Tonight marks the soft launch of one of the TV season’s most intriguing timeslot showdowns: Fox’s sci-fi cult fave Fringe vs. The CW’s fantasy/horror cult fave Supernatural at 9 p.m. I say “soft” because Supernatural airs a repeat tonight; it’ll return with new episodes next week. Fringe — moving into the timeslot after spending over a year on Thursday nights — comes back from the winter break with an original outing entitled “The Firefly,” which plays like a wink to Joss Whedon’s gone-too-soon outer space oater (and Friday-at-9 failure) Firefly.
In its third season, Fringe has been attracting around 5 million viewers in real time. Most pundits expect that Fringe will take a ratings hit in its new home, but no one is certain how big that hit will be. Fans seem alarmed about the long-term prospects of the show; we’ll see if they’re concerned enough to make the commitment to staying home on Friday nights as opposed to making it a watch-on-DVR-over-the-weekend thing. READ FULL STORY