"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.

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. 

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

  • I’m not optimistic about the time change at all. I feel that the die-hard Sleepyheads will return and some of the fans that felt betrayed about what happened with Katrina in season two now that she’s dead and a new showrunner has taken over will come back, but unless the main problem of Fox’s lack of promotion and failure to replay episodes prior to the start of the season is addressed we’ll have a repeat of the season two ratings disaster. The lack of promo before season two caused the season to START with something like a forty percent drop in viewership.

    As much as I’d like to blame it all on Katrina and Crane Family Drama, Fox is equally responsible. Katrina was bad, but those painful episodes only compounded the problem that already existed. I agree that Fox has demoted Sleepy Hollow, especially pairing it with a dying Bones. Perhaps I’m biased because Bones was just never a show I connected with, even though I enjoy procedurals. I hope that Fox decides to increase promotion for the show and exposure of its stars.

    It would also help if Nicole and Tom get acquainted w/ fans and have a social media presence. If you look at a show like The Vampire Diaries, you’ll find low ratings, pretty standard for the CW, but a rabid and dedicated fan base. I hate social media generally and only joined Twitter because I love this show so much and want to support it. If I as a fan can get into something like this you’d think the stars of the show would help to engage the fans. We Sleepyheads are desperate for crumbs these days. Nicole Beharie is always so gracious in interviews and will tweet a bit, but if you look at Tom Mison’s twitter page, you wouldn’t even know he was a star of the show! Trollando was our savior when it came to engaging the fans, and now he’s gone. The new showrunner responded positively, but it seems he got bombarded w/ requests and Ichatrinas desperately trying to get her back. Plus I’m sure they are working like crazy to get something amazing going. All in all, we need more interaction from the stars, writers–hell, even the cameraman would be nice at this point!

    Along with heavy promotion, reairing episodes, and social media engagement, I think Fox should bring in BIG NAME guest stars to entice viewers or even add a permanent big name star to fill Orlando’s shoes. Many movies stars are moving to television. Empire is amazing not only for the fun format and great performances by regular cast but also because we are spoiled with seeing big names all the time. Sleepy Hollow may be treated as Fox’s step child right now, but if they cough up a few bucks I have no doubt this show can revert to season one glory. They’ve already invested so much in it and gave us a third season, why not invest a little more and make it spectacular? Abbie and Ichabod are great and could carry this show alone but a little star power just to draw people back in will only help.

    We must continue to fight for SH and not get complacent. It seems as soon as we begin to get comfortable and breathe a sigh of relief, the show takes another hit! The ratings and night change is very real. Last night, the new Matt Dillon/Terrence Howard show Wayward Pines premiered on Fox against Scandal and drew only a 1.0 in the demo! Bones was exactly the same at 1.0, yet they want this show to be Sleepy Hollow’s “lead in” on Thursdays? The Blacklist is also losing ratings against Scandal and only brought in a 1.5 in demo. Not bad, but definitely not what the show’s viewership numbers looked like before their move. Wayward Pines was pretty interesting and has the star power to bring in viewers, yet it didn’t. M. Night Shyamalan writes this show, as well. I thought they’d bring in at least a 2.0. Fox mistakenly thinks that because Scandal & SH are different genres they don’t share viewers, which is ridiculous. I think it will be interesting to see how Wayward Pines fares next week now that Scandal’s season is over.

    Many apologies for this long rant, but I’m a very passionate Sleepyhead and there are just not enough characters to get it all out in a tweet 🙂 My final thought is to wonder if Fox actually has a plan or has renewed the show to pacify Sleepy’s loyal, vocal fan base only to put it out to pasture with Bones. Because face it, this will certainly be Bones’ last season. Where does that leave Sleepy Hollow?

  • Reblogged this on carolanna1.

  • sleepy hollow deserves better

  • Reblogged this on Geeking Out about It and commented:
    I feel the same way about Bones. Why is that still on?

  • Barb

    Sleepy almost lost us with the Katrina storyline, but we persevered! We will continue to watch.

    In this day and age a twitter presence is so important. Look at how almost all the major actors on SPN tweet-even Jensen! The show will miss Orlando and so will I.