I've received a few e-mails and seen a few comments from people a little freaked out, but I'm not freaked out by last night's ratings for FlashForward are Fringe. I'm not saying I view what happened last night as good signs, but I'm not freaked out by the results. Yet. Next Friday? Perhaps. But not this Friday.
Both shows were down, versus last week, Flash Forward noticeably so, dropping from 3.7 adults 18-49 rating to a 3.0. The 3 week totals for FlashForward with adults 18-49 are 4.0/12 for the premiere to a 3.7/11 to last week and 3.0/9 rating share last night. Somewhat because the show premiered even better than what I hoped, I'm not at all worried yet about these numbers in the context of a full season pick up. But if it drops by another twenty percent or so, it will be in the same territory Ugly Betty was last year and that's definitely not a range that bodes well for a second season renewal for next year.
I'm not going to blame the baseball playoffs specifically, and I'm not suggesting that Red Sox Nation loves CBS and ABC more than other broadcast networks. But ABC and CBS were both down versus last week by 17% and 15% respectively with adults 18-49. FOX was flat and NBC was actually up 22% mostly on the strength of an hour long episode of The Office, as well as improvements in the 8pm-9pm hour after moving Community to 8pm. Though Community was actually down by 31 percent from last week, it was an improvement over last week at 8pm for NBC.
So what of Fringe? The ratings are disappointing, no doubt, especially in light of its lead-in, Bones improving week over week, while Fringe dropped 2 ticks with adults 18-49. I do worry some about FOX's long-term plans for the show if its going to stay in the current time slot. FOX is looking to improve Thursdays over last year, and so far they are, but Fringe's contribution to that effort keeps getting smaller. For now, as with FlashForward my worry is currently more about next year than this year.
The difference between the two shows is that Flash Forward can still drop by .5 and I wouldn't be freaked out about this year (though I'd be might worried about next year). Fringe can't afford such drops and not become worrisome even for the current year.