ByL Avery Brown, writer at

As mentioned in my last post - Dominion was picked up by the SyFy Network - owned by NBCUniversal - and ran for 2 wonderful seasons but was inexplicably cancelled 2 weeks after its Season 2 finale ... leaving a wholly unresolved plot and millions of people around the world wondering What the hell? Why? And as I suggested apparently someone in the programming department at the SyFy Network must have been hit upside the head with the Dumb-Ass Bat because ... numbers do NOT lie...

The Short Version –

Ah, hell, there is no Short Version because no matter how I look at the numbers I cannot fathom why in the world the SyFy Network cancelled Dominion. Why? Because even the friggin’ Nielsen Ratings (a.k.a. the Holy Grail of television ratings) numbers suggest that Dominion should not have been cancelled. No. And this is why…

The Long Version –

I'm going to start with a graphic for you to mull over as you read what follows...

What the hell was SyFy thinking?
What the hell was SyFy thinking?

Prior to the premiere of Season 1 the SyFy Network advertised Dominion like mad for about six months before its first episode. Dominion was mentioned in pretty much every single commercial break for other shows on the network to build hype for a new show that was unlike any of the other Science Fiction show on any network. In fact, time was even used on sister networks (remember NBCUniversal is SyFy’s parent company) to advertise the coming of Dominion.

And all that advertising worked.

The show premiered in a limited run for American viewers early in the summer on Thursday, June 19, 2014. The premiere brought in nearly 2 million viewers according to what networks look to like God Himself had put down the numbers - The Nielsen Ratings

But why?

The Nielsen Ratings – for television viewing date back to the 1950s and since then it's been the only real ratings game in town. And for decades the group has relied 2 tools to determine television ratings:

1. Viewer Diaries – yes, it's exactly what it sounds like. Selected families were/are essentially given diaries into which they record data like

what was watched; the ages of the Whos who watched the what; and, – last but not least – the sex of the Whos of the particular ages who watched the what.

(Sounds pretty sophisticated until you read it again really slowly…)

2. Electronically Recorded Information: A little recording device is attached to the televisions of the Whos who are selected to have their television viewing practices recorded.

Ah, the life of the Nielsen Ratings people was pretty damn simple until Cable Television came along and viewers could opt to buy ‘Premium’ channels like HBO, Showtime, etc…

Then, damn it all, those pesky Premium channels started producing their own original shows which started to wrinkle the fabric of the Nielsen Ratings system. Not too much later, the other cable channels saw how well the Premium channels were doing with their own original programing and they decided to try it themselves. And the Nielsen Ratings people were slow to accept this change.

But hold on, there’s more the story…

We can’t forget DVRs – the device that made it possible for people to watch shows whenever they want… on their schedules – not some ‘it only comes on at this time so you better watch it now or you’ll have to wait forever to see the episode you missed’ schedule. (Oh, yes, I remember those days)

DVRs totally F^@%ed up the viewing stats for the Nielsen people because at first they didn’t want to include them but then they realized they had to figure DVR viewing into their computations otherwise 'television hits' turned into duds.

Hey, it sounds like the Nielsen people were finally getting on the boat – well, not really.

The DVR stats used by the Nielsen Ratings only figure in whether or not a television show has been viewed within 3 days of its original airing… though to be fair, in the past few months they’ve started including DVR stats that go out as far as 7 days after the original air date.

(News flash – my schedule is so freaking full – I have to wait 2 sometimes 3 weeks before I can watch a DVR’ed show. And sometimes, I just want to get my binge on so I wait until the entire damn series is finished so I can spend a Saturday with my family enjoying a whole day of whatever the hell it is we like so much!)

But I digress...

SyFy neglected Dominion in Season 2 and yet, it still fared better than 3 shows that were renewed and only pulled in numbers that were marginally lower than 2 that were renewed. I truly believe that if the SyFy Network had put a little more gusto in their ‘coming up’ and ‘don’t miss the next episode’ commercials – viewership would have been even higher than Dark Matter. Yes, a reminder every now and again would've been real damn nice, SyFy.

Only those reminders never came.

It was like the SyFy Network invested millions of dollars into buying a roller coaster like the ones that make us cringe with excitement as we approach the car to get in for the ride. We rode up to the top of the first hill… it was exciting. Then came that second hill and the coaster shot off like a bat out of hell … or rather, like an angry angel out of heaven taking the riders … the viewers … on a fast paced, action packed, thrilling ride and as it started making its ascent up the next giant hill… that third one that promised us next year – the plunge will be deeper, the curves sharper, there will be corkscrews and God only knows what else.

But SyFy turned off the power leaving us stuck at the top of the third hill. Waiting.

Think the story ends there?

No. Not in the slightest... You see there's another thing that needs to be factored in because not only do the Nielsen Ratings not take into account online/on demand viewing - but they also don't scratch the surface of the number of viewers who have to wait a year or more to get to see the show. And let me just say the number of international viewer is off the chain crazy -

And I'll talk about that in the next post.


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