Not every show can live forever … but is Eureka‘s time drawing near?
Deadline reported this week that Syfy Channel is planning to wrap up the show with a very brief, 6-episode sixth season. Season Five is currently filming 13 episodes, while Season 4.5 airs new episodes on Monday nights.
If the network keeps up its summer scheduling for the show, that would put the final run of episodes in the summer of 2013. It’s a long way off — but, still, it’s hard for fans of any show to know that it’s all coming to an end. On the upside, however, it means that the network is giving the writers plenty of time to bring the story to a fitting conclusion and not cut it off mid-sentence — the fate suffered most recently by Stargate Universe and Caprica.
Syfy hasn’t confirmed the report, though programming exec Mark Stern issued the following statement:
Bruce Miller and Jaime Paglia have brought a creative vitality to Eureka that has kept it fresh and inventive. Although we do not have a commitment beyond six episodes for the sixth season, we are hopeful that this will not be the end of the franchise.
This may mean that it’s just too early for a final decision to have been made on the series. After all, the network still has the rest of Season Four and all of Season Five to air, and check out the ratings numbers. On the other hand, if the decision really hasn’t been made yet, you’d expect the network to simply say so.
The other possibility, then, is that Syfy could be planning for a spin-off of the show, perhaps including one or more characters crossing over to a new environment.
Eureka was the network’s highest-rated original series when it premiered in 2006. So what happened? Ratings are still pretty strong. Last summer the show premiered to 2.52 million viewers, and concluded with 2.25 million. This summer’s premiere was down a bit at 2.02 million people (Live + Same Day).
Over 2 million viewers is a very nice number, especially compared to those original shows that air during the more competitive fall and winter seasons. SGU, Caprica, Sanctuary, Being Human … none of them have approached the 2 million figure in the last year. Nevertheless, Syfy has an embarrassment of riches during the summer: Warehouse and newcomer Alphas are outpacing Eureka on Mondays.
Haven, on the other hand, has been anchoring Friday nights with around 1.9 million viewers. Certainly Eureka could do better in the Friday 10 p.m. time slot. But it’s also an older show, and one of the sad realities of TV production is that, the older a series gets, costs go up while ratings trend downward.
It’s almost certainly premature for Syfy to be talking “sequel” in public. They did that earlier this year for a hopeful Warehouse 13 spin-off, only to have the show’s producer state publicly that no deal was done and they’d only just started preliminary discussions. (Deadline also reports that Syfy is poised to renew Warehouse for a fourth year.)
If it is the end of the road for Eureka, fans have a lot to be thankful for. It’s had a nice, long run; the end is still far away; and, best of all, the writers won’t be blindsided by a ratings-hungry network and will be able to give the characters a happy ending.