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Syfy Executive Defends Decision To Cancel Stargate Universe

In the face of increased criticism following last week’s finale of Stargate Universe, a Syfy executive is defending the decision to cancel the series.

“There is literally no one other than MGM who supported it more than we did,” Senior Vice President Craig Engler writes in an open letter posted Thursday at the GateWorld fansite. “We were the only network who gave the show a try and the only ones who committed to making and airing 40 episodes before a script had been written. We invested tens of millions of dollars and thousands of hours of work over many years making and supporting the show.”

Engler details SGU‘s ratings decline from a high of 3 million viewers to a low of 1.7 million, “below where we could sustain it.” He even supplies a graph before addressing a number of rumors and accusations surrounding the cancellation, including that the network hates science fiction — “It’s because we like science fiction that we tried it” — and that SGU was dumped to make way for more wrestling.

“We would have happily kept making SGU regardless of anything else on our schedule if the ratings were sustainable,” he writes. “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. SGU was judged solely on its own ratings.”


  • Bass Guitar Hero

    This is one of those times when TV execs should really keep their mouths shut. It’s only going to make the criticism worse. Most people know the show was canceled due to poor ratings. They let the opinions of a small minority that believes otherwise to prompt them to get defensive about it… 

  • Animateden

     However, one issue they are facing is that they have kept other shows of about the same cost with the same or less ratings. An example is Sanctuary. There had to be more to the decision than just the ratings. I am sure it was a factor it just couldn’t have been the only factor.

  • Erikgalston

     maybe the fact that syfy i believe owns Sanctuary and Warehouse 13 and Eureka so they don’t have to worry about paying licensing fees and the like to another company. 

  • Bass Guitar Hero

    Ever since the days of the original Star Trek series, the conventional wisdom among TV execs was that sci-fi shows–in particular, those set in space–are harder and more expensive to produce than most. Such shows need to have the ratings to justify their expense. A show that may have the same or slightly lower ratings can get by if it’s cheaper to produce and the network gets more of a return from it.  


     Sanctuary costs as much as SGU to produce? thats hard to believe

  • Jimmymacin

    Dr. Who is a good example of this “If the ratings aren’t great but the show is cheap to produce, it’ll probably keep getting renewed.” concept. 

  • Psychofox

    Can’t man.  If it’s true, they are not getting the bang for the buck that SGU gets out of its effects, and staffing.  Because truth is, Sanctuary looks cheap compared to SGU.  

  • Mlssb5100

    make a new season i will watch 

  • Bass Guitar Hero

    Actually the ratings of Doctor Who have been good ever since its revival in 2005… 

  • Gterziani

     The SYFY station in not interested in quality.  Just look at the cheap movies they continue to release.  SG Universe was a quality show not like the rest of the dribble they produce.  I am getting to the point I don’t even bother to look what is on this station.  This Craig Engler proves my point he is cancelling it because it costs too much with too few fans.  You mean to tell me the rest of the dribble on this station is as good as UNIVERSE.  Give me a break.  I think in time it would have found its audience like SG 1 did.

  • Soy Saltine

    I thought Sanctuary was done with a lot of green screen work. Why not do a SGU movie or something to give a little bit more of a final. Dont get me wrong I did like the end, but I was wanting more. I could do without the all wrestling and b-movie revivals. 

  • Ritaalbin

    I can’t believe you cancelled SGU. Seriously it was by far the best 1 yet.I am so upset that you would do that and keep playing Sanctuary.I have never seen a full episode of that show.What are we supposed to do now.You have no love for true sy fy fans.

  • Anonymouse

    It’s a shame that TV companies messure success by ratings which is such a
    subjective unit. They get advertisers to buy slots in their shows by
    promising that viewers !might! buy their products. I bet half of all
    viewers don’t even watch the commercials on TV, let alone run out and
    buy their stuff. So basically the ratings don’t actually necessarily
    mean ‘viewer=profit’.

    And then think of all the people outside the US who love the show but
    can only watch by downloading it from torrent sites. In the end it is
    not about how popular the show actually is worldwide but how many people
    in the US potentially buy that new Colgate toothpaste after they say
    the episode… It’s retarded.

    I watched SG:U because of the stellar performances of the amazing! cast.
    Even if I had watched the commercials I would have never purchased
    anything. I was the reason why SG:U failed.

  • Rayman1379

    This is a dark time for all SG fans 

  • Erikgalston

     it is done with mostly green screen.. 

  • Equinox999equinox

    Stargate Universe was a boring show that lacked the heart and character of SG1 or SGA.  While a small population of rapid supports swarm the internet whining about its demise, most of us that just wanted a good show were disappointed and walked away (hence the ratings).  Whether or not the show got better is meaningless, as enough damage was done to drive a good segment of those interested in it originally away.  Time is too precious to give every bad start a second chance.  

  • Nos Khaos

    WoW yet another show axed…..almost pointless trying to enjoy any show.

  • starlord

    I hope, that at the least, they manage to do a  special or three,to wrap it up,Ii come to like this show greatly, but the critics are harsh, and once they diss a show, in these days of the net, it receives a mortal blow few recover from. 

  • Adam Hasser

    I had heard good things about the show and was getting ready to watch it on Hulu or Netflix. Not sure I’ll invest the time now.

    It seems that shows like this with higher costs have a shorter amount of time to become a hit due to costs.

  • Cybercurtis573

       I loved the show even if it could of done a little better in giving the ship and it’s crew a more freedom in and around the ship. But I loved the hole show and what they was trying to do in the story line. I hate what they do when they stop a show. They should have at least a few shows that lead to a ending so that we do not have this lame ending that does not make any sense with what the store line was trying to lead us. By doing what they do they really give someone that may like what they see but turn away because of a bad story ending. It all most gives you a bad taist in your mouth walking away from a ending like this. it is endings like this that make a person turn away from SYFY.  

  • Arcca-Daton

    From now on I won’t even waste my time watching the Sci-fi Channel (I refuse to use it’s new and highly stupid name), because, like other channels, every time I find a series I like they cancel it just as it starts getting good and do you know how they work out the ratings? Nielsen Media Research. A small number of people agree to keep a record of what they watch and if those morons aren’t sci-fi fans we all get screwed over and end up with shows about America’s Next Top Models or Jersey Shore. WTF? How many people download episodes from torrent sites, instead of watching them online anyway and do they take that into consideration at all? No, they don’t, because they’re stupid and they don’t have any idea what they’re doing.

  • Rbfar

    I don’t think this executive will keep his job long.  Anyone who has ran a business of any significance would know that this is a very bad business decision.  Any company that makes a product or provides a service (GE, Boeing, Google, whoever) has a core constituency to which it needs to provide some products or services at a loss so that it can keep a critical mass and make money on other stuff.  Losing Stargate will mean losing core constituency for SyFy.  Best thing Stargate fans can do is simply not to watch SyFy any more.

    As for Stargate itself, It’s too bad they haven’t tried to find a premium content channel for distribution (iTunes, etc.).  I wonder if there is a model there that could work.  There are lots of loyal fans who would pay for content.

  • Rayman

    I totally agree with and this I know I would pay for it. 

  • Rimantas

    Engler’s comments are at best disingenuous. It’s clear that quick financial return has become the deciding factor on SYFY as it has through most of TV. Cheap or witless entertainment (wrestling seems to fit in the endless stream of pseudo-reality programming that appears there)  and cheezy, low-budget made-for-SYFY movie rip-offs produced in Eastern Europe are becoming SYFY’s hallmark. The high-production, large ensemble cast, adult-oriented script series (and by adult I mean sometimes bleak, complicated nuanced and thoughtful story lines) show up briefly (SGU and Caprica are the latest examples) and are then scuttled. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy Eureka, can usually tolerate Warehouse 13, am becoming more fond of Sanctuary and am looking forward to Haven’s return (f it doesn’t become pretentiously cute), but the rest is just depressing. I thought, and still do, that a science fiction channel was a great thing, but now, each week, there are blocks of days that I deliberately and completely ignore this channel, as if it didn’t exist.

  • Joshualanjones

           It is still bull the way they left it. They can not even make any more stargate episodes of any kind. I thought it would be a nice idea to make a movie of the final show ending stargate altogether just like it began. Just a thought it began as a movie should end as a movie! Bet they did not think of that.


    Defending an epic blunder of a last episode to the epic Stargate franchise. Its a bean counters worst nightmare. I will not buy the series with this horrible last episode!!

    Sigh fy!!