Fox is shaking up its midseason schedule. And you can blame or credit the escaped inmates of "Alcatraz" and Chef Gordon Ramsay.
The Futon Critic broke the story about Fox's latest tweak to its schedule. "Alcatraz" was originally slated to wrap up its freshman season of "Alcatraz" on March 12 after a few weeks of doubling-up on episodes. But the new plan is to extend the season by two weeks by placing "Alcatraz" at 8PM on Mondays beginning on March 12.
Consequently, the veteran series "House" will pulled until Monday April 2. Meanwhile, "Alcatraz" will lead off Monday nights for Kiefer Sutherland's new series, "Touch," which officially debuts on March 12 after its preview screening last week.
As for "Fringe," the critically acclaimed (and unfortunately, low rated) series will be pulled for the first three weeks of March in favor of "Kitchen Nightmares" repeats. The Gordon Ramsey-led reality show was recently renewed by Fox, so it isn't going anywhere. "Fringe" will wrap up its current run of episodes on February 24 before returning on Friday, March 23 for the final seven episodes of its fourth season.
The one silver lining in all of this is that "Fringe" and "House" fans won't have to deal with repeats. However, both series are currently on the bubble with Fox and pulling them from the schedule does neither show any favors in their respective attempts to lobby for an additional season. "Fringe" is especially vulnerable to viewer erosion on Friday nights and another hiatus may simply make that worse.
So listen up people, if you want "Fringe" to return for another season, convince as many of your friends as possible to watch the show live on Fridays instead of DVR-ing it. If the numbers move significantly upwards, then Fox may reconsider its position on "Fringe."
But if repeats of "Kitchen Nightmares" out gain new "Fringe" episodes, I'm going to feel very ashamed about the state of American television.