Genre shows struggle with season start

Outlook is grim for several shows.

dollhouseS2_echo2Science fiction shows have not performed particularly well with the start of the 2009/10 television series in the United States, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings data released over the last week.

Smallville’s ninth season debuted to shockingly low ratings with a 1.5/3 share, finishing for the first time behind fellow CW show Supernatural, which remained relatively steady from its season premiere with a 1.7/3 share. The network’s new drama, Vampire Diaries, continued to score relatively decent ratings (for The CW, of course) with 2.4/4.

Dollhouse aired its second season with less than encouraging ratings, finishing near the bottom of the pile for the week’s genre television with an anemic 1.6/3, which is around six per cent off its season finale, and not good news for a show that was given a last minute reprieve and a final chance to prove itself to Fox. Likewise, Heroes could well be in trouble with NBC if it fails to improve on its dismal audience figures of 3.9/6, which don’t seem too desperate when compared to other shows, but is worrying when you consider the fact that the rating is 23 per cent lower than the last season average.

Fringe has also failed to live up to its first season hype and the confidence placed in it by a quick renewal last season. Abrams, Orci and Kurtzman’s show posted a 3.6/6 rating for its episode, which was down from its already low season debut.

However, the news was not all bad. FlashForward posted a decent, for genre fare, audience of 7.7/13 for its premiere, but whether it will survive will be determined by its ability to retain and grow that rating, with little room for slippage.

Outside of ratings, V’s increasingly troubled production continued to cause dismay among fans, when ABC announced that it will only be airing four episodes of the remake, before taking a break and returning after the Winter Olympics, airing again in March. The network has insisted that the plan was always to release the show in ‘pods’ to create ‘event programming’, but few are inclined to believe the late announcement of such a strategy.

Ratings data gathered from Airlock Alpha reports.