Sci Fi skein juices ratings for the cabler

NEW YORK — The Sci Fi Channel’s “Stargate SG-1″ is averaging the best series ratings in the history of the network and stabilizing its Friday-night lineup of original series.

Sci Fi has scheduled original episodes of “Stargate” Fridays at 9 p.m. since June 7, following the network’s purchase of the rights after the series had completed a five-year run on Showtime.

For the 10 episodes through Aug. 18, “Stargate” has averaged 1.32 million households, making it the seventh highest-rated scripted series in all of basic cable. Show, produced by MGM TV and based on the hit movie, does even better in adults 18-49, averaging 1.063 million, good for fifth place overall.

And last Friday the summer finale of “Stargate” harvested 1.588 million homes, or a 2.0 rating, the best household performance for a one-hour episode of a series in Sci Fi’s history.

With repeats of USA Network’s “The Dead Zone” Friday at 8 and the original series “Farscape” at 10, “Stargate” has become Sci Fi’s tentpole for the night. “Farscape” is averaging only 958,000 households (a 1.2 rating) for the same 10 weeks, but its adults 18-49 number is a gaudy 913,000.

Shot in Vancouver, the f/x-dependent “Stargate” costs MGM a strapping $1.3 million an hour to produce. The series goes into rerun on Sci Fi until January, when another 11 original episodes will be available for scheduling.

In addition to the weekly slot, Sci Fi has also bought rerun rights to the first five years of “Stargate,” and the network will schedule those in a four-hour block every Monday night at 7 p.m., beginning Sept. 30.

A rerun of each “Stargate” also plays once a week in syndication on TV stations throughout the country six months after its Sci Fi exposure.

Richard Dean Anderson is the star of “Stargate” and one of five executive producers, along with Brad Wright, Michael Greenburg, Robert C. Cooper and N. John Smith.

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