To nobody’s surprise, the SciFi Channel has renewed Battlestar Galactica for a fourth season. The series has garnered plenty of critical acclaim since its debut, winning a Peabody award for its high-quality scripting (including that of Superman/Batman writer and comic book veteran Mark Verheiden, who is also an executive producer of BSG) and making the American Film Institute’s top 10 outstanding TV programs two years in a row, and the ratings shot up even more with the show’s recent move to Sunday nights.
Another major factor in the no-brainer decision had to do with new viewing habits. On the one hand, more than a million BSG DVDs have been sold, offsetting production costs considerably (SciFi admits BSG is its most expensive original series). On the other hand, SciFi’s Mark Stern told the LA Times that 510,000 additional viewers in the 18-to-49 demographic are watching the show on DVRs, for which advertisers don’t yet pay (on the general assumption is that viewers fast-forward through ads during playback). The Times’ Denise Martin says this "could be a crucial point for the channel, and Stern is hopeful that the business model is shifting." The renewal could also give a greater boost to plans involving a direct-to-DVD BSG movie.