The cheesy pic averaged 1.37 million viewers on Thursday, according to Nielsen — good by Syfy standards but making it merely the 38th most popular English-language program of the night.
By comparison, the NBCUniversal cable network averaged 1.15 million viewers in primetime for the second quarter of this year. And its most recent original movies prior to Thursday were in the same ballpark: “Independence Day-saster” in June (1.264 million), “Battledogs” in April (1.52 million) and Chupacabra vs. the Alamo” in March (1.49 million).
The biggest Syfy movie in recent years was “Swamp Shark,” which gobbled up about 2.2 million in June 2011.
In adults 18-49, “Sharknado” averaged 566,000 viewers — up from the net’s Q2 average of 454,000. Syfy notes that with a median age of 46.8, “Sharknado” is the net’s youngest-skewing pic since “Zombie Apocalypse” in October 2011.
Among the programs that drew more overall viewers than “Sharknado” on Thursday were Disney Channel’s “Dog With a Blog” (2.02 million), HGTV’s “House Hunters” (1.75 million) and Nick at Nite’s “Full House” repeat (1.39 million).
Social-media interest doesn’t always translate to big tune in — think “Snakes on a Plane” — but it can expose otherwise niche-oriented fare to a larger audience.
“Sharknado,” about a tornado of sharks over Los Angeles, was the most-tweeted TV program in primetime Thursday, generating more than 386,000 social interactions, according to the social-media tracking service Trendrr. At its peak, it captured 5,000 tweets per minute.
SocialGuide, the tracking service owned by the NM Incite joint venture of Nielsen and McKinsey, tallied 111,604 unique users who sent 318,232 tweets about “Sharknado” on Thursday, meaning 12.3% of all people who tweeted about TV yesterday tweeted about #Sharknado.
Syfy movie had nearly double the tweeting audience and volume of the next most tweeted program on TV for July 11, the New York Yankees-Kansas Royals game, which was Derek Jeter’s first game back after an injury.