Thoughts on FOX's upfront: reality, Fringe, Dollhouse and Sarah Connor

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

May 18th, 2009

I'm still digesting the FOX schedule announcements but offer the following early thinking:

  • Trying So You Think You Can Dance in the fall makes a lot of sense to me. It's a gamble, but I understand it both in terms of trying to bolster Glee, and lower cost with potential for decent ratings.   SYTYCD doesn't need to do as well as American Idol. It doesn't need to do even half as well.
  • I like the "everybody lies" Monday lineup of House and Lie To Me.
  • Fringe on Thursdays will be fun. I imagine people will be following this closely. For me it shows FOX is really serious about wanting a stable Thursday night lineup. How well will it work out? We'll see, but Fringe doesn't need to beat Grey's Anatomy, CSI (assuming CSI still airs Thursdays at 9p) or The Office in the demo to satisfy FOX. How well it does need to do will be the subject of some debate. But I really am fine with waiting until the fall to have that debate.
  • 'Til Death as Dollhouse's lead-in: the whole thing just makes me smile really. It's amusing.  I'm now certain FOX's decisions with regard to Friday were about a flight to lower cost and higher benefit, though I believe FOX when it says that scripted shows carry higher CPMs., scripted shows with very low ratings won't wind up making more money than unscripted shows with higher ratings (more viewers offset lower CPMS), but FOX probably figured if there wasn't going to be much difference in the number of viewers, might as well go the lower cost, higher CPM route.
  • While I buy that DVR viewing did increase Dollhouse's cumulative numbers, I still do not buy it being a primary factor in FOX's decision to renew Dollhouse. I'm not sure I buy it being any factor at all. I buy Dollhouse being a lower cost/higher benefit option for FOX. TSCC's cumulative numbers increased about as much as Dollhouse's with DVR viewing. But TSCC cost more, and since it was WB produced there was no potential benefit at all to FOX with regard to DVD, international, online and syndication. Bottom line if it's cheap enough, FOX will air it (hello, 'Til Death!), TSCC wasn't cheap enough, Dollhouse was and with added benefit potential.  Is FOX betting on Joss Whedon?  Sure, they are.   But it seems a low cost, low risk bet from FOX's perspective.
 
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