‘Fringe’ being jettisoned from Thursday into Friday evenings was never designed to be a well-deserved promotion or ratings stimulus plan. Yet some how, some way it defied the odds.
‘Fringe’ returned on Friday, January 21 with an episode ironically titled ‘Firefly’ and attracted approximately 4.9 million viewers with a 1.9 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic. Those results are remarkably on-par with what ‘Fringe’ was pulling in on Thursday evenings before moving to Friday over the holiday break.
The Friday time slot is considered a death blow to any show moved there. Look no further then Fox’s own ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,’ Joss Whedon’s ‘Firefly’ or any number of shows that were canned shortly after being dumped on that day.
A couple factors may have helped ‘Fringe’ retain most of its audience and perhaps attract new viewers where it should have seen a significant decline. Premiering before ‘Fringe’ was the popular reality show ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ which drew 4.3 million viewers. Surely some of them stuck around to see Christopher Lloyd of Back to the Future fame cameo on the J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot production.
According to EW, Fox won Friday evening with its ‘Fringe’ and ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ combo by pulling the best ratings numbers for the studio on that evening since 2008. The duo was going up against mostly re-runs but did have to contend with the series finale of ‘Medium’ on CBS. It also squares off against the CW’s ‘Supernatural.’
The future of ‘Fringe’ is still as murky as the Observers origin on the show. Fox chief Kevin Reilly opened up about the move to Friday during a recent press tour and said the show might be renewed for a fourth season if it can maintain its Thursday ratings on Friday. With one episode down it has so there’s still a renewal pulse.