCC a time or two but wasn't gripped by it.

Your taste seems close to mine, The Shield and SoA is my only current must see tv, Fringe and True Blood I still watch but they are on probation, if/when something better shows up they are gone, would be watching Dexter but I prefer to wait for a finished season. House I follow on Swedish tv schedule and they have not started the third season yet.

Liked the Sanctuary web series will at least sample the show but am still angry with SciFi channel for holding up BSG.

Have sampled Mad Men and T:SCC neither one caught my attention but for very different reasons, Mad Men makes me fall asleep, hates John Connor and would cheer wildly during the episode where the Terminators rips him to pieces.

And yea who on this site isn't eagerly awaiting Dollhouse :)
Add me to the list of those who like John Connor. I think Thomas Decker is a talented young actor who has already grown with the role, he's doing a great job.
I really enjoyed last weeks interaction between he and the excellent Brian Austin Green.

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