LOS ANGELES — The fourth installment in Syfy’s cult “Sharknado” franchise is paying homage to “Star Wars” with its title newly revealed title: “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens.” Syfy also announced the premiere date for the telepic, which will air at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 31, on the cable network.
Set five years after the East Coast was ravaged in last summer’s “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No,” Fin (Ian Ziering), his family and the cosmos have been blissfully sharknado-free in the intervening years, but now sharks — and ’nados! — are being whipped up in places (and ways) least expected.
Tara Reid will return as April Wexler to reveal the outcome of the fan-voted #AprilLives or #AprilDies social media campaign, which will determine the fate of her character. David Hasselhoff and Ryan Newman will also reprise their “Sharknado 3” roles, alongside new cast additions including Gary Busey, Cheryl Tiegs, Tommy Davidson, Imani Hakim, Cody Linley and Masiela Lusha.
“Sharknado: The 4th Awakens” is a production of The Asylum. Anthony C. Ferrante returns to direct an original screenplay written by Thunder Levin.
Nielsen estimates that “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No” averaged a 0.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 2.81 million viewers for its 9 p.m. premiere — down from 2014’s “Sharknado 2: The Second One” (1.3 in 18-49, 3.87 million viewers overall). Still, “Sharknado 3″ delivered ratings about three times the network’s average.
The original “Sharknado,” which aired in July 2013, drew a modest 0.4 demo rating and 1.37 million viewers for its premiere, but social media helped turn the film into a minor cultural phenomenon and a couple of replays fared better in the ratings.
Syfy is hoping to replicate the watercooler success of the franchise on April 1, with the premiere of zombie western “Dead 7,” another nostalgia-fueled genre pic which features alums of ’90s boybands including the Backstreet Boys, ’N Sync, 98 Degrees and O-Town.