Syfy’s Caprica Out of Orbit

Thirteen was a particularly unlucky number for Caprica, as Syfy has decided to kill the series after a baker’s-dozen episodes.

After returning on Oct. 5 for the second half of its first-season run, Caprica averaged a meager 819,000 viewers per episode, posting a series-low 718,000 on the 19th. (Deliveries for Tuesday night’s installment were not available.)

A spinoff of/prequel to Syfy’s immensely successful Battlestar Galactica reboot, Caprica bowed on Jan. 22 to an audience of 1.6 million total viewers. While the show never surpassed that mark, the ratings didn’t fall off the cliff until it returned from its six-month hiatus. The Oct. 5 “half-season” premiere drew 889,000 viewers, down 20 percent from the 1.1 million who tuned in for the March 26 cliffhanger.

The five remaining first-run episodes of Caprica are to be re-scheduled to air some time in the first quarter of 2011.
“We appreciate all the support that fans have shown for Caprica,” said Mark Stern, executive vp of original programming, Syfy and co-head of content for Universal Cable Productions. “Unfortunately, despite its obvious quality, Caprica has not been able to build the audience necessary to justify a second season.”

Although it was shot in the cash-friendly confines of Vancouver, Caprica went over budget early in the production. The network originally commissioned 20 hours of the series, but that order was reduced to 19 a few months before the premiere.
For the week ended Oct. 24, Syfy’s biggest draw was WWE Friday Night Smackdown. The wrestling showcase averaged 2.66 million viewers between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data. A new episode of Ghost Hunters scared up 2.21 million viewers in the Wednesday 9 p.m. time slot. By way of comparison, last Tuesday’s episode of Caprica was Syfy’s 36th-biggest draw of the week, trailing a screening of Anaconda 3 (736,000 viewers, Thursday 5-7 p.m.).

Syfy closed out the week ranked No. 10 among ad-supported cable networks, with an average nightly draw of 1.22 million viewers. The NBC Universal net also finished eighth in prime among viewers 18-49 (594,000) and seventh with the 25-54 set (636,000).