So I’ve been reading a lot about how people are angry, worried, or confused about the move from Monday to Friday for FOX’s Dollhouse. Perhaps it’s because I’m a glass-half-full person when it comes to TV shows when they’re about to air (a reason why I sat through the horrible The Secret Life of the American Teenager premiere and beginning episodes), but I didn’t find this switch to be devastating. I thought that just maybe it was a good idea.
Fire up those torches and sharpen those pitchforks, but I do. Monday night is a killer night. I’m sure shows strive to be on it (and others, like The New Adventures of Old Christine might be aching to get back on it, though I don’t know how the ratings for that show are going). So hearing that Dollhouse might get a Monday night spot was just fantastic for a show that’s new.
But the problem is, shows fail. And it’s not based on whether it’s good or not. If that were true, I would like to ask people again how Secret Life is still a popular favorite. It’s based on who’s watching. And the big problem is that Monday nights, people tend to have booked.
As much as people claim it’s failing, Heroes is picking up steam again. It’s got a cult following for sure, so people just won’t give it up. The CBS Monday night lineup is HUGE with comedy, so certainly people might not pass that by once they’re home from work. The CW is stealing teenagers all over the place with Gossip Girl, and One Tree Hill is even growing. Basically, stealing viewers would be hard!
So moving it to Friday sounds pretty nice. At 9:00, it’s open for business. CBS just recently canceled The Ex List at that time slot, so clearly there are people out there looking for something to watch. But people think Friday is a dead zone. Who watches TV on a Friday?
That is an issue as of late. Sure, people still watch Ghost Whisperer and Numb3ers, but Moonlight couldn’t handle it, right? Different network, same issue. But Friday night used to be huge. TGIF was ABC’s Friday night for a long time. FOX was famous for The X-Files on Friday night. So why can’t we bring it back?
But this isn’t all just from me. FOX has some great words on the issue (and their entire schedule) here. The hows and whys are explained, and instead of screwing Dollhouse, they’re actually giving it a chance (along with Sarah Connor). Take a look at this excerpt:
Having all but abandoned scripted programming on Friday nights of late, Fox is jumping back onto the night in a very big (and expensive) way. Starting in February, the network will pair Joss Whedon’s lush new drama “Dollhouse” with the network’s big-budget action hour “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”
While “Dollhouse” has been plagued by production shutdowns and rumors that Fox executives are uncertain about its commercial appeal, Mr. Beckman said scheduling the show on Friday is simply a byproduct of trying to design the strongest possible schedule for the network.
Mr. Beckman doesn’t pretend that “Dollhouse” and “Terminator” have an easy path ahead of them. But, particularly in the case of “Dollhouse,” Mr. Beckman thinks the less competitive Friday night will give the show a better chance to build an audience than a more high-profile night.
“If we put it on Monday and it didn’t do well, we might have to yank it,” he said. But because Fox’s winter lineup should be solid on Saturday through Thursday nights, “We can afford to let these shows run their course. We can give them 12 or 13 weeks to find an audience.”
Overall, Mr. Beckman said his goal coming out of the 2008-09 season is “to have four tentpoles for next year, and if we surprise ourselves, a Friday night,” he said. “If these moves work, it sets us up nicely for next fall. And with a little luck from our development, I think that for the first time we can put together a schedule that could actually let us be No. 1 in the fall.”
Anyway, I’d say give it a chance. When shows like Drive have been canceled in only four episodes (or even Tru Calling‘s second season in six episodes), 12-13 sounds pretty good.