Uh-oh: 'Fringe' ratings drop again

Fringe-immortality_320.jpg Image Credit: Image Credit: Liane Hentscher/Fox Nooooo! Is the Friday death slot curse tightening its grip on Fringe?

After two weeks of maintaining its Thursday ratings in its new Friday time period, the Fox drama slipped 16 percent last week. Last night, it slipped 13 percent further — to 3.7 million viewers and a 1.4 in the preliminary adult demo. Lead-in Kitchen Nightmares (3.7 million, 1.5) dropped 12 percent.

The CW’s Smallville (2.3 million, 0.9) and Supernatural (2.0 million, 0.9) took a mild hit too, both down 10 percent from last week.

Friday night wasn’t very kind to the second episode of CBS’ The Defenders (7.9 million, 1.1) in its new time period either. The legal drama fell 15 percent from last week, and it’s tough to imagine CBS bringing back the show for another season if ratings continue to hover close to this number. At 9 p.m., CSI: NY (9.7 million, 1.5) was down 21 percent from last week’s episode that aired at 10 p.m. and had a stronger lead-in.

The second week of NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are (6.6 million, 1.4), with Tim McGraw as the celebrity guest, went against the downward stream and improved a tenth. Dateline (5.7 million, 1.4) followed. ABC aired 20/20 (6.4 million, 1.6).

Read more:
‘Fringe': Joshua Jackson answers your questions
‘Fringe’ recap: Meet the Beetles

Comments (172 total) Add your comment
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  • Olle

    NO NO NO NO NO! They can NOT cancel my favorite show on the air at the moment. It would ruin me.

    • Kate

      I think once DVR numbers are added, Fringe will get a big boost in the ratings. However, from this article, everything was down this week. American Idol also had its lowest ratings this seasons, so its not just Fringe.

      • Wil

        The only problem with that is the decrease will affect Fringe much more than American Idol…

      • taxgirl

        I hope the same day and +3 DVR numbers help, but maybe it would also help IF THEY DIDN’T LEAVE JOSH COMPLETELY OUT OF AN EPISODE!!!!!

      • Justaguy

        If you look at TiVo CSI gets bigger numbers and Fringe is getting the same numbers is got before it changed to Friday. Hulu does not give out numbers but we must begin to assume the worst.

      • T

        I wonder if advertisers care about DVR numbers? That’s what makes the decisions if advertisers want to buy space. I know I always fast forward all ads in dvr.

      • laura

        DVR numbers don’t mean crap except that a ton of viewers don’t like the show enough to watch it live. They don’t count toward the advertising rates. FRINGE IS DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • paul

      IT’S VALENTINE’S DAY WEEKEND!!!! Half the Universe is out p!$$!ng their money away on roses and dinners and weekend getaways – they’ll watch everything on DVR or online next week!!

      • sawyerf8

        Let’s just hope FOX realizes that

      • wise24153

        How refreshing to hear from a voice of reason ;o) Love trumps TV

      • Marc

        Apparently James Hibberd wasn’t p!$$!ng his money away on Valentines weekend, or he might’ve realized this simple fact.

        Instead, let’s generate pageviews with some old fashioned PANIC! Wheee

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    • Rush

      The ratings may have dropped, but doesn’t look like the non-counterprogramming competition did all that well either.

    • Tim Powell

      Most of my friends who are FRINGE fans watch it on DVR or HULU or elsewhere. I LOVE this show. I’d hate to see fox dump it due to their faulty polling system.

  • Angel

    Nooooooo! Please Fox don’t cancel this show! Please spread the word that Fringe is worth watching live!!!

    • Chris

      As much as I hate for another show to get killed by friday, the damage is already settling in. And no amount spreading the word will help. It didn’t work with firefly or dollhouse.

      • Brian

        Fringe still beat Supernatural, so it’s not all bad news. We’re still well ahead of where other Friday shows were when they were cancelled.

      • Will

        @ Brian,
        I love Fringe, but it is not saying much when a show on FOX beat a show on the CW.

      • @Will

        I dont follow your logic entirely. FOX is one of the big four networks, why wouldn’t it beat a CW show?

      • El Mexicano

        Yeah but Dollhouse wasn’t very good. Firefly was good.

    • Louis

      If it makes it to the 4th season, release the Fringe DVD earlier. The only reason I’m not watching is I am too far behind. Give me some breathing room.

      • Michaela

        @Chris–wow. I haven’t seen very much of the current season (still catching up!) but the idea that no action taken by fans will have any impact whatsoever is a little too negative, in my opinion. for many shows over the past few years, fan enthusiasm and willingness to spread the word has allowed shows to stay on past a time when the big C (cancellation, in this case) was looming.
        @Louis–I certainly hope we get a fourth season! and I totally feel your pain-it’s really hard to watch online, so I’d love an earlier release date for season 3 DVDs so I can watch live next year (fingers crossed!)

  • Jennifer

    WTF?? come on people watch it LIVE!! FRINGE deserves more!

    • cyberus

      Would love to watch it live, when it was on Tuesday I could, then it moved to Thursday and now Friday and since I’m at work I can’t.
      Sadly the ratings system is out of sync with the times, with more and more people moving to the service sector job wise, to see primetime tv people have to DVR (or the equivalent).

      • Lisa

        From what I understand, DVR ratings are counted in their own right. I watch all my shows on DVR as do most people I know, so I would think those ratings will be taken into account when a show is up for renewal or cancellation. If Fringe goes, it would completely suck! Best show on TV right now.

    • Lisa

      Here’s how ratings are counted, taken from an article:
      Live – Just as you’d expect, this measures how many people watched a show live, not recorded. When you pause a show via DVR for 25 seconds or more, you’re kicked out of the “live” category.
      Live + Same – This is how many people watched a show live or via DVR on the same day the show aired.
      Live + 7 – This is how many people watched a show live or via DVR in the seven days following the show’s broadcast.
      C3 – This is a measure of the commercials watched both live and within three days via DVR playback. It’s the metric under which much of prime-time advertising is bought and sold.

      • Pete

        Lisa the information you provided is irrelevant. The Nielsen ratings are not the least bit accurate because they don’t have any way of counting the correct number of viewers. They use a very small biased sample, 99.97817% of American households have no input at all into what is actually being watched. Network executives are stupid for using this method!

      • Will

        @ Pete,
        Lisa’s information is not irrelevant if this is the way network executives measure ratings.

      • Stef

        I have to admit I’m a little confused too, about how much Nielson ratings count versus non-Nielson ratings, and what determines who gets a Nielson box?

        Guess it’s time to do some Googling…

      • Jesse

        No, Lisa’s info is not irrelevant but what I think Pete means is that it doesn’t matter what you watch if you do not have Nielsen Box. If you do not own a Nielsen Box then you ARE NOT counted when it comes to ratings. The worst part is that there is no way to get one unless you are CHOSEN to get one.

      • DotDotDot

        Interesting information. You’d think with technology being what it is, with most people watching via cable box/satelite/dvr, it would be easier to get a much larger sample and more accurate reading of what people are really watching. Nielsen’s methods are outdated.

      • cc

        But what if you’re not watching Live or DVR? I hardly watch any shows when they broadcast any more. There’s too much going on on in real life to be tied to the TV on a particular day and time. If I don’t catch a show at the regular time, I’ll look for alternate airing if available, watch OnDemand through Comcast, or watch online on legitimate sites (Hulu, Netflix, network site, etc.)within two or three days of original airing. That covers 98% of the shows I watch. Why pay more for DVR? Are OnDemand and legitimate online viewings counted?

  • Johnification

    Well, at least everything fell about equally.

    • elr

      That tells me that not as many people were watching tv overall or at least not network television. I felt better since it appears every shown was down some.

      • The Dude

        I agree with this 100%. Nearly EVERY show that aired this week was down substantially from previous weeks, including a lot of the heavy hitters (ex: American Idol). Yes, it’s sad that the numbers were down, but I don’t think it’s an indication of decreased interest in “Fringe”…I just think, for some reason, people just weren’t watching the Big 4 networks for one reason or another.

    • James Hibberd

      I circled back to a broadcaster and asked them why so many shows were down the past couple days. They asked their research team and nobody could figure out a singular cause. Could just be the usual ebb and flow of TV viewership. At any rate, yeah, Fringe isn’t the only down show, so that mitigates it a bit. Still, you also need shows to pull a certain level of rating to justify their cost, so it does matter if they drop. Bottom line: Keep watching Fringe, the jury is still out…

      • bb

        VALENTINE’S WEEK-END !! maybe…

  • Jpx

    I thought Fringe was cancelled a long time ago. It’s still on? I’ve never seen an episode and I don’t intend to. I’ll never watch anything with “Pacey” in it.

    • Truthhurts

      Oh you rebel you… /eyeroll

    • Mole

      Yeah, how dare that young Joshua Jackson take a breakout role on a network show that ended up a huge teen hit, then continue WANTING to work, in a new genre, and continue to grow as an actor! The nerve!

    • Leithen

      What happened? You prefer Dawson?

    • Lisa

      That is so unbelievably ignorant. Joshua Jackson is one of the strongest actors on the show (beat out only by John Noble).

      • A

        …and Anna Torv.

      • AtomManhattan

        True. Jackson’s best role, without a doubt. And Noble/Torv are also really good…been with it since the beginning, no regrets.

    • DGH

      Good for you now move along please.

    • Dicazi

      I kind of felt the same way before Fringe debuted.
      But Mr Jackson blew my fears out of the water! He’s a fantastic actor.

    • Aimee

      I never watched Dawson’s, but I fell in love with Jackson’s portrayal of Peter Bishop. Jackson has such a subtle intensity to him. The man’s use of expression and body language is amazing!

    • Manda

      Sounds like a bitter Dawson fan. :\ I’m not too proud to admit that as a teenage girl, I loved Dawson’s Creek, and still occasionally watch it from time to time. Joshua Jackson was the by far the best part of that show, followed closely by Michelle Williams and Kerr Smith. He is the reason I started watching Fringe, and his work on it so far has been phenomenal, holding his own very well against every actor on the show, including Noble and Torv.

    • wise24153

      How juvenile – Let’s hope those in your life don’t make decisions about your capabilities based on things they witnessed in your youth . . .

    • T2

      What is a “Pacey”?

  • av


    • alice


    • Frick


    • Gandalf47

      That would be:


    • Aces High

      Mexican apple thief?

  • Scott

    All I want to do is laugh now.

    • Mole

      Not much happiness in your life, huh?

  • eliott256

    Ratings for most shows were down quite badly across the board, so I wouldn’t worry too much…ish

  • mika

    bye, fringe!

  • aby

    So very sad. I really wanted Fringe to make it one more season, I should start preparing myself for the cancellation now.

    • bb

      such a pessimist? You loose.

  • Brandon

    Fringe Friday is turning out to be the worst idea ever! If there is going to be a season 4 it is NOT going to be on Fridays!

    • Frick

      “Bones” is moving to Friday’s next season, hence the American Idol lead-in at the minute. I imagine if they keep Fringe, it will be to pair Fringe and Bones again.

      • Doris

        Hey Frick where did you hear that Bones is moving to Fridays next season?? That’s news to me!

  • Roger

    I love the bad Dunham, she smiles and is much cuter than the good Dunham.

  • Olivya

    I love this show. It deserves more seasons. It is only growing better each year.

  • Jess

    Keep Fringe on the air! It’s one of the only shows on TV that gets consistently better with each season- I want to see what they could do with season 4!!

  • Ivan

    Fringe and Supernatural are probably two of the most popular downloaded shows. Unfortunately, these numbers do not show up in the antiquated Nielsen ratings. It’s time to find a new model for judging popularity. If not, you’ll only be left with Nielson popular (but most people hate) shows like Two and a Half Men

    • dumbo

      Network executives are not interested in “popularity”, but in how many people watch their commercials. They do not earn advertisement money from downloaded shows, so that is why it is not included in their ratings formula.

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