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Fringe: Joshua Jackson Talks About the Friday Night Ratings

FringeA few weeks ago, Fringe fans pulled off something pretty remarkable. The series moved to Fridays and the ratings for the first couple of airings were essentially the same as they had been on Thursday nights. Fridays are one of the least-watched nights of television and FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said that, if the show could maintain its audience, it would be safe from cancellation. Few expected that it could do that but were proven wrong — for two weeks.

On Friday, Fringe was down in the ratings for the second week in a row. The sci-fi series attracted a mere 1.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 3.74 million viewers. That represents a series low for Fringe. Though this is still much better than what The Good Guys was bringing in, it’s certainly not a good sign for Fringe’s chances for a renewal and season four.

Series star Joshua Jackson was recently interviewed by EW and addressed the numbers:

Lots of fans have been sweating the future of Fringe, due to the move to Friday. How are you feeling about it? Are you hopeful about the future?
Having worked in television for awhile, I, like everyone else, went “Ooo, that’s not good” when they moved us to Friday. But my opinion on this is this: If all the people who watch Fringe -– on the day and date and on DVR -– tune in on Fridays for the next five or six weeks, then the show will be fine. The way to save the show is very simple: If you’re a hardcore fan of the show -– and in particular, if you’re a hardcore fan of the show with a Nielsen box -– you have to give us an hour of your time on Friday night. To its credit, [Fox] has given us every shot. We stumbled out of the gate the first year, but Fox stuck with us. In the second season, they may have had expectations that we didn’t meet when they moved us to Thursday night, but we held our own. And now, while we have lost something of the casual viewer, we retain a solid base of hardcore viewers. If the hardcores come with us to Friday night and stick with us for the rest of the season, we’ll be able to tell next year’s story.

What do you think? Will Fringe’s ratings rise again or is it doomed to be cancelled? Has your interest in the show waned? Should it be cancelled?

 

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Chuck Lewis February 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

My thanks to all who were involved with this outstanding example of great Sci-Fi. You will be missed but, you will acheive “cult status” as the years progress. I hope to see all of these fine actors & writers in future Sci-Fi series. Again, many many thanks for this iconic work.

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leslie February 15, 2011 at 11:53 am

The show is excellent & the acting superb–somehow Neilsen needs to find a way to join the 21st century & count the dvr watchers. In my opinion these are the most loyal viewers are the ones that count most. Any show i care about is quality tv & i ALWAYS dvr it & watch it at my leisure without the distraction of commercials. That is reality in this day & age & Neilsen needs to recognize that! On the RARE occassion that i watch a show live, it is one that i stumbled across & is completely forgettable junk.

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Isaura February 15, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Not only count DVR watchers but the people that watch it online. I am pretty sure that people watch episodes online. I am not sure if the show is On Demand, but that should also count for the ratings.

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B Whitman February 16, 2011 at 3:46 am

Your 1 statement says it all, that you watch the show on your dvr so you can skip the comercials. I am a creative director for one of the worlds largest Ad Agencies, the networks make their money from coommercials. This is why many networks don’t really like to count dvr numbers. Your comment is one of the problems!

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B Whitman February 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Also the Neilson rating co will never count viewers who whatch on their computers. Think about it Fox airs the show and the price of any ad is based on how many people ate watching it on Fox at 9:00PM on Friday. How does fox make any money when sepne like my nephew and is 9 friends watching Fringe on his computer, without commercials on a Sunday night? Fox makes nothing on these 10 viewers, so neeilson does not count then. Once again it is called commercial tv for a reason. Live rating = higher rates Fox can chRge for it’s advertised spots. Look at the super bowl, $3,000,000 for a 30 sec spot, 111 million LIVE viewers gets foxs that kind of income. If half the viewers DVR the Super bowl they would never make that kind of income.

If you people Fringe as much as you claim, then for the last 8 plus ESP. Whatch it live. 1 hour at 9:00pm on Friday night won’t kill you and if your a fan you will make sure that Fringe is renewed, simple.

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Harristh. February 15, 2011 at 10:22 am

I’m dying to see their next year’s story !

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Beth Coccaro February 15, 2011 at 8:25 am

Anna Torv is Murdoch’s niece.

Mr. Murdoch….I work for you. PLEASE SAVE THIS SHOW.

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Brandy February 15, 2011 at 7:12 am

I LOVE… LOVE…. LOVE this show there is no show out here that TOPS it!!!! It is AMAZING….you must must must keep this show on for a long time!! I will follow it to which ever day you want it to be on!! Bring it on;-)

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B Whitman February 15, 2011 at 3:49 am

This show should be with out a doubt renewed. Last week numbers where fine if you compare it to all other shows last week. Every show across the board, that adults watch where down, in large numbers. Example, CSI, 12.6 million viewers, it’s lowest rating ever in 11 years. Greys over at ABC drew about11 million, some of it’s lowest numbers ever. The only scripted show that stayed close to it numbers was the garbage Criminal Minds, about 13 million and the key demo 18-49 this poorly written low production quality show only pulled in about a 3.2. Fringe only getting a 3.79 million viewers not counting it’s DVR numbers drew a 1.4 in the 18-49 demo, since Fringe moved to Friday it has been able to have half it’s nbers in the key demo, these nbers may be low, but it pulls younger viewers , which is good,

The reason numbers where down accross the board is more people where watching the news and the revolution in Egypt, it is that simple!

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Dave February 15, 2011 at 3:43 am

Fringe is a great show but it airs at the same time as Supernatural. When Supernatural isn’t on everybody watches Fringe and vise-versa. Move Fringe back to Thursday and it will rule!!

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MK February 15, 2011 at 8:56 am

Agreed. This was a dumb move as there is a lot of shared viewership between these two shows. Personally I Tivo both, but tend to watch Fringe right away, and then Supernatural after it or even over the weekend.

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Kat February 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Yeah, why’d they have to put it in the same slot as Supernatural? You’d think anyone with a brain would see that there’s a huge overlap in those viewing audiences… I guess no one takes The CW seriously (not that I blame them… it’s hard to care about whatever million or so people show up for those shows, lol). But Supernatural and Fringe are two of the best shows on television! Luckily, I can tape in two different rooms, but man… if I had to choose, I don’t think I’d be able to do so.

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Fred February 15, 2011 at 1:08 am

I’m home usually every night so the move to Friday was OK. It’s also not up against else I would watch. On Thursday I had to use the DVR. Good luck Fringe!!!!!

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annie February 14, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Fringe is the best show on TV as far as we’re concerned. We have a multi-aged family and we all love it. The damn ratings should be blown up! Give it one more season to wrap things up. Let a fourth season make it or brake it.

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mrsports February 14, 2011 at 9:47 pm

This is the best show on TV and unfortunately it’s going to be canceled, the writing is on the wall… i like to record the show and watch 2-3 shows at a time… good point, Jean, on the Neilsen ratings, they are not very relevant in 2011… I am puling for this show and a few others (Human Target, V, Lie to Me, Chase, The Event) to make it but I highly doubt any of them will see late into 2011… it’s also hard for shows to catch on with any loyal viewership when: 1. the networks move shows to different time slots with little advertising, 2. take the show off the air mid-season and don’t run it again for 2 months…

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Halo February 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Maybe if it didn’t jump from night to night mid-season, or have huge long breaks between episodes, the show would still have a decent viewership of people who aren’t just the hardcore fans. Me, I love the show, I’ll follow it whenever and where ever it goes, but I live in Canada and don’t have a ratings box, so how does my viewership even matter?

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Jean February 14, 2011 at 8:09 pm

There is a story here, Fringe should be given the chance to finsh it. Ratings for television have change unfortunately Neilsen has not chnaged to the degree it needs too. The more favourite shows are now taped and held and kept to watch at ones leisure and over and over again. People keep them until the DVD’s come out for that particular season. The least favourite are watched live and gone with the wind.

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Anonymous February 15, 2011 at 1:27 am

I totally agree!! I think that the t.v. stations should really take these figures into account, in this day and age of technology, we are being told that you don’t need to be there to watch a show when its on telly, u can record it and watch it back whenever you please. So on one hand we are encouraged to do this, to use these new facillities, yet on the other, if we don’t watch these shows the night they go out, they think that NO-ONE is watching (well, not enough people in THEIR opinion!) and seek out to have the show cancelled!! I was really cross when Flash Forward was not continued with, as I feel that that particulare series could have really carried the story on for quite a while, with plenty of twists and turns, just like Fringe, but alas, it was designated to the t.v. graveyard in the sky!!

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Craig February 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Ryanrpm just pointed out why the series will be cancelled. Nielsen box viewers are not the kind of viewers capable of watching a show with depth.

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Tony February 15, 2011 at 3:14 am

I’d say Americans clearly aren’t capable of watching a show with depth. Nielsens are random, but Americans don’t support good TV.

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Kat February 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm

What are you getting at — I’m American and Fringe keeps me on the edge of my seat with every viewing, I love it.

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Ryanrpm February 14, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I think the show should unquestionably be renewed. I’ve never been hooked on a TV show like this one. There is so much depth to the stories and hidden features that anyone could go back and still dig out things for years to come. My hope is that it goes on for 10+ seasons!

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thegrimmling February 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I like the show a lot, but the move to Friday pretty much is going to kill this show.

I think one of the things that keeps new viewers from the show is that the stories are not self-contained to an episode or few. I prefer long-running storylines, but that scares off newer viewers with join late in the game.

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