Will Fringe and Supernatural Kill Each Other?

It's like deciding between a scoop of mint chocolate chip and a scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough. It's like being forced to give up either your favorite pair of comfy sneakers or your broken-in, make-your-ass-look-good jeans. It's choosing between Joshua Jackson and Jensen Ackles. Tonight at 9pm, Fox's Fringe and The CW's Supernatural battle against each other for your eyeballs, and there's a considerable amount at stake.

Neither show is a locks for renewal next season, and studio executives are watching the ratings for both shows like hawks. Of the two, Fringe appears to be in more danger of not returning, simply because Fox's demands are greater than The CW's. But there's a chance that the two audiences are actually the same, and in a worst-case scenario, the two shows could cannibalize one another's viewers, tarnishing the future of both programs.

Fox moved Fringe from Thursdays to Fridays almost three weeks ago, when American Idol returned and took over Thursdays. Since Fringe settled into its new time slot, the numbers have been shocking: They're pretty much the same as they were on Thursdays. This goes against the old rule that no one watches TV on Fridays (or it supports the theory that Fringe fans don't have anything better to do on Friday nights, but personally, I find that offensive).

"I'm surprised [Fringe's Friday-night ratings] started as high as they did," Bill Gorman, co-founder of ratings-watching site TV by the Numbers, told me. "And I'm surprised they were steady for the second week."

He's surely not alone. Fox must be unexpectedly pumping its fists over Fringe's loyal fan base. If the show can attract a core audience on Friday night, then Fox can confidently renew it for a fourth season... as long as that core fan base sticks around. One sacrifice will be the ability to grow the Fringe audience. But that's always been a problem with heavily serialized sci-fi dramas like Fringe. Even ABC's fabled Lost saw a fairly large drop in total viewers as it inched toward its end.

And it's important to note that those two weeks in which Fringe aired on Friday nights came without any real competition (Fringe went from finishing fourth in its Thursday-night time slot to finishing first on Fridays). Now Supernatural and its two-million-plus audience have a shot at taking away Fringe's sub-five-million audience.

What's going to happen? No one really knows, not even Mr. Gorman. "I'll be waiting on Saturday morning for the [ratings] news just like the rest of us in this universe." And that's coming from a guy who forecasts ratings for a living.

If the past is any indication, then there's room for both, even in the same time slot. The two shows survived the 2009-2010 season when they faced off against each other on very busy Thursday nights. Let's hope history repeats itself.

Extra Reading: Fox: Following Friday Finds Fringe Fans Festive at TVByTheNumbers.com

How will you handle the Fringe vs. Supernatural situation?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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what? an article that actually applies to me? i love both fringe and supernatural, but since i don't like watching commercial i dvr both, but i hope fringe stays on the air if one of them has to go. supernatural bring back cassie!!!
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I love both shows....but gun to my head it would have to be Fringe, no question
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for me the only way is to record it, then the big question. Fringe or Supernatural . At the moment fringe is watched first then super is watched second. Or naa. Both are cool shows and i ge to watch both.
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Fringe. No contest. I love Supernatural, but they have nothing left to tell, story-wise.
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Not trying to offend people, but Fringe 'feels more mature'. Not only that, but it seems that most (not all) fans of Supernatural are girls who just want to watch some pretty boys. If that's a reason to cancel an other show with great stories and well constructed plots ... Then I guess there's no more hope for TV. :/
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As someone who's watched every episode of both, IMO any of you who turn your nose up to one or the other is missing out. They're both character-driven, heavy mythology, investigate-the-weird kind of shows that started out as monster-of-the week and blossomed into serials with long story arcs. The difference is, Fringe goes into wild sci-fi and alternate realities, while Supernatural goes into the Biblical and fantastical, with demons, angels, djinns, fairies, and anything else that's ever been a fable.

Fringe fans, Supernatural is far from a teeny-bopper show despite being on the CW and all the "Sam-or-Dean girl" fans. There's lots of action and gruesome deaths (the show started out more focused on horror), the world by now is well established, conspiracies abound, and the pretty-boy leads are both excellent actors in much grittier roles than the CW commercials imply. There is, in fact, very little romantic angst on the show (shocking for the CW, yes?), and it's a running joke that Supernatural has killed off almost every major female character at some point (along with plenty of the male characters).

Supernatural fans, Fringe goes is even more out there than your show, with some massive plot twists, and for those that haven't been watching recently, the lead female FBI agent has become less of a one-note straight arrow, particularly after the events of this season. Plus, the show has two realities now, so most of the actors (some are dead on one side or the other) get to play very different versions of themselves, which makes the juxtaposition between the realities a lot of fun to watch. And the mostly insane, sometimes-high Dr. Bishop character is probably the best acted and most interesting character out of both shows.
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the fact is, supernatural is not competing to stay on the air. The CW won't cancel it regardless, so this is a fight to keep Fringe around. Like I always say, lets send supernatuural to the alternate universe and put them in amber till next season when they can take over smallvile's time slot and Fringe can continue to tell it's story and rock the t.v. airwaves. then we can watch supernatural follwed by Fringe. But if one has to go, bye bye supernatural
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I keep forgetting The CW is a network. I haven't watched it in almost 2 years. Fringe gets my vote.
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Fringe? Whats that? Shut up now..I'm watching Supernatural...Jensen Ackles is so dreamy...:::sigh:::
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I watch both shows! Since Supernatural is already in the safe zone, I hope people will watch Fringe to keep it alive!
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Perhaps the networks would get the viewing numbers they want if they would stop playing musical chairs with their programs. When the viewers have to search for their favorite shows because CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox keep moving them to different nights at different times is it any wonder the ratings go down? Plus the fact that they make us wait for weeks before new episodes are aired. Raising Hope was off for nine weeks before it returned on Tuesday with a new episode. ( Which sucked by the way ). CBS moves Blue Bloods to Wednesday night for four weeks then sends it back to Friday night. Fox airs Human Target on Wednesdays or Mondays. Fringe has had more moves than Bobby Fisher on a chess board. Since it is apparent that the networks don't give a damn about the viewers, I'm going to start watching more shows on USA, FX and TNT and say goodbye to CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox.
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Both shows are so crazy and amazing( I love crazy shows lol)! They're unique and creative that's what make them so good! As some people said, they have to find new ways to know how the audience is going. People watch tons of tv shows nowadays ( I watch at least 10, I'm not joking and I'm not alone either! lol) and, obviously, we can't watch them at the same time, there'll be shows that you love that end up in the same night. ( Even if people didn't watch that much tv, everyone has to work or go out so, they end up missing their favorite show and have to watch it some other way).
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I record both, Supernatural is just o.k. this year, Fringe is getting better.
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The modern age . . . with a dvr I watch both . . . and not at the times the network air them. Maybe I throw the whole ball of waxy numbers off and get your favorite shows canceled . . . nope, reality shows still intact . . . but I dvr my favorites and watch that at my leisure. And Supernatural and Fringe are tops in my viewing.
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Both Supernatural and Fringe are 2 of my most fav. tv shows... And now they are competing against each other... :(

Inside Voice:
"Come on universe... Why don't you make the things more difficult for me by turning LEVERAGE into a Winter Show and put it on Friday too?"
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Supernatural
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Fringe rules! Deep voices don't impress me.
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Supernatural rocks my Friday night! Fringe is good too, but my heart belongs to Jensen and Jared. Must agree w/ babylicious33 this is why we have DVR!!
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Dude, this is what DVR is for. Watch Supernatural, record Fringe, and watch it right after Supernatural is done lol
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they will find out that people aren't going to continue to accept having commercials shoved down our throats.. on hour long shows it's literally 18 minutes of commercials (if you take out the commercials in an hour long show it's like 42 minutes in length) i haven't seen a commercial in like 4 years and won't accept commercials.
i would accept something like monthly fee services such as hulu plus where you pay to see commercial free or very limited commercials for the month.. steam it/watch it on the web/download it, etc.

would also be a much better way to determine a shows success with say online votes and comments and such.
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What I can't figure out is this. Back when I was a kid watching Six Million Dollar Man, there was maybe 10 minutes of commercials per hour. And television was FREE!!! It came over the air and we caught it with an antenna mounted on the roof. Now there is anywhere from 12 to 18 minutes of commercials per hour, depending on the network and the show, and I'm paying $130 DOLLARS A MONTH to catch my tv with a satellite dish. Does this make sense to anybody?
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In fact, if you watch your TV off the internet you DON'T matter. Not officially. Because let's face it. The networks make TV shows for one reason. It's also the only reason why they care about ratings. It's because TV shows are actually just a way to keep us from changing the channel between commercials! So if you don't watch commercials, you don't matter. Yes, I know the networks are all putting their shows online for free, but that's so you'll see the ads on their sites, or so you'll get to like the show enough to tune in to the regular broadcast. The S**T is really going to hit the fan when broadcasters realize that none of us watch commercials anymore. I fear they'll do exactly what Ron Howard did on EDtv. They'll start running ads at the bottom of our TV screens. Already they're doing huge product placement deals. So changing the ratings system is not going to be their answer I'm afraid. Changing the way they pay to produce television is.
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Viewers: Buy a DVR. Tape and watch both.

Execs: Stop using a crappy, outdated ratings system.
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well said, wantblackwolf!
the current rating system is archaic, the times are a changing and there needs to be a new way to determine if a show is successful or not.
i don't even have cable and watch everything from the internet so i guess i don't count or matter in the ratings.
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Fringe!
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Most people like me watch both. Ratings are stupid to follow now, they are based on what 5000 households watch. They don't included all of us who have a DVR or TIVO. Nor do they include the ones that download the shows from the net. Or the DVD buyers that want to catch up. They need to throw the old way of ratings in the trash. The old way of thinking is why good shows get canceled.
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Let's see I love both shows. Though I love Supernatural a bit more. I want them both to come back for another season. However, I usually leave for work before the episodes are over. Four nights a week I try to make it out of the door before 10pm. Thursday is my exception one word: Bones. :D
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Piss off!! Fringe beats supernatural hands down!
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Supernatural beats up fringe imho... :))) they are much more fascinating... god, demons,angels, lucifer himself was on a show lol :D cmon.. fringe can never outdo that :)
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I don't see the CW dropping one of the only shows, (besides TVD) making ratings. &&& I love Fringe but I have a feeling FOX is going to drop the ball (like they usually do.) I wont be able to support either show's ratings seeing as how I watch both on the net. Good luck to both.
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I don't watch Supernatural, in fact I don't watch anything on the CW, that network and it's programming don't do anything for me except lower my IQ when I channel surf past it. **FRINGE is one of the best and most original shows on TV right now. **It's not just about the guys, it's about storyline and FRINGE is going to win that battle every time.
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Supernatural and dvr Fringe....
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Im gonna watch fringe, because the story is still good. in my oppinion supernatural has been making a slow decline in episode quality since s5 began, like the last supernatural ep. Dragons that look human...really?
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I have to watch Supernatural and dvr Fringe no other way is possible my tv wont do anything but Supernatural when its on.
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Fringe have to survive, better cast & stories. Supernatural is good too, but Fringe is better.
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FRINGE... Peter can kick ass too, and he has brains not just brawn :D
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Fringe!
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Supernatural
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Supernatural
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Both. Thats what PVR's are for :)
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I live abroad.

I watch both on the net after they've aired. ;)
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love supernatural!
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Love Fringe but, I ONLY watch Supernatural on Fridays. If a show is going bye bye, it has better not be Supernatural.
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My boys i want Dean and Sammy :D
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I loved Supernatural.. for the first five seasons, it has had its run, told it's story, and it did really well, but Fringe on the other hand still has its story to tell. I hope Fringe stays if both cannot.
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Supernatural RULES! Dean will kick Peter's ass!!!!
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LOL! No freakin' way. Not only is Peter Bishop a badass, he also has an IQ of 190, which means he can outmsart most people. (AND beat them up as well, if it comes to that. Because as I said, he's a badass too.) Including Dean. I do love Dean a lot though.
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if your a teeny bopper your gonna watch supernatural. Fringe has BALLS
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http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/02/06/bubble-watch-fringe-vs-chuck-in-a-super-bubble-sunday-showdown/81641 >>> From the ratings it's 100% clear which show needs the viewers. Supernatural is listed as certain to be renewed and Fringe is on the bubble. If you're a fan of both, watch Fringe on Fridays.
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The Supernatural's characters are way better. Live Long DEAN! lol
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Fringe because AT&T doesn't have the CW in my area. stupid att:(
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