Syfy's original film "Sharknado" was a big hit on social media, but the network attracted only about 1.37 million viewers Thursday, according to Nielsen. Quarter-hour ratings showed that any "Twitter bounce" was limited to a few hundred thousand additional viewers, at best. Still, Syfy's Thomas Vitale said ratings for the movie's initial airing are not the only measure of success. "[Viewers] understood that we were creating an event that was meant to provide entertainment. ... They all got that we were having fun."

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