The fall network TV schedules have been released and one thing really stuck out – there is a ton of Sci-Fi programming on Friday. Although I am a huge SciFi fan, is this too much of a good thing?
Several of the networks have extensive Sci-Fi lineup scheduled for Friday. Of course, this discussion completely excludes ABC, who is running with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”, “Shark Tank” and “20/20″. Not much to see there.
CBS is not much better, with “CSI/NY” and “Blue Bloods”. Their new entry, “A Gifted Man” has hint of Sci-Fi (it’s about a surgeon whose deceased ex-wife begins teaching him the meaning of life), but I’m not counting it – it sounds more like a morality drama (i.e wild child learns to become a good man).
So, this discussion is really centered on FOX, NBC and the CW. The 8:00 PM timeslot is not too bad, with “Chuck” and “Nikita” battling it out. I have a dual-tuner TiVo – it’s not the end of the world! Two spy related shows might split the ratings, but hopefully there will be enough support out there to keep both shows alive.
But, the 9:00 PM timeslot is truly a deathmatch. Three Sci-Fi shows – “Supernatural”, “Fringe” and the brand new “Grimm” all air simultaneously!
I’m not sure what NBC is thinking here. “Grimm” sounds interesting (it’s about a detective who realizes that he is a “…descendant of an elite group of hunters known as ‘Grimms’ who are charged with stopping the proliferation of supernatural creatures in the world”), but going head-to-head (to-head) with “Supernatural” and “Fringe” is suicide.
Here’s my reasoning:
- Both “Supernatural” and “Fringe” have devoted fanbases, built up over several seasons.
- Both fanbases have survived cancellation scares, so they know that if they don’t watch their favorite show, it will be gone.
- There are a limited number of Sci-Fi fans in the world.
- The networks seem to assume that all Sci-Fi fans are home watching TV on Fridays. (Of course, that is ridiculous – every Sci-Fi fan timeshifts their TV watching via DVR or some other technology.) The networks are still discounting timeshifted viewers more than they should.
Basically, I doubt there are enough Sci-Fi fans watching on Friday to support three shows. Obvious, I know…but if one of these shows do not attract ‘normal’ viewers (aka “Lost”), there just are not enough viewers to push the rating numbers high enough to support all three shows. The *best* case is one show completely tanks, leaving the other two relatively healthy (and renewable).
The worst case is unthinkable – it would be the Friday Sci-Fi Apocalypse. Three shows, all of good quality, equally split the available viewership. And I think we all know what would happen in that case…
It all rides on “Grimm”. Let’s hope that it is either a huge success, or an abject total failure. Mediocrity bodes poorly for all three shows.