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Sci Fi sees big gains from ‘Invisible Man’

Series earns highest ratings ever for the cabler

NEW YORK — The first “Invisible Man” theatrical was a huge hit at the box office for Universal in 1933, and the concept is still packing them in.

For the two-hour premiere of “The Invisible Man” TV series last Friday at 8 p.m., the Sci Fi Channel chalked up the highest rating for a series episode in the history of the network, a 2.4 Nielsen rating in cable homes.

The 2.4 translated into 1,534,000 households, marking the largest audience ever delivered to Sci Fi for original programming of any kind, according to the channel. And even the repeat of the episode at 10 p.m. the same night harvested a gaudy (or is that guazy?) 1.7 rating in cable homes.

Bonnie Hammer, executive VP and GM of Sci Fi, was particularly boastful of the large percentage of 18-to-49-year-old men and women who watched the series.

“One of our strategies was to create a broad-based original series and get away a little bit from stuff like other universes and alien life-forms,” she said.

Hammer also praised the marketing campaign for the movie, the poster of which features a terrified-looking man staring at his right hand as it appears to be morphing into a silvery liquid. Superimposed on the image is the phrase “Can’t See TV.”

“Instead of being dark, negative and gothic,” she says, “we were irreverent, intriguing and funny.”

Regular hourlong episodes of “Invisible Man” start on Friday at 8 p.m., and Hammer says the series will continue with original hours throughout the summer, leading in to firstrun episodes of two other Sci Fi series, “Farscape” and “Lexx.”

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