Fans have been freaking out about Fox's announcement that beginning Jan. 28, Fringe will move to Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Could this really be the beginning of the end for one of the best shows on television? Executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman don't think so.
"We are excited," said Wyman. "We think it's open territory that can be conquered. We really do believe our fans are loyal. I believe they're going to follow. It's a chance for us to get away from that statement that Friday night is not an opportune night. [We believe] we can actually deliver like The X-Files did. ... I think we both agree it's a good opportunity."
"When Fox informed us of the move, what was most important to us is we understand that our audience is watching the show, not like a standalone audience watches the show, but their actually watching it as an investment over time," said Pinkner. "We wanted to be able to tell our audience that the story, the ongoing, the long arcing story that we have planned for our characters, is going to get told. It's funny, there are more Fringe fans in the building at Fox then any show we've ever worked on before. I think they and we all feel that if we can build a fan base on and carve out some territory on Friday night, we can be there for years."
Wyman said that if the executive producers learned anything from Thursday nights, it was that their DVR numbers "are so high and the improvement is so great that we realize that our fans, they're watching the show. They're just telling us, 'We didn't want to watch it on Thursdays. We'll tell you when we want to watch it through the DVR.' Thursday night is traditionally a romantic comedy night, with the Bones and Grays ... We were assured we were going to be safe and not be taken off the air in that context, and [Fox] lived up to it," he said.
However, things have changed for Fringe and for the television, they said.
"What's ironic is when we moved to Thursday nights, and for the last year all the message boards have been 'Please move the show off of Thursday nights,' and now that they did. So it's one of those things from the fans point of view being careful what you wish for," said Pinkner. But "Fox and Warner Brothers are very happy with this move. We can only follow their lead."
"The landscape is changing so much on network television, who knows what Friday nights are going to be?" said Wyman. "We're going in there with 100 percent confidence."
The other thing they have 100 percent confidence about are the next two episodes of Fringe, which air tonight and next Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT before the holiday hiatus. The producers promise that it's a great time to check out the series if you're new to Fringe, and an even better time for fans to see the exciting return of Olivia to her own universe.
"If the only episode of Fringe you ever tune in to watch is this one, sure, it's going to take you five minutes to catch up, but you will feel what's going on," said Pinkner. "You will understand the relationships. It's a great entry point. The truth is the one right afterwards ['Marionette,'], which is the falling out of this episode and the picking-up-the-pieces episode, is equally a great place to join both, because it's a reset episode. Olivia will be home and dealing with the consequences. ... It's Rip Van Winkle dealing with the consequences of everything that she missed. Both of these episodes are actually a great place to join in."
And for those waiting to see what's going to happen when Olivia finds out that Bolivia's been making time with Peter, "that's certainly the big thing, and it won't take long at all," said Pinkner. "What we find really valuable is just letting the truths come out and then playing the consequences of those truths. This is certainly, plot aside from a character point of view, the most significant thing that has happened in the front half of this year."
"Last year we really focused on the secrets, and this year it's definitely the results," added Wyman. "We wanted to get into the real dramatic equation between Peter and Olivia with that at the center as quickly as possible."
What do you think about Fringe's move to Fridays?