How Many People Need To Watch Sarah Connor To Save The Future?

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returns this Friday after its troubled Monday night run, and a website has worked out what ratings it needs to make it to a third season. Warning: Fuzzy Math ahead.

Ratings tracking site TV By The Numbers sat down to look at whether Sarah Connor's new timeslot is as much of a graveyard as fans suspect, and the answer isn't exactly what you'd expect:

[The show's ratings] on Mondays last Fall were the 3rd worst for any Fox scripted show. With those results on a Monday it would certainly have been cancelled at the end of the season... On Friday, expectations by the network may be different, owing to the perceptions of the difficulty in maintaining successful scripted shows that night. While the number of people watching television is only about 15% lower than it is on Thursday night, the broadcast networks have put themselves in somewhat of a chicken and egg situation. Except for CBS, which has seen some success, the other broadcast networks have either programmed cheap unscripted shows on the night, or made Friday the dumping ground for their scripted shows that were either failures elsewhere (Lipstick Jungle), cost subsidized (Friday Night Lights), or strategic leftovers (The Game, Everybody Hates Chris).

And so, the magic number that the site predicts will keep it alive, based on previous network decisions?

If Terminator can sustain more than a 2.0 demo rating, it has a reasonable chance of being renewed. Below that, and Terminator is going to be cancelled.

In plain English, that's 2.61 million viewers (EDIT: No, it's not. My math was based on bad information. Sorry). Unfortunately, the site isn't optimistic about its chances:

Sadly, and I'm a fan of the show, I don't think that's going to happen. I will predict a sustained 1.7 rating for the show on Friday.

Perhaps we should start planning the letter-writing campaign now.

Will Terminator Be Renewed Or Cancelled? How Well Must It Do On Friday? [TV By The Numbers]