Vince McMahon Killed A Major Sci-Fi Franchise?

By Charlene Badasie | Published

The end of Stargate Universe after two seasons left fans questioning whether Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) taking over its timeslot on the Syfy Channel was the reason. Craig Engler, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Syfy Digital, recently shed light on the network’s decision-making process – and it did not involve the now-retired Vince McMahon’s pro-wrestling show.

Stargate Universe Suffers From Low Viewership

When Stargate Atlantis ended its successful five-season run, Syfy and MGM decided on a new chapter in the franchise with Stargate Universe. The show, created by Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, presented a fresh take on the Stargate narrative. Confident in the franchise’s track record, Syfy immediately committed to a two-season deal.Stargate Universe premiered on October 2, 2009, attracting 2,779,000 viewers. While the figure was a respectable start, compared to its predecessor, Stargate Atlantis, the debut fell short by over 25 percent. Despite the initial dip, the show managed to grow in the second week, reaching nearly three million viewers. The following weeks saw fluctuations, but the overall performance was acceptable.

The Series Loses Its Friday Night Time Slot

Around the sixth week, Stargate Universe viewership dropped to 2.3 million, a 20 percent decrease from its season high. While there was a brief recovery post-hiatus, the show struggled to maintain its momentum, hovering between 2,116,000 and 1,708,000 viewers. With these numbers deemed a significant loss for Friday nights, Syfy moved the show to Tuesdays to attract a new audience.

Vince McMahon And ECW To Blame?

WWE Vince McMahon

Since then, several rumors have circulated regarding the demise of Stargate Universe, and Engler addressed each one. He explained that the move to Tuesdays was a strategic decision after the show lost a third of its Friday night audience. And contrary to belief, the biggest drop in viewership occurred before the hiatus, with modest growth observed after the break.Engler also affirmed Syfy’s commitment to the sci-fi genre, debunking the claim that the network dislikes science fiction. “We would have happily kept making [Stargate Universe] regardless of anything else on our schedule if the ratings were sustainable,” he explained. We don’t discontinue successful shows to make room for other shows. No network does because no network has a full roster of successful series.”

Stargate Universe Steers The Franchise In A New Direction

Stargate Universe followed a group of individuals who find themselves stranded on an ancient spaceship called the Destiny, located billions of light-years away from Earth. The Destiny was created by an ancient alien race known as the Ancients (or Alterans), who used Stargates to explore and seed galaxies with Stargates for future generations.Unlike the previous Stargate series, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, which focused on Earth-based teams exploring different planets, Stargate Universe primarily takes place aboard the ship. The main characters include a mix of military personnel, scientists, and civilians who must work together to survive and unlock the mysteries of Destiny.

The Cast

The cast of Stargate Universe featured Robert Carlyle as Dr. Nicholas Rush, the brilliant but morally ambiguous scientist, Louis Ferreira as military leader Colonel Everett Young, and David Blue as Eli Wallace, a young and talented amateur scientist. The ensemble cast also includes Alaina Huffman, Elyse Levesque, Ming-Na Wen, and others.

Stargate Universe received mixed reviews during its run, with some praising its darker tone and character development. Others felt it departed too much from the formula of its predecessors. The show has maintained a dedicated fan base despite its cancellation after two seasons.

Source: GateWorld