Fringe has performed consistently in the ratings for three seasons – and has become a worthy successor to Fox’s iconic sci-fi series, The X Files. However, since Fringe was moved from its Thursday night slot to Friday night back in January, anxious fans have been waiting for the seemingly-inevitable ratings hit.
Despite a strong mid-season opening, viewership dropped 16% and 13% in the last two weeks respectively.
For its first season, Fringe averaged nearly ten million viewers an episode. The series survived a move to Thursday night in its second season, consistently scoring more than seven million views per episode. But, Friday night’s episode scored a mere 3.7 million, despite a high-profile Super Bowl ad a week prior.
Read on if you’ve heard this before: the Friday time-slot has been given the bitter nickname – the “Friday Night Death Slot.” The scheduled slot has claimed promising Fox shows in the past, including Dark Angel, Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Dollhouse - and those are just the science fiction shows. Fox isn’t the only network to move underwhelming or disregarded shows to Friday night – but it has a well-documented history of canceling these shows post-move.
That said, Smallville and Supernatural, Fringe‘s sci-fi competition on The CW have fared well throughout the last season in the Friday night lineup. But this past Friday night appeared to be hard on everyone, Smallville received 2.3 million views while Supernatural scored an even 2 million (lower numbers than Fringe - but stronger performances considering The CW’s smaller viewership). Both took a 10% hit from the previous week, though news of Smallville‘s developing finale and returning co-stars like Michael Rosenbaum may help propel its numbers higher in the home stretch. Even CSI: NY, which has been a heavy hitter on Friday nights, took a 21% hit to 9.7 million viewers.
So, Fringe fans, what can you do to keep your favorite show from becoming the latest death slot victim? Believe it or not, there are some proactive steps you can take. First and foremost: watch the show live. Nielsen ratings use a limited pool of observed households for the official ratings, but more and more digital TV providers are allowing networks access to more relevant numbers. If you have a TiVo or another DVR, watching live will be particularly helpful.
Also, you can spread the word on your favorite social network: advertisers are paying attention to public Facebook news feeds and trending topics on Twitter. And if you really want to go the extra mile, you can always write to Fox directly at their feedback email address, email@example.com. Excessive pejoratives are not recommended, although you might ask them why Lie To Me hasn’t been moved to give both shows a ratings boost.
Fringe airs Fridays at 9:00 PM.
Source: Entertainment Weekly