Ever since “Fringe” moved from Tuesdays to Thursdays, it has been pounded in the ratings. But that hasn’t stopped Fox from continuing its Thursday experiment with the show in its third season, keeping it right where it is for the 2010-11 season.
Fox unveiled its schedule for next season Monday, deciding to keep mostly the same formula it used this year toward a third-place overall finish in the ratings.
Viewership for “Fringe” has fallen more than 38 percent since its move to Thursdays, creating some speculation that the show may not even receive a pickup for a third season. Its freshman year ended with a 6.3 rating/10 share in average overnights — sometimes boosted by an “American Idol” lead-in. This year, however, ratings have averaged a 3.9/6 on Thursdays, competing against some of the other network’s powerhouses like “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC and “CSI” on CBS, which are averaging an 8.4/13 and a 9.2/15 respectively — more than twice the “Fringe” audience.
To Fox’s credit, however, the network has acknowledged it knows “Fringe” is in a tough timeslot, and truly believes its combination of “Bones” and “Fringe” could help the network compete on Thursdays, which has historically been a night dominated by the original three networks. It helped Fox give “Fringe” a third season order despite the large ratings hit the show took this season.
Although it’s not really a genre show — since it is very loosely based on the comic book — but Fox has kept “Human Target” around only to anchor its Fridays where Fox has averaged only a 1.6/3 — only slightly better than “Smallville”-led The CW, which has averaged a 1.5/3 in the timeslot.
Fridays have not been a good day for any network, the best numbers coming from CBS, which manages only a 4.9/9. The overall 3.0/5 average among all the networks make this the lowest rated day of the six-day week. Other days usually finish in the 5.0 household rating range overall, with Tuesday the best day with a 5.5/9 led by CBS’ 10.1/16 average.
None of Fox’s new shows on its announced schedule are considered to be genre-related, meaning “Fringe” will have to bear the burden alone for the network. Fox has ordered a series from Steven Spielberg (with former “Star Trek: Enterprise” showrunner Brannon Braga at the helm) called “Terra Nova,” but that has not been made a part of the network’s primetime schedule quite yet.