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How the "American Idol" Time-Slot Move May Signal the Death of "Fringe"

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | November 22, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | November 22, 2010 |

Fox has unleashed its mid-season lineup, and there are a couple of big changes afoot. Foremost among them will be Fox’s decision to move “American Idol” from its regular Tuesday/Wednesday timeslot to Wednesday/Thursday, which means the results show will now go head-to-head with “Big Bang Theory” and (gasp) “Community.” I’m actually not that worried about “Community,” as I imagine there’s little crossover, and if “Community” can maintain the same ratings against “American Idol,” it’ll actually bode well for a third-season of the comedy (that is, assuming too, that NBC’s three-hour comedy block on Thursdays pays off).

The bad news here, at least for fans of “Fringe,” is that it’s getting moved to the time-slot graveyard, Fridays at 9 EST (remember what happened when “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and “Dollhouse” were moved to that time slot? “Fringe” only needs a guest spot from Summer Glau to gaurantee it won’t get a fourth season.

There might be some hope, however. It will not follow the ratings reliable “Kitching Nightmares” on Friday (although, that also makes for a terrible combination). But it also might be a smart move by Fox. “Fringe,” like “Parenthood,” is one of those television shows that does very well on DVR, which suggests that most folks, like myself, watch NBC on Thursdays and save “Fringe” for the weekend. DVR audiences won’t care that much about the time shift. And the expectations on Friday night are not as high. But then again, save for “The Ghost Whisperer” and news serials, nothing ever survives for very long on Friday nights. Keep your fingers crossed — Joshua Jackson (RIP) may yet die again.

Fox has also picked up a single-camera office comedy starring, of all people, Christain Slater, who has yet to take a television series to a second season after two tries. In April, it will get a cushy post-“American Idol” slot on Wednesdays. Meanwhile, “Glee” and “Raising Hope” will continue to anchor Tuesdays, and “Running Wilde” has been pulled. It will be replaced by “Mixed Signals,” It looks surprisingly decent (and hopefully a nice compliment to “Raising Hope”).

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.