Low-Rated ‘Fringe’ Mostly Time-Shifted Among Fans

 In Entertainment

Remember awhile back? When we took a look at a couple shows that continue to have life after their TV cancellations? (Stargate and Buffy) Well, this week we decided to take a look at a show that, while still on the air, also counts itself among the oft-marginalized sci-fi genre, but is still getting lots of love from the Twitter, GetGlue, and TiVo communities. We’re talking, of course, (and on Leap Day, of course) about Fringe. And you guessed it – if it weren’t for Joss Whedon, JJ Abrams would be our master. This show is awesome.

With a whopping 915,215 check-ins on Get Glue, and plenty of buzz in the Twitterverse, (@Dorcandave “Catching up with the last couple of weeks of Fringe via TiVo. Think my brain might explode! JJAbrams-you’re driving me mad with your stories.”) Fringe just may be the little sci-fi engine that could. But can it? Talking to the New York Daily News recently, executive producer J.H. Wyman talked about the reality that every season could be their last, so they’re fully prepared to wrap up this one as a series ender, if need be. We know it’s a complex issue that involves budgets and numbers and algorithms, but may we just boil it down to “Noooooo!!!!”

Wyman also hypothesized that Fringe’s low ratings are likely due to fans time-shifting the show from its current Friday slot to watch on other nights. We decided to do a little digging, and he might be on to something. At least among TiVo viewers, 85 percent of first-run viewing happens in time-shifted mode. And Fringe currently ranks number 30 on our season pass list, so there are plenty of people watching.

Whatever happens, Fringe is likely to have a rabid fan-base for years to come, and you can count us in. What about you? Are you watching the mind-bending adventures of Olivia, Peter, and Doctor Walter Bishop? Or do you, like many people, just not bother with sci-fi? And if so, what can we do to change your minds?

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Showing 17 comments
  • Brian Brewer

    I have had my TiVo for two years now and Fringe was my first season pass to program. I still don’t miss Fringe live on Friday nights though. I hope viewers will come and allow for at least another season.

  • Katie

    I’m watching Fringe, admittedly not live because I’m in the UK and I don’t have Sky but I’m one of many fans I know on Twitter and Get Glue, that are trying to prove how strong a Fanbase Fringe has. It shouldn’t even be in contention to be cancelled. The check in/trending topics, do not lie. This show is massive and someone needs to have the balls to stand up and save it. At the moment that’s the fans!!!

  • Matt

    The case of the week on Fringe can be frustratingly awful. But the mystery, the arc of the mythology is the best there is. And that is what makes Fringe the best show in TV.

  • TMB

    I LOVE Fringe!!! It is THE best show to grace network TV in almost a decade. I don’t have cable or satalite, I have an antenna on the roof of my house which works wonderfully. I watch #Fringe LIVE and record it on my HDD and watch it over and over again to catch anything I missed with the first viewing! I hope ever so fervently that we get a 5 season and beyond, whatever network wants to run it! Great story telling on network TV is rare, and this is story telling at its BEST.

  • LBalsam

    I love the show and always TiVo and watch it.

    The character of Walter is terrific charming and unpredictable, If the show gets cancelled they could do a spin off with him.

    Time shifters don’t care when a show is on. I did not know it was Friday until I read the article. For people who watch live Friday is a lousy night to be on.

    Maybe moving it to another night and doing a review episode(s) might help it catch on with other viewers.

  • sandi

    FRINGE is awesome and i’d be very sad to see it end yet not at all surprised if the suits in the boardrooms decide to cancel it. I dont know WHERE or HOW they get their “numbers” justifying cancellations. I find it hard to believe the claims of low ratings for many of the thought-provoking series canceled (on all networks) lately. We are in an age where being controlled by the tv timeslot is practically nonexistent and DVRs have taken on that role for people. Therefore, shifting timeslots is no longer a worry. I pray the suits find a way to gather DVR recording activity into their ratings summary.
    TiVo is the best tv companion!!!

  • Jeff

    Fringe is probably my favorite show of all time. I really hope that Fox and WB take note of the time shifted viewing because there are a lot more passionate fans watching this show than the initial ratings would have you believe. Fringe regularly has the highest percentage jump in DVR viewing and the show trends worldwide on Twitter every Friday. Not to mention Fringe fans are actually going out of the way to thank the sponsors for buying ad time.

    I really think the Nielson system is becoming outdated. Thanks so much for doing this research and putting it out there. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a Season 5!

  • Elizabeth

    If they don’t count time shifting in the ratings, they’re not getting an accurate view. It’s 2012. My parents even have DVRs now.

  • Tom

    Putting it on Friday gaurantees bad ratings. All the fans are out on the town. Put it on any other night, except Saturday, and ratings would be huge!

  • FringeFiles

    Yes, my husband and I are watching FRINGE and love it! We normally can’t watch live, due to work and our children. However, we always catch it on Hulu. We discovered FRINGE at the end of Season 3. Went out and bought all of the previous Seasons and were up to speed by the time Season 4 started (which we’ve already pre-ordered btw). So, just because we can’t always watch live doesn’t mean we aren’t devoted or spending money on the show. Believe me we are!

  • FringeFiles

    Speaking of which…I guess I’ll now have to look into watching FRINGE on TiVo. 🙂

  • FringeFanJoe

    The whole Nielsen system is very flawed. How can you judge what “everyone” is watching based on a handful of people. Seems like the people that become Nielsen families are families that watch a lot of reality television and not families that would watch a Sci-Fi show on a Friday night. I get it, it’s all about watching the advertisements live so the network can make money. I’d like to know the Hulu+ viewings. You can’t skip past the commercials in Hulu. As a huge Fringe fan that makes sure their TV is tuned to Fox every Friday night regardless of if I’m actually watching it live or not I would love to see the show get another season or two. The writers say they’re prepared for the show to end this season but I still think it would be rushed instead of getting the ending they really want. The real ending to the show would probably be phenomenal if the show to this point is any indication. If the show can’t survive on Fox how about moving to FX or the CW?

  • Jennifer

    Just the THOUGHT of there not being another season of this thing called Fringe that has consumed & became my life…..is driving me INSANE!!!!!!! Fox, WB, whoever that matters that will listen……you HAVE to continue this show! You don’t realize how much this show has become a huge part in SO MANY MILLIONS of people’s lives!! You created this monster we can’t live without so do what it takes to make it continue!! Shed Blood like Josh did or whatever it takes…JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jennifer

    Also, let me say…I have never really cared for Sci Fi TV due to it not being realistic so therefore it never captivated my attention long enough to matter but Fringe has captivated me from day 1! This is absolutely the most amazingly brilliant show EVER to be put on TV! It is brilliantly composed & an intriguing and thought-provoking masterpiece! It has stretched the boundaries of reality and perception & when a show begins to feel this real, is it a wonder that the line between television and reality blurs? There could not have been a better cast to play these characters & the writers’ creativity is out of this world & the parallel one as well. And just when you thought the next episode couldn’t get any better, it always does,on so many levels! I will ALWAYS be a hardcore obsessed & addicted Fringie!!

  • dana

    Fringe is such a good show, it’s a shame so many people are missing out. I will be so heartabroken if it doesn’t get a s5. 🙁 I always watch live, and dvr, buy the seasons, and buy on iTunes. I love you Fringe!

  • Brian Neal

    Best show on TV right now!

  • RampageROn

    they should give it a better slot, the death slot is just that, alot of people work on friday.
    if you miss it, you have to wait 8 days until you can watch it.

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