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July 27 2004

Sky One ratings slain by Buffy. MediaGuardian.co.uk reports on the failure of the premiere UK satellite channel to find a popular successor to Buffy. This has caused Sky One's audience share among young viewers to plummet (painful reg req).

Relevant extract:

"On Thursday nights, when Buffy was broadcast last year in a double bill with spin-off show Angel, the channel's share is down a massive 43% to 3.34% among 16- to 34-year-olds.

Both shows have now come to an end and even the acquisition of hit thriller 24 and sci-fi series Jake 2.0 - broadcast in the same Thursday night slot between 8pm and 10pm - has not been enough to halt the ratings slide.

While Buffy and Angel attracted average ratings of 860,000 and 749,000 respectively, Jake 2.0 averages 468,000 and 24 is watched by 550,000.
"

Well, ye-ah... what a strange phenomenon! (See how shocked I'm not?)

BtVS and Angel were the only reason I ever watched Sky One. Hell, BtVS and Angel were the only reasons ANYONE I KNOW watched Sky One. Thursday was "Buffy night". It was sacred. After school/college it was always "Are you coming over to watch Buffy tonight?" or just delirious exclamations of "BUFFY NIGHT!"

There was pizza and popcorn and drinks. And a reverential SILENCE except during the ad breaks. Good times...

Now there is nothing and our little lives are empty. Even WITH cable. It's a travesty is what it is... A Sky One "ratings plummet" since the end of BtVS and Angel? *tisk* Well, to coin a phrase "DUH!"
Thanks for the extract Simon, really did not have enough time to go through a registration just for one article.

I have to admit that Sky One has gone massively downhill this last year or so but that is far from being their own fault. They have always been the home of first run american scifi and drama so if there is no quality television coming from the States right now then they have nothing to broadcast.

Look at what they have had to choose from this season. The Handler, Tarzan, Jake 2.0 all cancelled. Tru Calling hardly lighting any fires among fandom. The only relatively successful shows that began this year are Cold Case and Nip/Tuck, neither of which are on my must watch list.

24 and Stargate are the only two drama series that they could call real crowd pullers so i am sure they are pleased that both have new seasons coming up. Having said that they did let Alias slip through their fingers and despite it starting it's second season to relatively low figures they must now see that it was a mistake letting it go. It still outperformed pretty much everything they still have and had the potential to build on it's fanbase.

Angel being axed really has been a blow to the channel though. It was a major hit for Sky One since "City of" aired five years ago and paired with Buffy that was the must see night for many of us. Even without Buffy working as it's lead in Angel was still getting amazing numbers. In fact Angel was the only reason i gave Tru Calling as long as i did to impress me. I would have given up watching that a long time before if Angel was not on afterwards.

Quite honestly i stuck with Sky all these years because of Buffy and Angel and with them both gone i may well reconsider my subscription until i hear of something new worth watching. That being the next slayer show obviously ;)
Sky are looking at buying Deadwood, with a view to prying the total HBO package away from Channel 4 later in the year (although, with only a ten episode sixth season of Sopranos left, this clearly isn't a long term solution). This will cost them, so they obviously aren't underestimating the ratings hit they've suffered. Given Sky's relationship with Fox (and the collapse of any relationship between the Beeb and Fox) I imagine they have first pick there too. Wouldn't be surprised to see them move for The Shield when the contract with Five runs out, as F/X now has a UK channel and Nip/Tuck first runs on Sky One.

Of course, if they're that worried about it, they could always plough some of the money they throw at imported shows into making a spin off show themselves. If the Beeb don't want Ripper (the current powers that be at Auntie certainly wouldn't be interested), Sky can always have a pop.
I would imagine Sky One would be trying to buy Stargate: Atlantis as well.
Hollowman, my thoughts exactly!

They can clearly no longer depend on the U.S. networks to provide them with programming and they know that their attempts to fill the schedule with their own cheap reality rubbish is not working.

That leaves the alternative you mention. For them to invest into a series such as Ripper or other slayerverse spinoff. They know that this will be worthwhile to them financially as they are losing viewers every month and without something to turn this around they will be in a lot of trouble.

How many people are going to pay for Sky if there is nothing to watch other than more reality shows and repeats? What really irritates me is how they advertise filling their summer evening schedule with back to back repeated episode of the Simpsons as if they are doing us a favour. Don't know about the rest of you but two hours of the Simpsons per night is not what i call worth the subscription.

Simon, i read recently that nothing is confirmed about Atlantis yet although i would imagine you are correct considering the fact Stargate does so well for them.
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[ edited by ranchofiasco on 2004-07-27 22:23 ]
Just to remind US readers, Sky is a Murdoch company, and run by his son. While Ruperts News Corp owns Fox 100% he only owns a majority share in Sky. 'Sky' isn't just a station, Murdoch owns the platform, the satelites, the transmission facilities, the encoding technology etc, so all other stations in the UK, including the BBC, have to pay Sky to transmit their channels.

And there are big problems with Sky producing its own shows. If they want a 22 episode season of one hour drama it would be a/ far too expensive and b/ take too long to make.
The US can support the $2-3M cost per episode because it has a population of 260M potential viewers. The UK has 65M potential viewers. Maybe they could figure on selling the show to a US outfit but what are the odds that it wouldn't get canned after three episodes?
And the pace of production here is far slower than the US. A 'Series' her is six episodes! It would take a major shift in UK production standards to be able to make a one hour drama episode every eight days, and would probabley add to the cost even more.

On the bright side, I would assume the UK Sky suits will be badgering the US Fox execs for "Another Buffy!" or "Another Angel!". The prospect of a guaranteed overseas sale would be a plus point on the decision to greenlight a new show.
One thing that article doesn't mention is that Tru has been getting similar ratings,around the 500,000 mark as 24 which Sky paid 400,000 an episode for

I somehow doubt they are paying anything like that for Tru

They do have the 2nd season of Dead Like Me coming up later in the year and I have heard they are trying for Stargate Atlantis
To be honest i would never trust Sky, or any British television company for that matter, to do justice to a slayerverse show. Sky One may have the best chance of doing it justice as they are more aware of what makes a successful genre show but even they would not have what it takes in my opinion.

No, what i meant to suggest before was merely that Sky came to an agreement with an American production company and network to create a series as a joint venture. The show would be produced as normal by Mutant Enemy but the cost would be shared by Sky and the WB, using them as an example.

This would surely be an attractive idea to the U.S. network in question and Sky would have automatic rights to broadcast over here. Not to mention having an actual decent show to bolster their tired looking schedule.

This idea would not have to be limited to slayerverse shows obviously but that would be a good place for them to start.
As far as I know they are part funding the new Battlestar and get to show it in October as a result ahead of it's US transmission

They are apparently supposed to be changing their policy to part fund shows instead of just buying them
Makes you wonder whether or not all the fan interest pushing for them to help save Angel has prompted Sky into changing their policy.

Way too late for Angel now obviously but possibly good news for the future of the slayerverse. Maybe even another avenue to explore for getting the telemovies made? They would not require anywhere near the kind of investment an entire season would need so it may be a lot more practical for Sky to help out with them.

Hmmmmm, interesting! ;)
Baring in mind that Sky One was (and still is) the number one rated UK cable/satelite channel and that Buffy was (for years) one of it's top rated shows (it had a very large and loyal following in the UK, and actually got MORE popular as the series progressed. It's ratings were at their highest in the UK during Season 6.)

And, even without the Buffy lead-in, Angel became one of Sky's top rated shows in Season 5. BtVS and Angel were a lot more popular in the UK than in the US. They pulled in a LOT of viewers on a regular basis. In addition to the endless repeats, they were staples of the Sky viewers magazine, they got heavy promotion and were both syndicated to terestrial channels. It's perfectly reasonable that Sky would've gone out of their way to keep those shows on the air... even if it cost them a lot, it would've probably been worth their while given the show's enduring popularity and ratings pull.

Now they've got nothing.
It's sad seeing the end of good things. All good things must come to an end, what a great title the last episode of Star Trek the next generation had, sums up Buffy/Angel as well, ending is no fun indeed.
Baring in mind that Sky One was (and still is) the number one rated UK cable/satelite channel and that Buffy was (for years) one of it's top rated shows (it had a very large and loyal following in the UK, and actually got MORE popular as the series progressed. It's ratings were at their highest in the UK during Season 6.)

Actually season 7 was even higher rated. Chosen is the highest rated episode of Buffy on Sky One (1.32 million vs 1.22 million for Grave), and overall season 7 averaged 980,000 viewers vs 910,000 for Season 6 (Not sure what the Guardian are basing the 860k figure on, maybe there including repeats, but these were lifted direct from Barb's website, on first run episodes only Him, Never Leave Me and Dirty Girls got lower than 860k for first run eps)

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