Ad Post: FOX – Fringe Moves to the Friday Night Death Slot

by Amy Yen

FOX 1:00 spot
Agency: FOX Marketing & Special Ops

This is a few weeks old, but I really wanted to give FOX some kudos for this clever & rather brave promo they released in response to the outcry over the recently announced move of Fringe to the supposed Friday Night Death Slot (as opposed to where it was before, otherwise known as the most competitive timeslot on TV). The 1:00 spot tongue-in-cheek threatens to “reanimate” Friday nights while actually quoting from the numerous blog and media posts lamenting the demise of the show. While, as a fan, I’ve been in the exact same state of emotion since the announcement—something in between unreasonable anger & self-pitying resignation—& as a pretty close observer of media trends, I cannot buy the idea that FOX can actually attract the teen demographic they are claiming to be going after, as an advertising & marketing junkie, I really admire FOX’s guts in putting out an ad like this.

As for Fringe’s chances of actually reanimating Fridays, I’m actually still clinging to a bit of hope. It’s no secret that the consensus is that this is Fringe’s best season yet creatively & it has a ton of critical support right now. I also think it’s pretty reasonable to think that its audience will follow it to Fridays, considering that, since they abandoned all notions of being a non-myth-arc-based show this year, the only people left watching are the die-hards anyway. As expected, the producers are spinning the move as positively as possible, but I do actually believe them when they say they’re still getting a lot of network support for the show. So, when Kevin Reilly says it’ll be a big win for FOX if Fringe can hang on to its existing (low) ratings on Fridays, I believe him. This is, after all, the man who renewed Dollhouse & gave Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles a full 22-episode second season. I also think that, with Fringe’s pedigree (I do think JJ’s name pulls some weight in this situation, particularly because Abrams’ Alcatraz is among FOX’s fall pilots), the idea that FOX might tell the producers up front that they’ll get a fourth season & it will be the last, for sure, isn’t out of the question.

At the very least, I expect FOX to give the writers enough notice to wrap up the story this year if it comes to that. And that will have to be enough. After all this, the move to the Fridays isn’t the one that upsets me. It’s the one to Thursdays, which I still don’t think should ever have happened. But what’s done is done & we might just have to be happy with three seasons of a great show. Let’s hope it’s four though.

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