Several TV shows I watch are making the move to Friday nights this coming TV season and while most of Twitter was up in arms about their favorite shows moving to the so-called “Friday Night Death Slot”, I was actually pretty pleased with the scheduling moves. (Here’s the Fall 2017 TV Schedule for reference.)
While CBS and FOX’s Friday night blocks remain the same from last year, ABC ditched their comedies and are moving Once Upon a Time and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (once Inhumans ends its run) to the end of the week. NBC’s Blindspot and The CW’s Jane the Virgin are likewise relocating.
Like I said before, I don’t think any of this is a bad idea. For one, all of the shows seems to be pretty well paired up with other shows that probably have some fan overlap. For example, Blindspot is now paired with Taken and Jane the Virgin will air after Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. That to me demonstrates a commitment to not only the shows themselves, but also to the night of programming as a whole. I’d be more concerned if the scheduling appeared more random or like a throwaway night.
Friday nights are also less competitive. There are lower expectations for ratings; if a show can consistently perform, there’s a good chance it’ll stick around. Plus, for all those people who timeshift (a.k.a people who watch TV shows on their own time), Friday night shows will be the ones waiting at the top of the DVR list.
In addition, there’s a long history of genre shows airing on Friday nights and doing just fine or fine enough to run for a few seasons. The X-Files obviously made Friday nights work, but more recently Sleepy Hollow, Fringe, Dollhouse, Nikita, Supernatural, and Grimm have all anchored the end of the week.
The other thing to keep in mind is that these shows have already been around for a few years and suffered from ratings erosion. And while they might decline some more due to the new night, especially for a show like Once Upon a Time where much of the main cast has departed, there is a loyal fanbase for each series that’ll be willing to follow the show wherever it goes. As a fan, you just have to hope that those loyal people are Nielsen families because in the end those are the only viewers who actually count.