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Friday, May 29, 2009

Commentary with a Co-Ed: Friday night timeslot woes

by Ashley Gouveia

The television season is over and we are beginning to head into the land of seemingly never-ending reruns, but not before the networks announced their fall lineups. This begs the question, “Just where exactly our favorite shows are headed?”

It probably shocked a lot of you fellow tube watchers to find out that Ugly Betty and Smallville are both being moved to Friday nights. What were the networks thinking, and is this the kiss of death for these shows?

I think we have all had one of our favorite shows move to another night. That usually means that the network is trying to find a better spot for the show. It could also mean that the networks believe the show is on its last season and want to finish it off on whatever night is available. But a move to Friday nights is a sign of worry, more than any other night. Why is Friday a bad move? Well, the majority of the demographic that primarily watches these two shows is not home on Friday nights. The other bad thing about it is that even if the fans decide to record it, there is no way to show those numbers in the overall ratings. Do the networks even look at the TiVo numbers?

It’s a known fact that many shows that move to Fridays or premiere on that night don’t last too long. Remember the amazing Moonlight? Or more recently, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I was holding out hope that Terminator would not be cancelled but I knew that moving it to Fridays would not be a positive thing for the show. I know that Ghost Whisperer thrives on Friday nights, but that may be because it’s targeted for an older audience.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this past season of Ugly Betty, many thought that it lost some of its original charm. The ratings and the critical acclaim did suffer so is that why ABC decided to move it to its new time slot? Do they believe that Ugly Betty only has one more season left in them? I don’t think that’s true. I saw a lot of this show’s magic return in the season finale. If they fix some minor things, then Betty and Co. could live to see another season.

Smallville on the other hand is an entirely different story. This show has been on for eight seasons and many feel that it has worn out its welcome. It would seem that The CW would agree since they moved Smallville to Friday nights before an encore, (yep, encore), of America’s Next Top Model. Ouch! That move really doesn’t display much confidence from the network.

Do you agree that moving to Fridays is a bad sign for any show? Will you still watch Ugly Betty and Smallville at their new times?


tube talk girl said...

Interesting column, Ashley. I think the demo that watches Smallville probably has DVRs, so that will probably affect ratings. I think they count DVRS though if the show is watched within so many days of the original airing, if I'm not mistaken.

Ugly Betty has a different demo, I think so it may fare better on Friday nights.

Then again, Thursdays have been so crowded with good shows: The Office, 30 Rock, Grey's Anatomy and the aforementioned two that it may benefit the networks to switch days.

I remember when Friday nights produced good ratings. Yes I'm that old. Dallas and The Dukes of Hazard never seemed to have a problem.

The fact is that Smallville and Ugly Betty are better than most of the new crops of shows I'm seeing, so I for one will definitely be watching.

ashley said...

You make some great points Jen! I always get nervous for any of my faves to move to a night where it's not really a must see night. It's not like the old days when we used to have TGIF.

forg/jecoup said...

CW can't afford to lose Smallville, its the only scripted show they have that has an average of 4 million viewers, I'm thinking they are trying to strengthen the Friday night line up but yeah a new show should have followed Smallville not an encore

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