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Classic Ratings Review: FIREFLY (Season One - 2002)

One of the most overrated shows on network TV, in the last 20+ years, has to be the sci-fi series, FIREFLY. Never has a series drawn so few viewers have such a cult following. Of the 14 episodes produced, only 11 aired during the regular TV season, on FOX, with the final three episodes being used as burn-off during the summer of 2003, on the Sci-fi Channel.

At a time when Network shows were still able to draw 20+ million viewers, FIREFLY averaged under 4.5 million viewers, and ranked 128th for the season. And, its not like it had strong competition on the nigh as only PROVIDENCE (#45), on CBS, was the only top 50 program in the hour.

The series is NOT popular among main stream viewers, or even science Fiction fans. It is "popular" in a niche circle of sci-fi fans, that want us to believe it was awesome.

The 2005 movie, SERENITY, is a continuation of the series and made around $25 million at the domestic box office, on a budget of about $39 million. Its international box office was a little over $13 million. After the theater owners take on the receipts, the FIREFLY movie lost around $20 million.

Because of the "loyal cult following" FOX is apparently looking into a reboot of the series, for the near future. You think Sleepy Hollow, in 2017, has low ratings, just wait for FIREFLY 2.0 ratings. The best things for any potential FIREFLY reboot is to be produced and distributed by a Netflix or Amazon, where no one will see the numbers and fans can continue to believe it is the best thing since sliced bread.

Finding the ratings was a little hard to come by. Internet ratings sources were scarce back then and the few that were around in 2002, are mostly defunct in 2017. I had stopped cutting out and archiving the USA Today weekly ratings chart three years earlier, so I do not have those to fall back on. The stats referenced here are combined information from multiple old websites and fan forums.

FIREFLY RATINGS for the fall of 2002 (airing on Friday nights at 8 PM)

Date       Rank     TV rating
09/16       66        4.0
09/23       78        3.6
09/30       89        3.3
10/14       98        2.7
10/21       90        2.9
10/28      101        2.8
11/04       89        2.9
11/11      103        2.9
12/02       99        2.4
12/09       96        2.6
12/16       88        2.7

(Prime-time ratings compiled by Nielsen Media Research. Listings include the week's ranking, with rating for the week and season-to-date rankings in parentheses. An "X" in parentheses denotes a one-time-only presentation. The rating is the percentage of the nation's estimated 106.7 million TV homes. Each ratings point represents 1,067,000 households.)


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