While it’s certainly a possibility that both shows will be renewed, the question at hand is which show is more likely to be renewed? I could be cowardly and push and say that they are equally likely. But if I have to pick one, it’s “Heroes,” and not exclusively just because the relative rankings (and color coding) in the Renew/Cancel Index.
Crazy tinfoil hat wearing “Fringe” fanboys who want to call me a hater please note, I am still watching “Fringe!” I am not still watching “Heroes!” But the question isn’t “which show am I more likely to watch?”
Even though “Heroes” is at our near series lows with Adults 18-49 it is still one of NBC’s better performing shows and its second best scripted drama, trailing only “Law & Order: SVU.”
At the current level, I can’t see “Heroes” not being renewed. The ratings of course could continue to drop to the point where it’s a different story. But given the ratings carnage NBC has suffered, even if “Heroes” falls to the levels where “Fringe” currently is, I think it’s still a keeper. It could be retooled and re-launched perhaps, but a keeper nonetheless. It has strong international sales (though those will likely be weaker when attempting to sell an additional season) and still, relative to most shows very strong DVD sales. Those DVD sales are way, way down from season one, but still in the upper echelon of TV show DVDs. Of any show on NBC, only “The Office” surpasses Heroes DVD sales in the USA.
Especially with the ratings carnage NBC has suffered, I can’t see NBC not at least trying to get one more season from the show. Again, that’s based on the current ratings. In March, if “Heroes” is pulling a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating, that’s a different story.
Though perhaps still worrisome, “Fringe” rebounded from its low numbers following the baseball hiatus last week, assuming no significant changes in the final numbers. I guess all those DVR viewers who normally watch it the same night who didn’t get it in their program guides so it didn’t record, and all the people who just assumed it wasn’t on came back.
Overall, FOX wanted to improve its Thursday night fates by scheduling “Bones” and “Fringe”, and so far it has worked. “Bones” does measurably better at 8pm, but 9pm is the tougher time slot. Though it’s perhaps true that “Fringe” might do better at 8pm up against “Flash Forward” , not throwing “Bones” against “Grey’s Anatomy” makes sense. “Bones” skews more towards women and “Fringe” more towards men. If you have a show targeted at women, throwing it against “Grey’s Anatomy” makes no sense. That’s the same reason why CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” airs at 8pm instead of 9pm.
If “Fringe” stays about where it is, I could certainly see FOX digging in and sticking with it next year. FOX can’t successfully launch a new show at 9pm, and though it has talked about moving “House” or “American Idol” to Thursdays in the past, I think mostly that was to get a rise out of its competitors.
FOX could of course change “Fringe’s” ratings by moving it to a better timeslot. FOX might think it could squeeze more out of “Fringe” somewhere else. But FOX doesn’t have very many slots to work with. Some argue that it should slot “Fringe” after “House” again and move “Lie To Me” to 9pm. Maybe, but I think at best all that would produce is a very similar outcome where "Fringe" would do around as well as "Lie To Me" on Mondays, and "Lie To Me" would do about as well as "Fringe" on Thursdays. Especially since t"Lie To Me" is produced by Fox and "Fringe" isn't, I can't see that move happening.
The possibilities are always endless, and we haven’t even seen the mid-season schedule yet. I’m sure people will keep a close eye on the forthcoming “Human Target” and its ratings and there will be lots of discussion of pitting “Human Target” vs. “Fringe.”
Of course, as discussed in the comments below, it is also possible neither show gets renewed.