'Fringe' shines creatively but falters in ratings; fans still flock to 'Grey's Anatomy'

thursday-ratingsImage Credit: Danny Feld/ABC; Liane Hentscher/Fox; Chris Haston/NBCIt was arguably the best, most original episode of Fringe to date. Too bad so many of you missed it: Only 5.1 million people tuned into the Fox drama Thursday night, which was also down 5 percent in adults 18 to 49 (1.8 rating/5 share) from its most recent airing on Nov. 18. If this genre series were on AMC (or featured zombies), the media world would be calling it a monster hit. Sadly, the threshold for success is far different on broadcast TV, so Fringe will always be viewed as a niche performer with a small but rabid fan base. Let’s hope it finds a far more comfortable home on Fridays where it’ll face less competition.

ABC was the network that ruled Thursday in 18-49 (3.1/8). Following the annual special Santa Claus is Coming to Town (2.3/7, 7.3 million), Grey’s Anatomy scored a timeslot-winning 4.0/10 and 10.9 million viewers,  followed by Private Practice (2.9/8, 7.9 million). NBC finished second in the demo (2.2/6) for airing originals of Community (1.9/6, 4.5 million), 30 Rock (2.3/6, 5 million), The Office (3.7/10, 7.3 million), Outsourced (2.5/7, 5.3 million) and The Apprentice (1.4/4 4 million). Fox finished third in the demo, with Bones posting a 2.4/7 and 8.8 million.

CBS was fourth in the demo (1.9/5) because it aired repeats. It came in first, however, in viewers (9 million), followed by ABC (8.7 million), Fox (7 million), NBC (5 million), Univision (3.8 million) and The CW (3.2 million). The CW won the night in teens and females 12-17.

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  • Devo

    I watched Greys live and then Fringe on the DVR, and then wished I’d done it the other way around. Fringe was way better.

    • Marc

      People like you Devo are the problem. Why not watch Fringe “live” and DVR Grey’s Anatomy? Fringe needs the live viewers or it will be cancelled.

      • MK

        They say that something like 50% of Fringe’s audience watches it later on DVR, which is why the network doesn’t mind moving it to Fridays. If most people are watching it later anyways, why not get it off the toughest night of TV? I agree that Tuesdays or Wednesdays would be a better night for it, but I’m willing to follow it to Friday because it really is the best show on right now.

      • Devo

        My lady has ONE favorite show, and it’s Greys. I has no defense. Grey’s has always been on Thursday, Fringe get moved there. I blame FOX.

      • Anne

        Unless Devo has a Nielsen box, it doesn’t matter.

      • Scott

        Unless he happens to be part of a nielsen family, he is not part of the problem at all.

      • Jay

        Live viewings only matter for those lucky dozens that have a Nielsen box. The tv ratings system is a joke.

      • Devo

        Thanks folks. “People like Marc” are why I hardly ever post on EW.

      • Hen

        I’m in the same position as Devo, exact same. : (

      • myprettypony

        Devo: your lady has bad taste. This lady loves Fringe and would never watch it on DVR!

    • Kris

      Fringe is by far my favorite show on TV. I can’t wait until its on every week, it’s pretty much the ONLY show i look forward to besides Glee which hasn’t been that great this season. It pains me that there’s talk that Fringe is on the chopping block again. It really does seem that every show I like gets the boot. I think the ratings system is antiquated and needs to be revamped, I think they would be surprised at which shows America actually watches if they had a TRUE way to measure. Fringe Rules! Keep the best and smartest show on TV going!!

      • Will

        I don’t know what you mean. The rating system seems perfectly accurate. It’s clear that America demands at least 17 variations of Law & Order to run simultaneously, along with an endless slate of other medical and legal dramas.

      • Kris

        LOL,exactly my point man.

  • Anjali

    Fringe is SUCH a good show!! Why aren’t you all watching???

    • Jay

      Because people would rather watch mindless drivel than actual in-depth storylines that make you think and take you to other universes

    • Brian

      I watched the first couple of episodes of season one and it just didn’t catch me. The blonde didn’t have much personality and it felt very freak-of-the-week. I’ve heard that it’s gotten really good but at this point I just don’t have the time to invest in jumping in this late in the game.

      • Ruby

        Trust me. The show has turned into the best on television – just keep watching S1 and you won’t regret catching up. It’s so well written!

      • davey

        I have a couple of friends who watched the first few episodes as well and had the same problem keepin up with the monster-of-the-week feel of Season 1. I tell them that it’s become one of the best – if not THE BEST shows on television today.

      • Leithen

        The amazing thing about her lack of personality in the first few episodes is that you actually see in Anna Torv’s performance as the alternate version of herself how much that is a function of the role, and not of the actress. The breaking down of the walls she’s built around her gave Torv a very unique acting showcase.

      • Shannon

        I gave up after the first few episodes then caught Season 1 on DVD, so trust me when I say WATCH IT. It gets better as the season progresses. I think in the beginning the show was trying to find itself so the first few episodes are ‘freak of the week’ but the story arc started to appear towards midseason.
        It is worth watching.

      • jaysin420

        Yea the first half of S1 is like a totally different show. It was basically all about John Scott and he’s never been mentioned since.

        And Torv has gotten a billion times better, I almost stopped watching cause she was so boring and now she’s my fave actress alive.

      • dave

        My wife loves it and after the second season so do I, first season is rough.

      • john

        My sister told me about Fringe so I watched. I told her that I couldn’t stand Olivia (Anna Torv) because her character wasn’t feminine enough for me (too macho). I’ve been watching since season one and can’t understand why people tune into Med. Dramas, Law & Order or CSI. It’s all the same after a while. Murders, Doctor Romance, Public Defense and prosecution.

      • Nate

        I was actually in the same boat as you. Watched the first few episodes, thought the effects were great but couldn’t get into the arch or the lead character of Olivia. Boy, was I friggin wrong!! Just last month I cleared my nights for a week and made my ass watch this show because of all the praise I was hearing about. I must say, it is one of the smartest, funniest, and most intriguing stories I’ve ever watched on TV. And the detail these people put into the show… if you watch and pay attention to everything, it’s astounding.

        WATCH. THIS. SHOW.

    • Eric

      I’m gonna watch this episode because of te good word of mouth, but in general I find Fringe to be a slightly more creative procedural. Also, I was out last night (and most Thursdays), so I couldn’t catch it live.

    • Troy

      Because some people (judging by the ratings, seemingly MOST people) find sci-fi shows to be utterly retarded.

    • Epoch

      It’s definitely a good show. The writing is astounding! I’m amazed how each episode ties into an overall storyline while not always being directly related to the events that tie them together.

      They’ve also done a very nice job making Olivia more transparent to viewers and increased the emotional aspects of the characters.

  • LOL

    NBC comedies were very good last night. It’s a shame those ratings don’t improve.

  • Jay

    I watched both, and I honestly dont even remember what happened in Grey’s. Oh yeah, some girls broke up, then the one came back and got the door slammed in her face.
    Thats an hour I’d like to have back.
    Fringe, on the other hand was phenomenal!!1 Cant wait to get back into it in January

    • Kerry

      I was thinking about live watching Grey’s but decided to stick with Fringe and it’s a decision I was absolutely happy about because after watching the recording of Grey’s it was all about the same relationship thing all over again.

    • DC

      There is a new episode next week still before winter break.

  • tracy bluth

    I can’t stand to even watch one second of Grey’s Anatomy, so the fact that so many people watch it instead of Fringe, the best show on TV right now, makes me royally p!ssed off.

    • JAM

      I am right there with you on this. Unfortunately the vast majority likes mindless drivel about… actualy i don’t know what Greys is about, Anatomy I’m assuming but it’s probably just a prime time soap opera.

      • Yoshi

        Pretty much. Just another T.V drama using horribly cliché ideas and trying to make them seem original. It’s all the same. If you have watched one, you have watched them all.

  • Chris

    Fringe should follow American Idol on the schedule. FOX could have another X-Files on their hands, instead they let the show die in the Thursday death slot while they have their head up Glee’s arse.

  • Carter

    People c’mon! We’ve seen the same break, make up, find someone else stories in Greys. At least in Fringe you can unknowingly have an affair with your love’s doppleganger (alternate self). Now that’s original.

    • tracy bluth

      And you have a character who in the 70s spent 3 days with a woman who looked nothing like his wife!

      • Ben

        And the word Vagenda

      • davey

        My new favorite word V-A-G-E-N-D-A

      • JAM

        Best Walterism ever! I loved hearing ‘Vagenda’

      • Ne Oublie

        “… and he fell right into her vagenda.” I love the Walterisms!

    • Kasey

      That was one of the best story arcs on television. Not once did I ever feel it was dragged out. This just goes to show you how superb the writing is.

  • stu

    Outsource is such a cute show.

  • Fox You

    Damn you FOX! I suggesting swapping Fringe’s time slot with Glee.

    • Zombie Jesus

      Don’t worry, FOX will do the right thing and cancel a smart show in favor of a reality show, like “Twittering with the Stars”.

      See Firefly for example.

      • JustFringe

        Firefly was another awesome sci-fi show that got canned. Unbelievable.

        Fringe is a very engaging show. I don’t watch reality TV. I wish networks will do the population a favor & showcase more intellectually stimulating shows like Fringe instead of embarrassing reality fare.

      • JustFringe

        By the way, “twittering with the stars” Very funny :)

        God help us, a network just might do that.

      • Chris

        And also Dollhouse. That was another great sci-fi show that died on friday. Fringe is unfortunately going to suffer the same fate. Really wish Fox would quit being an idiot…

      • Charles

        Or Drive. The Neilsen system is so antiquated its not even funny.

      • Tajah

        I swear, because I love this show it will get canceled. Happened with Firefly, Dollhouse etc. Seems like there is no room for intelligent shows out there.

  • Brad

    I stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy 2 years ago. Neilsen Ratings are worthless anyway. Middle class America are the only ones who have these “people meters” anyway. It’s all a bunch of bull and mindless sitcoms last forever (2 and a half men) while brilliant shows (Better Off Ted) get canceled right away.

    • Jay

      “while brilliant shows (Better Off Ted) get canceled right away”

      Quoted for truthery

      It still pains me to the core that we wont get to see Veridian Dynamics anymore :(

    • teacher

      I’m middle class America and I loved Better Off Ted. Don’t make assumptions about people!

  • Sloane

    Fringe is the best show on television bar none.

  • Maddi

    It would probably help if they weren’t putting it up against monster hits like Grey’s and The Office.

  • Zombie Jesus

    These ratings are all BS. You have a smart, engaging show like Fringe that gets low ratings but then Two and a Half Men is the #1 show on television?!?!?!

    I am not afraid of muslims. I am not afraid of conservatives and I am not afraid of gays.

    But I am terrified at the thought of idiots controlling what stays/goes in any aspect of life that isn’t their own.

    Idiots are the real terrorists.

    • girlgorenfan

      “Idiots are the real terrorists” – Hilarious

      Don’t know if it’s the upper respiratory infection I have, or what, but I’m just sitting here thinking: “If you watch ‘Jersey Shore’, then the terrorists will have won” and LMAO.

  • LML-H

    I love Fringe, and last night was incredible. Exciting, happy, sad and interesting. The initial rating don’t tell the whole story. Fringe really comes alive once the DVR numbers are added in. They need to look at that too.

  • ThunderMug

    I say follow Glee with Fringe, then watch the ratings go up. “Grey’s” & “Private” are garbage, what crackers watch that drivel?

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