Last week, the ratings were being called "armageddon-like" and worthy of cancellation, and they've only gotten worse since then - this week's episode saw only 5.53 million viewers tuning in, down half a million viewers from a week before, and almost a million from the second season premiere. Is Skynet controlling the Nielsen Ratings, or is the end going to come for Fox's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles sooner than anyone expected?
The series may have been plagued by rumors of cancellation since it started but last week's revelation from Entertainment Weekly about just how true those rumors were may have surprised some:
An SCC insider tells me that if the show's numbers don't start to climb, Fox is unlikely to order any additional episodes beyond the 13 currently in the pipeline. At Saturday's EW pre-Emmy bash, Thomas Dekker remained hopeful that they could hold off doomsday at least until the end of football season. "We¹re up against Monday Night Football," he sighed, "which is tricky because we have a lot of football fans."
With the ratings for this week's fourth episode falling again after the surprise bump for the week before, it's unlikely that the show can afford to wait that long, however - and its home network isn't much consolation to fans with long memories; the schizophrenic Fox network may be happy to launch SF TV (This year alone, it's giving the world Fringe, Dollhouse and new Ron Moore show Virtuality), but equally trigger-happy on the cancellation front (Firefly, anyone?). SyFy Portal is already saying that a decision on cancellation is due as early as this week:
The network has been disappointed by "Sarah Connor's" numbers so far this season, and some executives feel that the show is dragging down numbers for "Prison Break," which airs as a lead-out. "Audiences just aren't responding to the show," a Fox source tells SyFy Portal. "Our biggest surprise are the 18-to-49s [a key advertising demographic], those numbers are in the toilet."
One of those reasons that that particular demographic isn't responding to the show may be its timeslot - the show is currently up against Chuck - itself having a rocky start this season, viewerwise - Gossip Girl and the unexplainably unbeatable Dancing With The Stars on network television alone. But is it too late to move it somewhere else on the schedule (and if not, where to put it? One suggestion may be Wednesday evenings, currently quiet for genre TV... and Fox does need a replacement for Do Not Disturb, after all). While fans argue over what would offer the best chance to save the show (Check out the comment section, where good suggestions get lost amongst less constructive comments like "Sarah Connor is a PUSSY" and "who watches Broadcast TV anymore?"), we can only hope that producer Josh Friedman is not only thinking about how to bring some new attention to the series (and hopefully not as bloodthirstily as Charlie) but also keeping an eye on a way to bring the show to some kind of quick conclusion just in case this show becomes an unexpected first SF casualty of a particularly screwy TV season. (In any case, John Connor actor Thomas Dekker seems to be working on securing a golden parachute for himself already: he's reported to be in talks to star in a new remake of the movie musical Fame. He may not make it to the future to save the world from giant robots, but one way or another, he's gonna live forever.)
Images from David Strick's backstage photos from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles [LA Times]