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Dresden Files: Timeline of a doomed TV series

The following are reports that document the time line of cancelled TV series Dresden Files from inception to death notice in the news:

  • April 5, 2004Dresden Files “movie” (backdoor pilot) announced by Sci Fi – set for 2004-2005 or 2005-2006 season. With title character named “Erik Dresden.”
  • September 7, 2004 – Sci FI again trumps the Nick Cage connection and Dresden Files in its upcoming slate.
  • October 7, 2004 – Sci Fi sets Summer 2006 as the premiere of the Dresden Files 2-hour movie. Filming set to begin in the fall of 2004.
  • October 6, 2005 – Sci Fi again plugs DF for Summer 2006.
  • November 9, 2005 – Paul Blackthorne announced as “Harry Dresden” by SFC / Lionsgate Films.
  • December 9, 2005 – Valerie Cruz joins cast.
  • January 6, 2006 – Author Jim Butcher pleased with DF scenes shown to him.
  • May 25, 2006 – Sci Fi changes gears – orders 11 episodes beyond the 2-hour pilot/movie. Show moved to January 2007. (Total of 13 1-hour episodes)
  • November 9, 2006 – Production begins on series with Toronto stepping in for Chicago.
  • November 27, 2006 – Series premiere set for January 21, 2007.
  • December 4, 2006 – Sci Fi starts PR campaign for new January lineup.
  • January 18, 2007 – Sci Fi media blitz of DF in full swing.
  • January 18, 2007Hollywood Reporter gives positive review
  • January 23, 2007 – Ratings results show DF with a below-average 1.37 rating – below the channel’s top premieres of the same season, Eureka (2.05), wresting (1.84) – but did beat out the 2nd season premier of Doctor Who (1.05). BSG also had a below average rating (1.39). The difference between 1.37 and 1.39 doesn’t seem like much – but the breakdown shows that DF viewers were older – and advertisers don’t like that. DF had about 400 thousand fewer 18-49 year olds watching. Ouch.
  • January 31, 2007 – Ratings on the whole for DF get better – but older. Same for BSG.
  • February 15, 2007 – DF hits series low ratings as Grammy Awards pulls away viewers. (Typically, as the night wears on – Grammy pulls away more and more viewers. BSG hurt worse)
  • February 20, 2007 – Sci Fi pushes Farscape/SG1 fans to watch DF by promoting Claudia Black guest spot.
  • February 22, 2007 – Sci Fi Sunday nights still being massacred by network sweeps. DF getting more viewers than BSG in total. But BSG has better ratings among younger viewers (18-49); more of them/higher percent of the viewership.
  • March 1, 2007 – Against the Oscars: Sci Fi Sunday loses again – and DF’s audience keeps getting older. Not a good sign.
  • March 8, 2007 – DF and BSG continue to bleed viewers on Sunday, both hit series lows. DF audience also continues to get older.
  • March 15, 2007 – DF ratings improve dramatically – especially among older viewers, although more younger viewers are watching, too, the percent of older viewers continues to grow.
  • March 22, 2007 – DF ratings improve among younger viewers. Both DF and BSG have 1.35 ratings, but DF has 43,000 fewer younger viewers. Typically viewers get older as the night gets later – not so here.
  • March 29, 2007 – DF has 337 thousand fewer 18-49 years olds watching than BSG.
  • April 4, 2007 – Sci Fi trumps its successes for the year – mentions that DF time slot ratings are up 175% over last year. Fails to mention that last year was movie repeats.
  • June 20, 2007 – Deadline for DF renewal passes to allow time for new episodes by January.
  • July 6, 2007 – Edmonton Alberta signs deal with Lionsgate to partially fund and own one of its series. Would be either DF or Masters of Horror. (Showtime already renewed Masters of Horror in 2006 – Lionsgate shoots the series for IDT/Liberty Media productions)
  • July 10, 2007 – Masters of Horror chosen for Edmonton. DF apparently homeless.
  • August 3, 2007 – DF officially cancelled. Blackthorne gets ABC series role. Was hired earlier, but role was contingent upon DF not being picked up by Sci Fi for 2nd season.

David Speakman

David Speakman has spent more than two decades as a writer/editor, photographer, graphic designer and manager of creative teams in broadcast, print and the Internet. His education is in journalism, graphic design, organizational communication and law.
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