Is it time to say goodbye to Human Target? Two weeks of pre-emption doesn't look good, after all, and switching broadcast days without notice is a sure way to lose viewers. So is there reason to be slightly hopeful about the future of Christopher Chance? And if so, why?
I'll admit a bias straight off: I like Human Target. I know, it's not the greatest show ever made, and I'm still not convinced that the creative changes made going into the second season were necessarily for the best - Ames, in particular, really annoys me - but it's a fun show that entertains without requiring too much input from the viewer, nor without a ridiculous level of pandering or going for the lowest common denominator tricks. But it's never been a hit, and even the second season renewal seemed a surprise, considering the ratings for the first go-around. No surprise, then, that this second season has been equally problematic for Fox, and just as depressingly obvious, no surprise that they're reportedly thinking about supersizing the impossibly-successful American Idol, squeezing the show out of its timeslot for the next few Wednesdays.
But here's the thing: There's a chance that Target might have the same chance as Fringe at survival - which, admittedly, may not be great, but is something - on the very same night. Last week's unannounced pre-emption of the show to Friday (Missed by many DVRs, he writes, bitterly) may have dropped almost 25% compared with Wednesdays in terms of ratings, but it nonetheless brought in more viewers than previous Friday night Fox shows like Dollhouse and The Good Guys. In fact, with an average of 4.7 million viewers over its two hour period, Human Target turned out to play pretty well on Fridays. So why not just move it to that night for good, and let it find its level?
There's an interesting side-effect to this: What if Fringe doesn't do as well as Human Target did, when it starts its Friday run this week? Will that make Fox more likely to move Target there permanently, to bolster the night? Will it make them wonder if Fringe is failing, and put that show in more danger? Or will Target's Friday performance be judged a fluke and ignored forever from this point on?
All remains to be seen (And, I should add, I'd rather have Fringe than Human Target if I was forced at gunpoint to choose), but it's a strange thing indeed when Friday night has become the possible savior of two genre shows on Fox...