'Fringe' returns lower; 'Gifted Man' modest in ratings

Image Credit: Fox

“Save Peter”? How about “Save Fringe”? Fox’s fourth season premiere of the beloved drama dropped in the ratings from its previous Friday debut, yet still gave Fox an improved lineup compared to recent years.

Fringe returned to 3.5 million viewers and a 1.5 adults 18-49 ratings, coming in third place in the hour and down 21 percent from when it first shifted to Fridays back in January.

Still, Fringe performed much better than the short-lived Good Guys in the slot from last fall and edged out the series premiere of CBS’ new metaphysical medical drama A Gifted Man (9.3 million, 1.4), which tied the debut of Medium in the time period from last year. Fringe‘s lead-in Kitchen Nightmares (3.8 million, 1.6) was down 16 percent. All told, given Fox’s rough history in these hours, this is the highest-rated premiere week Friday for the network in six years.

After Gifted Man, CBS had the season premiere of CSI: NY (10.7 million, 1.8), slipping 10 percent, and the return of Blue Bloods (11.8 million, 2.0) was down 9 percent. Blue Bloods tied NBC’s Dateline as Friday’s highest-rated show and CBS won the evening.

On The CW, Nikita (1.9 million, 0.6) and Supernatural (2 million, 0.8) were hurting. Being shifted to Fridays caused Nikita to debut with less than half the rating of its Thursday series premiere last year, and that’s also less than half the number that Smallville delivered in this slot. Lacking its super-powered lead-in, Supernatural was down 38 percent from its premiere here last year.

MONDAY: ‘Two and a Half Men’ ratings huge! Ashton Kutcher debut delivers series high
TUESDAY: Zooey Deschanel’s ‘New Girl’ opens big; ‘Glee’ dips
WEDNESDAY: ‘X Factor’ opens solid, but ‘Modern Family’ steals the show
— THURSDAY: ‘Charlie’s Angels’ modest, ‘X Factor’ steady
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  • F.R.

    Fringe is up compared to the last aired episode, the third season finale back in May, which had 3.29 million viewers and a 1.2 adults 18-49 rating.

    • Will

      I was thinking that might be true, but couldn’t remember the numbers. Glad you’re seeing the positive.

      • Matt

        As fans, we need to keep a close eye on these #’s – I’m not even sure if Fringe has peeked yet (in terms of quality); I want to do everything I can to keep it on the air.

      • Acaseofgeo

        Uhm, James Hibberd, I don’t think the word “beloved” applies to Fringe. “Fanatically cult-worshipped” maybe, but “beloved” sort of implies a large mass of people almost universally agree on it. Betty White, “Beloved”. “Fringe”, a cult favorite.

      • DB

        @Acaseofgeo, every show is beloved by their fans. don’t be an ass

      • Brett

        Every fan thinks the show is beloved by the fans, but it’s really obsessive cult-worship.

      • grumpster

        Coco…go suck an egg.

      • Acaseofgeo

        @DB, I’m not trying to be an ass. I’m explaining what I think the difference between “beloved” and “cult-favorite” is. EW’s writers have a way of writing that uses words incorrectly. They tend to just start putting words on the screen without really thinking how they actually apply to the article. Its not just me. I’m really not trying to be an ass. I did like “Fringe” in the beginning but I stopped once the implausible “alternate universe” plot kicked off.

      • richromancvb

        My best friend ,she met a good man and they love each other.
        I’am a sweet, friendly, honest (sometimes too honest), caring girl in search of¬ “the one”.I’ve been single for over two years so i got Queenna2011 on
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    • Mavent

      Yes, season premieres tend to have higher ratings, because they attract back the people who vainly hope that the show wasn’t as completely lame as they remember it being. “Fringe” is basically the X-Files for idiots. It hurts my soul that ANYONE watches it, let alone 3 million people. But I suppose the low end of the Bell Curve needs entertainment too.

      • BMW328i

        ok Mavent, you are on a crazy train. Please don’t be one of those people who hate on awesome things just because you can… X-Files is amazing and so is Fringe.

      • Ash

        You’re mentally ill dude get help

      • davey

        Ahhh MAVENT, just because Fringe is literally out-of-this -world amazing and people like yourself probably can’t even understand the story doesn’t mean that WE are the idiots? Get my drift???

      • Agent Smith

        Mavent: If you are discussing the first six seasons of X-files, then we agree. However, towards the end (when Duchovny was phoning it in and then gone), I’ll have to sharply disagree. The quality of X-files fell of the table towards the end, so much so that I retired from it (and have never felt the need to watch those episodes). It was, put simply, ass. Fringe started kind of weak and then got stronger when they concentrated on the cross-words stories. Right now, early X-files < Fringe << later X-files.

      • nitemar

        One of the reasons I wanted to start watching Fringe is because Im a crazy Xfiles fan and always will. Nevertheless it fell short on my expecxtations. Dont get me wrong, its a good show, but not for me. I guess it is one of the shows with good fanbase in the internet, but does not show in the ratrings. It happens also with Chuck. Good luck to all the Fringe fans! :)

      • grumpster

        x-files sucked the big donkey dong.

      • Zakry

        Someone who doesn’t watch the show. His opinion: irrelevent.

      • Michael

        The low-end of the bell-curve for entertainment watches Jackass, jackass.

      • jj

        dont feed the troll guys.

    • Elizabeth

      I’m also going to toss out high school football is played on Friday nights. Might have a little to do with that – know it did around here.

    • JaySin420

      Fringe is one of the best shows on tv, the ratings have been bad for years, and Anna Torv is Rupert Murdoch’s niece.

      So I’m not too worried.

      • Matt

        Whoa, is that true? Is she really Rupert Murdoch’s niece?

    • Eddie and Tim

      This article is, like, an utter fabrication. Fringe was up in numbers of viewers AND demo. I’m done with EW unless they print a retraction.

    • Necro

      Fringe is just a bad sci-fi show that survived one too many seasons. Joshua Jackson is the epitome of unappealing. Had it been on Syfi no one would care. Supernatural is a joke. Both shows deserve curtains.

  • F.R.

    Also, as for Nikita, again, the finale had 1.94 million viewers and a 0.7 adults 18-49 rating, so 1.9 million viewers and a 0.6 *after* moving to Friday is not that big of a drop.

  • JM

    Supernatural lost its charm.

    • Kaz


      • lexi

        Hey assbutts, It hasn’t been canceled yet and is actually now the longest running CW show and still gets higher ratings then some of newer shows like Nikita so suck it haters. Supernatural is fantastic and a lot of fans are very loyal to it.

      • Mike

        Actually Lexi you are wrong – I love Supernatural, have watched it since it premiered on The WB in 2005, and have never missed an ep … but One Tree Hill has been on longer … and the CW/The WB has had shows go longer … 7th Heaven, Charmed, Buffy, Smallville … Supernatural is a great show, I do love it, but this season premiere was weak in comparison to most others.

      • T

        I disagree. In fact this season opened with a killer episode!

    • Jen

      Never gonna lose it’s charm!

      • Anon

        The ratings don’t agree with you.

      • Jen

        The ratings don’t have to. It’s in syndication and I personally will continue to watch it as long as I can.

      • Anon

        Its hard to watch if the show is canceled.

      • Jen

        That’s why they have syndication and TV Series on DVD :)

      • Dave

        @Anon – “syndication” – your response makes you look quite dumb

      • irastev

        “Its hard to watch if the show is canceled.”
        Anon, you’ve obviously never heard of DVDs. Supernatural was originally supposed to last 5 seasons. As far as I am concerned, every episode above that is a bonus.

      • Necro

        Supernatural is juvenile garbage.

    • jwickabdurrahim

      Wouldn’t say it’s lost its charm but it’s gone darker, that’s for sure. This season premiere was easily the best they’ve had in years just because a show that has never drawn in huge ratings doesn’t do well in the death slot on a crumby channel like the CW doesn’t mean people are getting sick of it. Friday has always been a tough slot and like I said Supernatural has never owned in the ratings.

    • Max

      Tonight’s episode was brilliant! And I feel sorry for anyone who refused to watch it because of petty reasons.

    • Scott

      Supernatural at its worst is still better than Smallville at its best.

      • darrin

        you are an idiot

      • Christine

        So true.

      • lexi

        Supernatural is best show on tv as far as i’m concerned.

  • sam

    I liked A Gifted Man even though I didn’t expect much. The two leads have a lot of charm. It is a criminal waste of Margo Martindale, though. She deserves a better role than a grumpy secretary after her Emmy winning portrayal of Mags on Justified last season. Maybe Justified can have her come back as a ghost–it would be better for her than this show.

    • Kylie

      Isn’t Neal Baer EP on Gifted man? He also did L&O: Criminal Intent (if I’m remembering all this right.) He likes strong male leads (D’Nofrio) & wasting females. (My hissy fit). I watched A Gifted Man for Margo & Jennifer Ehle. At least there was great chemistry between Wilson & Ehle. But I thought AGM was more a Sunday night show. In spite of everything, really liked it.

      • Kylie

        Should have looked Baer up first, sheesh. He was showrunner for L&O: SVU. Never mind. Wasted space on a hissy … what’s the embarrassed emoticon?

  • Tai

    Gee thanks for reminding me Medium got cancelled. I really liked that show.

    I will be interested to see what happens to Fringe and Supernatural when Grimm shows up in October.

    • Mike Snook

      I like Medium too but when the “real” medium showed up on one of the “housewifes” show and was a real ass I think it killed the show.

      • @Tai & Mike

        I loved Medium too. I agree a little with Mike, when the “real” Allison Dubois showed up on the RHBH and made such an a** out of herself, I kind of soured on the show a little bit. Though I would not take away anything from the actors who played their parts beautifully. I chose to believe that it was initially based on the real “medium” but eventually turned into something else entirely. I’m still gonna miss it.

  • Cass

    I’m thinking it’s time for the CW to actually PROMOTE Nikita & especially Supernatural.

    There’s tons of promotion for Vampire Diaries, Ringer, Secret Circle, Gossip Girl but hardly NONE for Supernatural and Nikita. You can’t do good in the ratings if people don’t know about you.

    • Andres

      What The CW needs is mass promotion and less emphasis on their “target demo” of women (There’s already a channel for that, its called Lifetime). How do they expect to last long as a network when they’re segregating the broader demographics. Had The WB been given another chance instead of merging it with the inferior UPN it would have had better shows. They were never afraid to take risks like and try new things. They were the original “AMC” in terms of the quality of their shows. The CW, however, is too formulaic with their “teens behaving badly” niche.

      • Jilly

        @Andres, so you’ll *allow* females to have one channel (Lifetime) and the rest have to be geared toward men? Because most channels do target males … this is so obvious I can’t believe I’m actually gonna post this. There’s nothing wrong with teenage girls, there’s nothing wrong with women and there’s certainly nothing wrong with targeting that demo when few do. I also cannot believe that a male watching a “female-demo” program will be emasculated. There’s too much divisiveness along gender lines

      • Andres

        @Jilly females have many other channels besides lifetime. You might disagree with what i say but the CW affiliates don’t.

  • Michelle

    A 1.5 is still good for Fringe. I’m not worried. A little more worried about Nikita though. :( If this turned out to be the last season of Supernatural, I don’t think I’d be that sad.

  • Anon

    Looks like all those Cas and Dean fans that threatened to quit watching did. I agree SN lost its charm and is just repeating the same stories over and over again. Looks good on you Sera!

    • Trina

      Then how do you explain the severe drops every CW show took?

      • Anon

        38% drop is significant. Last season the first few episodes ran about a 2.4- to a 2.8 for weekends at Bobby’s. The drop can’t all be blamed on moving to Fridays or other CW shows dropping.

        I guess people don’t watch because they don’t find the concept of the show is something that interests them or they get bored and decide to try something else. SN is not immune to that . If people thought it was still interesting, they would still be watching regardless of other other shows.

      • Anon 2

        I know in Florida, Mediacom Cable removed CW and Fox from its programming (contract was not renewed). Not sure about its other markets across the U.S. May not have a lot to do with the ratings being down but maybe a little.

    • Ashley

      Actually the numbers are the same as the finale, so in actuality no one flounced over the summer, including the supposedly disgruntled Dean/Cas fans you talk about

      • Anon

        Premiers tend to be the some of the higher rated episodes of the season as people are either checking things out or wanting to see how things wrapped up. SN couldn’t even crack 2 million. What does that say? To me it says people are losing interest.

      • pk

        It steadily lost viewers throughout S6 and fans have lost confidence in it. The dynamics have changed too much with the characters. The spoilers or lack of them for certain characters, lack of promotion have all contributed. I know Cas and Dean fans have been the most vocal in their disappointment and it is possible that a lot have abandoned ship while other fans have come back to give it another go. At any rate we should probably be more concerned about the CW going under.

      • Amanda

        Supernatiural used to be “appointment” tv for my husband and me, but not after season 6. We’ll still watch it but I didn’t need to watch it last night. I’ll catch up with it in a few days. Last season was so disappointing to me that it’s become a chore to watch episodes. And I’m not even one of those people that had a cow when they decided to do a season 6. I was perfectly happy with them continuing the story and I was OK with Kripke taking a decreased role….until I started watching season 6. The fun was gone. Dean was the same every episode. Brooding, pissed off Dean with his gravelly voice. There were a couple of stand-out fantastic eps, but the season as a whole was majorly disappointing.

      • Linda p

        I agree with Amanda. They “changed” the dynamics of the characters…Dean’s character didn’t grow at all, in fact, the writers made everyone totally out-of-character.

    • Zakry

      Nooo…. not repeating same stories… clearly ANOTHER opinion from someone who doesn’t watch the show, so they have no clue what their talking about – but don’t let that stop you from looking silly!

    • Stretch

      You’ve got to be kidding me—it’s so tranpasrently clear now!

  • muse

    Well I watched Fringe instead of Supernatural and it looks like I wasn’t the only one.

    • newton

      I did too. The writing was so silly for the Supernatural finale that I didn’t have much interest in another season. Fringe is just the opposite- they keep upping their game. I think season 4 was the pinnacle for Supernatural sadly.

  • Emma

    THAT is what happens when you put the best shows on friday

    • Mavent

      Yes, because clearly, we never invented Tivo.

  • AuntieMM

    I love Supernatural but I’m going to watch Fringe. The ep last night promises a good season. Grimm…are you kidding???? Sounds like Kolchak vs Shrek.

    • Gerry

      Grimm looks and sounds (and is allegedly) awful. Just awful.

      And despite what Hulu polls say, Chuck hasn’t been remotely good since season 2 and is now quite bad and has lost all its charm.

      NBC is going to continue its disaster streak with these two on Fridays.

  • Anon

    Given that premiers and 2nd episodes tend to have a significant drop, I wonder what the ratings will look like next week.

    • Zakry

      What you should wonder is what the numbers will look like in a couple of months when the weather is colder and folks aren’t so likely to go out on Friday nights.

  • wes

    I liked Gifted Man but I don’t see it making it passed Season 1. I doubt Nikita will have a Season 3, and I doubt Fringe will be back after this season. I could be wrong, and probably am, but those are my predictions.

    • nitemar

      I dont see it either. Good for Life type of matinees weekend show.

  • Jen

    But Fringe returned lower too so maybe people have just decided to go out instead of watch tv. We’ll see what winter brings

    • Barb

      Fringe is now ‘re-booted’ so if you were invested in the storyline as it was, you had no reason to come back. OTOH if you just loved Walter and Olivia, and thought Peter was a bore… then you do.

      • Amy

        It wasn’t completely rebooted. It’s still the same storyline.

      • newton

        No. Peter wasn’t completely erased and it was really clever the way the reboot was introduced.


    This nielsen ratings crap is bulls.hit fcuk all of those motherfcukers with a goddamn fcuking nieslsen box.

    • grumpster

      Neilsens are all gay and dumb.

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