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30 JUL 03:

Stargate fans were startled yesterday when SG-1's visual effects guru James Tichenor announced gloomy ratings news for "Enemy Mine" on his popular blog, The Joint.  Tichenor reported "Everyone around the office was upset yesterday when the weekend ratings came in. 1.1. Not good. Especially after the big TV Guide article, and the announcements for season 8."

However, Tichenor was reporting only a part of the startling ratings pattern for "Enemy Mine."  Viewing early in the evening was affected for some by widespread storm conditions and fans are reporting that the TV Guide Channel and other cable companies such as national player Comcast (which recently bought out AT & T) were listing the July 25th episodes as re-runs of Divide and Conquer and Window of Opportunity respectively.  Tichenor even joked about hot new movies Tomb Raider 2 and Spy Kids 3 opening.

Entertainment journalist Mary McNamara [, TV Guide, Multichannel News] stepped in to post a clarification to fans on Our Stargate forum.  "The total number of viewers tuning into Stargate's July 25th episode actually went UP a bit, as compared to the previous week. What happened was: a large block of viewers simply opted to watch the later screening. The 9pm + 11pm rating for each of the past 4 weeks are:

6/27: 1.62 + .87 = 2.49  ::  7/11: 1.49 + .84 = 2.33  ::  7/18: 1.53 + .70 = 2.23  ::  7/25: 1.17 + 1.12 = 2.29

So Friday's numbers are certainly in-line with the ratings for the prior two weeks."

It is extremely unusual for the second, late night airing of Stargate to draw an equivalent audience to the 9pm airing.  The number of viewers, which delighted Sci Fi Channel when Season Seven premiered to the show's highest audience ever, continues to outpace Season Six, even though ratings appear the same.  Sci Fi Channel has millions more subscribers than it had last year, with each rating consequently worth more viewers.  It's gratifying for Stargate SG-1 that even with the difficult circumstances reported around the 9pm airing of the show, so many fans tuned in to catch the 11pm showing.

It has to be noted that the TV Guide article announced as part of the renewal: a reduced schedule for Richard Dean Anderson, Jack's promotion, which would take him from the team, the death of a beloved character and hinted the unpopular romantic 'feelings' story of Season Four's Divide And Conquer would be revisited with Col. O'Neill and Maj. Carter getting closer (nudge nudge).  Dedicated fans were less than thrilled by these prospects for the new season and we have to wonder how the casual viewer would react.

(c) 2003, SCI FI Channels, all rights recognised.