Just a little over a month before Syfy's highly anticipated Battlestar Galactica prequel kicks off, the cabler's president said the network has high hopes for Caprica: to bring more mainstream audience, something that BSG wasn't able to do.
"Battlestar was a spectacular flagship show for us - the level of critical acclaim around that show was pretty unprecedented for any cable network," says Dave Howe. "But ultimately, it didn't bring in as many viewers as it had the potential to because it was on a network called Sci-Fi and it was set in space. It spoke to some of the narrow perceptions, even though at its heart it was an intense emotional character drama. The fact that it was set in space is actually irrelevant."
Howe adds that he hopes that since Caprica isn't set against a space backdrop, people will be more open-minded and receptive to it.
"In all of our testing, we've been overwhelmed by the positive response from new viewers - they're actually seeing things that were in Battlestar Galactica but somehow having it set on a planet that looks like Earth gives more people permission to come in and sample it."
Changing Sci-Fi to a phonetically similar SyFy, meanwhile, even criticized by some, is already reaping rewards for the network, says Howe. He cites promising figures for October: 1.5 million viewers on the average and fourth spot among basic cable networks for the all-important 18- to 49-year-old demo.
"We are the No. 1 DVR'ed network period... Our ratings are better than ever," he stressed, adding that the rebranding sought to send the message that SyFy is "not as niche and narrow as people expect."
Caprica is set 58 years before Battlestar Galactica, the story of how Colonial humanity first created the robotic Cylons, who would later plot to destroy human civilization to avenge their enslavement.