"Sleepy Hollow": Analyzing the New Time Slot

Sleepy Hollow is moving from Monday to Thursday! Should be happy or cry in anguish? We should probably do a bit of both. 

As I wrote in my Fall TV post, the move Thursday could rightfully interpreted as a “Go to your room and think about what you’ve done” move. To quote myself:

Sleepy Hollow, however, has been moved from Monday to Thursday, with its former spot taken by Minority Report.

The Monday pimp slot going to a new show seems like a demotion for Sleepy Hollow, or more like punishment for having such a sucky second season. But really, it’s probably more like a show having to earn its goodwill back since Fox has probably lost some of it’s trust in the show. It’s going to have to work hard, since not only is it on Thursday, but it’s on after Bones, a show that couldn’t be more opposite of it in terms of procedurals. (Speaking of Bones, I thought that show had it’s final season three seasons ago. Why is this show still on?)

Entertainment Weekly seems to think the Thursday move is a good thing, since they seem to be of the mindset that Fox still thinks its got a rabid enough fanbase to go up against ABC’s TGIT lineup. I guess. It could be. It could not be. To me, it just seems like Fox has let Sleepy Hollow loose in the wilderness to find its way back, like Hansel and Gretel (or, for the Dragonball Z fans, when Gohan was left alone in the wild by Piccolo). Only the strong (i.e. the shows who pull in beaucoup ratings) survive on Fox, and Sleepy Hollow’s got to show it can still pull its weight. If we thought Season 2 was the gauntlet, Season 3 will certainly be one that will make or break the show’s chances of coming back for that all-important and syndication-worthy Season 4.

Since then, I’ve seen tons of fans expressing worry and concern on the interwebs. According to some commenters on my site, I’ve carved out a niche for providing balanced, fair, non-fear-inciting Sleepy Hollow news. I can’t say that this time around, I won’t be quelling fears, but I will try to stay as balanced as usual.

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Personally, as a fan, I think fans should be worried about the Thursday time slot. I stick by my quote above that the Thursday move is a punishment move. But it’s also a “check yourself” move. Fox really wants Sleepy Hollow to prove itself to be a juggernaut again. Just because Mark Goffman is gone and we’ve got a new showrunner doesn’t mean the trust will automatically come back. Fox is waiting to see if the audience that left during Katrina’s reign of terror will return.

For that reason, the fans should keep up with their mobilizing efforts and 1) get people to return to the show and 2) watch the show every week. When Fox sees that the audience has returned, Fox will increase its goodwill. I don’t know if that means they’ll move it back to Mondays; I think that’s a stretch. But when Sleepy Hollow proves its worth again, Fox will throw more bones its way.

Speaking of Bones, having Sleepy Hollow come after Bones seems like it doesn’t make sense. Technically speaking, it doesn’t. But it also seems like Fox didn’t have anywhere else to put Sleepy Hollow after the series order of Minority Report. Apparently, as some have said, Fox really wants a strong genre-specific Monday, and since Sleepy Hollow is no longer fit to have the Monday pimp slot, why not give it to Minority Report, which needs the heavy promotion since it’s a new show? Again, Sleepy Hollow has to prove itself get back on top.

Sleepy Hollow having to share Thursday with a show that has nothing to do with anything sci-fi (or humor, or anything not boring) is worrisome enough. But even more worrisome is Sleepy Hollow having to go up against ABC’s strongest night of television, TGIT (otherwise known as Shonda Rhimes Night). It’s a dangerous thing for a show that’s trying to pull a Rocky-esque comeback to be forced to go against Scandal. 

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However, Sleepy Hollow might not be in as dire straits as I or others might think, since Scandal itself is an old, established show and many of its original fans have long since left, whether it’s from the long monologues or the troubling Sally Hemmings/Thomas Jefferson vibe from Olitz (Olivia said it herself) or Olivia’s annoying reliance on white men in general. Scandal is now a long-standing institution, so if some fans tune out and watch the full hour of Sleepy Hollow, it won’t die. The diehard fanbase has already been established.

I think the only thing that can’t be predicted is just who will fill Orlando Jones’ role as Lead Fanboy, the one who kept fan morale up and overwhelmingly supported fan movements. Jones has left to co-create his own production company with some current and former K/O Paper Products people, so Irving’s going to leave the show somehow. But who’s going to 1) fill the vacuum Irving’s leaving and 2) who’s going to lead the fans? Neither Tom Mison or Nicole Beharie have done as much in terms of fan engagement like Jones, despite Beharie tweeting her acknowledgment and appreciation of #AbbieMillsDeservesBetter. To make it short: I don’t know what’s going to happen with the lack of a fan like Jones.

Photo credit: Brownie Harris/FOX