When it comes to scripted dramas, Thursday is where every net has parked their big guns – and yesterday they all pulled their triggers. The big winner: ABC, with the highly hyped FlashForward delivering on the none-stop marketing efforts, and tried and true Grey’s Anatomy pulling back viewers to resolve a couple of cliff hangers. Other nets had some good success, as well; in particular CBS with The Mentalist, which transformed the eyeball net’s 10:00 slot into fertile ground once again.
Fringe suffered against Grey’s Anatomy’s first hour, and the CSI and The Office premieres. The whack-o scifi/drama finished fourth and failed to snare an impressive share of the target 18-34 demo. Ratings pundits are shrugging this off due to ‘premiere fever.’ I’m not. This thrashing showed that Fringe is out of its element in that time slot. A dark and oozy show like Fringe belongs at 10, but since FOX doesn’t stay up that late what are we to do with this awkward property? Fringe’s best hope for survival is in its ‘brand viability.’ I.e., ways you can make money off the show besides selling advertising. Fans and apologists seem to think FOX knew it wouldn’t perform well at 9 on Thursdays, and will continue to support it based on it’s creative potential. Yeah. And television executives are patrons of the arts who serve stockholders that understand a little non-profit work is all part of the game. I doubt it.
FlashForward had to have folks biting nails at ABC, but the numbers were out of control. Far from LOST-like in proportion, FlashForward’s numbers were impressive none the less, and included a convincing win over Survivor. FlashForward sucked in around 12.5 million live viewers, and won the hour with its share of the coveted 18-34 demo. Mr. Goyer, we’d like to order more episodes.
In smaller net news, Vampire Diaries showed some staying power. Expect a back-nine order soon [in other words, a full season.] Supernatural, surprisingly, held on to its numbers from last week. As for whether or not this means a sixth season is a lock, it’s way too early to tell. It’s tempting to say that Vampire Diaries is doing better than Supernatural, but considering the level of competition the Winchester brothers are facing I’d tend to disagree. Proportionally, Supernatural is still a winner for TheCW.