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Fringe Producers And Star Weigh In On Friday Night Move

Although last night’s Fringe was arguably the very best episode of the season, few people tuned into watch it live. Entertainment Weekly reports that a mere 5.1 million viewers watched “Entrada,” which would be excellent numbers for a cable series like The Walking Dead or Sons of Anarchy, but not so much for broadcast television — certainly not in its competitive Thursday night time slot.

But Fringe’s inability to capture success on Thursday nights has many of the people involved with the series optimistic about the impending move to Fridays, beginning with the first episode following next week’s fall finale. Fox officials have already expressed their enthusiasm over Fringe’s new time slot, and now some of the show’s cast and crew are weighing in with their thoughts.

During a conference call with the press held earlier this week, executive producers and showrunners Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman enthused about the move to Friday nights. Wyman said:

We’re excited. We think it’s open territory that can be conquered. We really do believe our fans are loyal. I believe they’re going to follow. It’s a chance for us to sort of bring back that … and get away from that statement that Friday night is not an opportune night, though we can actually deliver like The X-Files did, or something like that. I think we both agree it’s a good opportunity.

Pinkner added:

When Fox informed us of the move, what was most important to us is we understand that our audience is watching the show not sort of like a standalone audience watches the show, but they’re actually watching it as an investment over time. We wanted to be able to tell our audience that the story, the ongoing, the long arching story that we have planned for our characters, is going to get told. It’s funny — there are more Fringe fans in the building at Fox than any show we’ve ever worked on before. I think they and we all feel that if we can build a fan base on and sort of like carve out some territory on Friday night, we can be there for years.

Elsewhere, John Noble — none other than Walter Bishop himself — gave an interview with The Los Angeles Times and added his own thoughts on the Friday move:

It was an interesting decision by Fox. We are creating some very exciting episodes, I think — we are making some great TV. The prevailing feeling is that moving to Friday nights may be a blessing in disguise. Less interruptions, and less big-time competition. Friday night may present a challenge, but our self-belief and commitment are sky high. Time will tell.

That’s three Fringe professionals, all of whom seem optimistic about the move to Fridays. Clearly, they’ve got a show to sell, so staying positive about the move is in their best interests, but they’ve also got some valid points. Perhaps the dreaded Friday death slot won’t be the end for Fringe — Olivia and the gang have faced much worse, after all — but it’s hard not to be at least a little bit nervous about the show’s future.


  • Adam Kirby

    I assume the nerds that watch Fringe don’t have anything better to do on Friday nights other than watch Fringe, so it should be fine.

  • Anonymous

    Seeing as how it’s a Friday night, I’m assuming you have nothing better to do than to comment on the nerds who have nothing better to do on Friday nights. ;-)
    This is a huge coin toss for the show, but it’s hard to see how it can be a good thing. It’s a fun, interesting and well thought out show and it will be unfortunate to see it bite the dust. Hopefully it’ll prevail.

  • DF

    We can only hope that Fringe be on Fridays for a couple of years and then switch to Sundays like X-Files did. Its about time that FOX took some of their stupid Sunday animated cartoons off and gave us something interesting on Sundays again imo. (note: I use to like Simpsons & Family Guy, but they haven’t been good in recent years. Never cared for American Dad or Cleveland Show).

    I’m trying to stay optimistic, but then I remember all the shows that have gotten canceled on Fridays….(X-Files was really the only one to survive…)

  • Adam Kirby

    Exactly. But it was either dick around on the internet or get high and watch cartoons, and I’m broke right now.

  • demoncat_4

    if the producers and even John who plays Walter are optimistic about Fringe surviving its friday death slot move. then maybe the show will be the one and breaks the friday death curse for sci fi shows like Fringe .only time will tell.

  • kalorama

    It’s not like they actually gave any real reasons why it would work. They basically said “we’re confident and hope for the best.” Well, really, what else were they going to say?

    I hope it works out, but the reality is what it is. Friday nights is where TV shows go to die. This seems particularly true lately with sci-fi/action/genre shows on Fox. (Although I will grant that Fringe is a much better show than Sarah Connor Chronicles or Dollhouse). Still, the bottom line is that the only reason the show is moving is because the audience numbers are falling, and there’s certainly no reason to think that MORE people will start watching on Friday. I guess the bar for acceptable numbers is lower on Fridays, but even so, a certain amount of continued bleed off is almost a given. In all likelihood, all they’re really doing is moving the patient out of the ICU and into palliative hospice care for the final days.

  • Erikgalston

    You realize that two years ago everyone was saying the exact same thing about Smallville when they moved it to Friday nights, and it still hasn’t “died” yet. Ratings are actually much better then anyone expected. So much so that even after having announced that the show was ending this year, there are still rumblings of another year.

  • Jrau18

    While true about Smallville, they were talking more about Fox’s success on Fridays. I, personally, feel it won’t do terrible, but the ratings will drop. I know a lot of people who watch both Fringe and Supernatural, and that several of them will choose Supernatural over Fringe. But really, it only has to get better ratings than Dollhouse season one, which is actually very likely.

  • kalorama

    One exception does not change the rule.

  • Sophmom

    If it’s getting DVRed on Thursday, it might as well get DVRed on Friday. I’ll watch it until it’s gone and be sad when it goes.

  • David

    Being opposite Supernatural is a rough choice for us nerds. :)

  • Isabella

    I’m nervous about it. How many Fox shows have lasted on Friday nights and done well? I haven’t heard of many, but I could be wrong about it though.

  • lazlo_toth

    You mean like how it killed Smallville and Supernatural?

  • lazlo_toth

    OK, Smallville AND Supernatural. There’s two. What does two exceptions mean?

  • kalorama

    Nothing, because they aren’t exceptions.

    (A) I was talking primarily about Fox shows. Smallville and Supernatural are on the CW.

    (B) Both Smallville and Supernatural had stronger ratings than Fringe to begin with so they had a larger margin for error.

    (C) Prior to being moved to Fridays, both Smallville and Supernatural announced that the the post-move season would be the final one; basically they were being moved to Fridays for the exact reason I said Fringe was: because the ratings were low and the network knew the shows were on their way out, so they decided to move them to a day where the low ratings would have less negative financial impact. And even though Smallville got an extra season, the fact remains that (1) the overall ratings continued to fall after the move and (2) within 2 seasons of being moved to Friday, both shows are going off the air, after airing for 5 or more years on other days.

    So, like I said: Fridays = Where TV Shows Go to Die.

  • Superboo75240

    If you love Fringe…make sure you check out Lance Reddick’s debut as a jazz vocalist at…available on iTunes!