Can Life get a life on Friday night?
So, NBC introduced their earth-shattering year-round schedule this week to a lot of 'ho-hums' from critics and advertisers alike. Nothing really changed from the way they were programming the network for the last few years -- shows like 30 Rock, The Office and Heroes will air in September while others, like the coveted Office spin-off, will begin airing mid-season. Also, many shows will remain in the same time slots as they did in previous years.
Oh, there will be some changes. Lipstick Jungle, which most recently aired in ER's slot, will be moved to Wednesdays. In addition, Life, the surprise fan favorite of the first half of the season, will be moving out of its coveted 10:00 pm slot on Wednesdays to Friday night at the same time. The relocation of Life to the end of the week begs one question that needs to be asked to the programmers over at NBC....
What the FRAK are you thinking?
As fans of this criminal procedural know Life is more than a criminal procedural. It's a show about one man's struggle to return to a normal life after spending over a decade in prison for a crime he did not commit. It's a show about broken people trying to mend themselves. It's a show that delves into some of the philosophical questions that come up during criminal investigations. It's a serialized show that features a sub-plot concerning the lead character, Charlie Crews, trying to find out who framed him for the murder that put him in prison.
In other words, Life is a show that makes you think. And, on Friday nights, you don't want to do too much thinking. Or, to put it more succinctly: Life isn't Las Vegas.
That's why the move from Wednesdays to Fridays could mean the death of this show. Since it is a show that you need to sit and think about, there's a chance that it won't gain the increased fan base that it needs. Sure, it will probably still retain many of the fans it garnered from its pre-strike run, but how many of them will stay on when there is other original programming on during Friday nights that doesn't involve as much synaptic activity.
This actually brings up another point. With the move of Life to Friday nights the network is almost programming against itself...well, against its cable siblings at least. We're talking about the shows that air Friday nights on sister networks USA and Sci Fi; programming that actually brings in some very decent numbers. During the fall Life could be up against Psych on USA and Stargate Atlantis on Sci Fi. Come the winter it could be Psych and Battlestar Galactica that vie for the ratings numbers. And, with this being the last season for BSG, there's a pretty good chance that more people will be turning into that science fiction program then they do for a real-life action series.
Despite being one of those rare shows that didn't merit much negative coverage, Life seems to be getting the raw end of the deal here with this move. If the story of who framed Charlie was resolved at the end of the first season or it had time to establish itself as a solid ratings gatherer, I may have been okay with the schedule shift. But, since there is so much more story to tell for Crews and his partner ,it should remain on Wednesdays to give us viewers some stability and time to digest the situation. Now that it will be airing during the last primetime hour of the work week there's a very good chance that we won't get to see our friend Charlie for much longer.
Now that I've said my peace what do you think?