One year ago, Friday nights featured the great showdown of three genre shows all airing at 9 p.m.: Supernatural, Fringe, and Grimm. Now, all of those shows can look at their Friday time slot in the rear-view mirror – Fringe because it aired its series finale in January but Supernatural and Grimm because they’ve managed to beat the odds and escape the so-called Friday Night Death Slot.
NBC has moved Grimm to Tuesdays at 10 p.m., where it will replace the canceled dating show Ready for Love. Grimm will air once more on Friday – tomorrow’s episode, “Ring of Fire,” which was preempted last week for coverage of the manhunt in Boston – and will air on Tuesdays for the rest of season 2, starting April 30.
Reps for NBC tell EW that the air date for Grimm beyond this year’s May 21 finale is yet to be determined. The network hasn’t announced a decision yet about whether Grimm will get a third season, but EW’s James Hibberd and Lynette Rice say renewing the fairy tale-inspired series will be “an easy call.”
Grimm also got to try out another time slot last August, when NBC premiered the show’s second season on a Monday at 10 p.m., though with the plan for Revolution to take over in September, sending Grimm back to Fridays.
Conventional wisdom is that modern viewers have better things to do than sit in front of the TV on Friday nights and that any show relegated to Friday nights goes there to die – indeed, Firefly, Moonlight, Ugly Betty, Star Trek: Enterprise, and a slew of other shows met their demise shortly after a move to or a start on Friday nights.
But some shows have be able to find life on Friday nights, and a select few have done well enough in the so-called Death Slot to get the major vote of confidence of a move to another night.
Read on for some of the other shows that are in Grimm’s company as graduates from the Friday Night Death Slot.
The X-Files: For fans of The X-Files who wanted to believe the sci-fi show could succeed on Friday nights, believing became seeing. The celebrated series about two FBI agents’ paranormal investigations was born on a Friday night in 1993. That’s where the show stayed until 1996, when Fox aired season 4’s fourth episode on a Sunday night. Sundays are where the show stayed until it wrapped after a nine-season run, though ratings began to suffer when there was less Fox Mulder on the show; David Duchovny ceased being a series regular at the beginning of season 8.
Supernatural: This show about two brothers who hunt down ghosts, demons, and all manner of beasties surpassed its expected lifespan when it got renewed for a sixth season. (Creator Eric Kripke originally envisioned the show as lasting five seasons.) But with the renewal came a move from Thursdays to Fridays. That move, along with Kripke’s departure, had fans worried that the series was near its end. But for the current season 8, the CW moved Supernatural to Wednesdays, coupled with new DC comic book-based series Arrow, and now Supernatural is set to return for a ninth season.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: This NBC procedural got its start on Monday nights. Then the 10th episode began the show’s Friday night era, which lasted through the season 4 finale. Since then, the series has bounced around – there was a move to Tuesdays at 10 p.m., then a bump from that slot when Jay Leno’s show went primetime, then some time switches on Wednesday nights. The show is currently in its 14th season, airing at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Psych: Wacky comedy Psych debuted on a Friday night in 2006, following the season 5 premiere of Monk, another successful show for USA Network. When Monk aired its series finale, Psych finished its days as a lead-in for the fellow detective series and graduated to Wednesdays at 10 p.m., starting mid-season 4. Now in its seventh season, Psych is currently USA Network’s longest-running show.
White Collar: Another USA Network take on the buddy cop format also served a brief early stint on Fridays. The series about an FBI agent and the con man-turned-FBI consultant who helps him solve cases was first tested out on Fridays at 10 p.m. before being moved to Tuesdays halfway through its first season.
Friday Night Lights: This beloved drama about a Texas high school football team did its fair share of bouncing around the TV schedule. The show debuted on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. before NBC moved it to Wednesdays at 8 p.m. midway through season 1. After a move to Fridays (a night when much of its target audience was probably out supporting their real-life local football teams), the second season suffered in the ratings and was also cut short by the WGA Strike. Season 3 saw the show escape that death slot – sort of. Friday Night Lights started airing a first run on Wednesdays on DirecTV’s The 101 Network, with the season airing again on NBC on Fridays. Season 3 did well enough in the ratings to get two more seasons aired in the same cable-plus-broadcast manner.
Blue Bloods: This CBS cop show has been a Friday night staple for the network since its premiere in 2010. But it did get a four-week trial run on Wednesdays in the middle of its first season before moving it back to Fridays to make way for the Wednesday night series premiere of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (a spin-off of Criminal Minds that was canceled a few months later). CBS ultimately decided to keep Blue Bloods on Fridays at 10 p.m., where it really hasn’t been in need of an escape from the supposed death slot – a rare recent Friday night success story, the show pulls in ratings between 11 and 12 million in the slot with a lot less competition than any other day of the week.
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