Lack Of Studio Support Stalling Decision On Future Of Syfy’s Drama Series ‘Sanctuary’

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SanctuaryUPDATE: I just got off of the phone with another source and I’m told that the producers of the series are waiting to hear from the primary backer of the series, The Beedie Group, about funding for a fifth season and have been for some time. I’m told they are hopeful that Beedie will approve funding and it is just taking longer than expected. Once that hurdle is cleared, the producers fully expect Syfy to green-light production on a fifth (and possibly final) season.

EXCLUSIVE: It has been four months since the conclusion of the fourth season of Amanda Tapping’s science fiction series Sanctuary on Syfy and still no decision has been reached on the future of the series.

Back in February, I was told that a decision on Sanctuary could be connected to what the network decided to do about a potential Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome series. Since then, Syfy has passed on picking up Blood & Chrome to series and, just this past week, we received word from three sources stating that the series had been cancelled. However, upon contacting representatives of Syfy, TVWise was informed that was not the case and that a decision had yet to be reached on whether or not they would order a fifth season.

What’s the hold up? A source at Syfy told me that the issue was not on Syfy’s side of things and in fact boils down to how the series is financed. ”Sanctuary is the only question mark on the scripted side. We have the figures, the series averaged a 0.4 [live+same day across season 4], advertising wise that’s worth what it’s worth,” one insider commented, “that and a few other factors will dictate our licensing fee. But the problem is that there is no studio support. If this was with UCP [Universal Cable Productions, NBCUniversal’s production company for cable shows], then you would have heard one way or another, the fact that the show is independently financed complicates matters.”

Indeed, I am told that with no major studio backing the series, the producers (notably Amanda Tapping and Damian Kindler) are forced to negotiate with a variety of investors to raise enough cash for each new season. According to Syfy that is where the hold up is: with individual backers of the series. That likely wouldn’t surprise too many people: getting backers for a series as expensive as Sanctuary (I’m told the average cost is $2.6 million per episode) in the middle of a recession is, undoubtedly, not an easy task. Where does that leave the series? I was told that if a renewal announcement wasn’t made by July at the latest, then the odds of getting the show back on on the air for fall 2012 would be slim.

TVWise will continue to monitor the situation with Sanctuary and we will bring you more as we have it.