Moving Bones to Thursday nights was not a good idea

by Richard Keller, posted Feb 25th 2009 6:11PM

Moving Bones to Thursday nights was not a good idea for the seriesHere's why: it now languishes on my DVR for days afterward. When it aired on Wednesday nights I would either watch it live or immediately after I put the kids to bed. It was appointment television for both my wife and me; something that we could get together for after a day of work and children and basic mayhem.

Now that FOX switched the show to Thursdays it doesn't have the same importance as it once did. Instead it gets superseded by the other "Must See" shows of the evening. Because there's so much to see that night the DVR gets loaded up with those shows as well, pushing Bones lower in the queue. Then Friday comes around and we watch the other shows, plus that night's entries. With Saturday and Sunday being so busy with life in general I don't get enough time to clear out the DVR queue. By the time the next new episode of Bones airs my wife and I haven't even watched the previous week's episode.

This does not bode well for Bones in the current television environment, especially since I'm probably not the only one who is doing this. It's not that the show has changed significantly this season. It's more like a psychological shift has taken place in my mind that realigns its importance to me down a few notches. it's the same thing with ABC's Life on Mars. When it was on Thursday nights it interested me more, despite the fact it was on the same time as ER. Now that it has been moved to its current Wednesday night slot I just can't seem to get involved. Because of that it also holds a number of slots in the DVR queue.

This is all due to the archaic 22-episode season that the legacy networks still utilize. Rather than breaking shows like Bones and Life on Mars into two shorter, separate seasons spaced further apart, network executives push and pull them around the schedule to make room for rating and fan behemoths like Lost and American Idol. By doing this the networks are actually diluting these properties rather than pumping them up.

Breaking up shows like Bones into smaller parcels is a benefit not only for the network that airs it but for the fans as well. Say Bones aired from September to December on Wednesday, then took the entire first half of the new year off so American Idol could fill the network's revenue pools. This would leave an entire summer for another, shorter season of the show. In addition, other scripted fare could be added to the schedule without irking fans.

Oh, you say that the viewers aren't there for summer programming? Tell that to creators of shows like Psych, Monk and The Closer, who thrive during the later summer months then come back in the winter for a new batch of episodes. This type of formula has worked swimmingly for a number of cable networks and kept them competitive during the summer season when the other networks air nothing but reality fare. Question is, why are the cable networks so good at doing this when the legacy networks aren't motivated to do this?

With new season Upfronts right around the corner FOX should really consider how it wants to air its successful scripted shows once American Idol rears its ugly head in 2010. Should it continue with the half-hearted, schedule changing practice it has used over the last few seasons, or should it really go for a bold approach, shorten the show's seasons, and really give viewers a year-round opportunity to watch original programming? I'd be interested in your input.

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There is a better way: Kill off American Idle as the giant crapfest that it is. Honestly, I cannot comprehend who watches this drek and why. Those of you pissed that Fox killed Firefly? This is why. Firefly was pushed around the schedule so that this pap could be stretched into 2 hour slots. Annoyed that your Bones, House or Lie To Me DVR episodes have 2 minutes cut off at the end? This is why. Fox regularly stretches AI to be and hour and 2 minutes. Kill American Idol and everyone wins.

March 02 2009 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zoti Bemba

Perhaps, my dear Richard, the fault lies not in the schedule but in the show. And you. Or, really, how you're now seeing the show. Sort of...

Let's face it, for good or ill Bones isn't the show that it was in Season 1. Some people may not mind that, and some would argue that it's better now than it ever was. I'm not one of those people, and perhaps you aren't either. At some point the plots began getting stale, the jokes less funny, the characters and situations more ridiculous. It got to be a chore to watch instead of a treat. Then the Zach fiasco at the end of last season pretty much broke my emotional bond to the show entirely. I mean, really. Bones has gone from being the highlight of my week to forgetting that it's on. Sometimes I wonder if it will ever recapture the magic that made it so exciting once upon a time; then I see the spoilers for the next few episodes and think probably not.

Maybe you're just at the first stage of moving on. Maybe something will happen to get you to come back (which happened to me with Lost), or maybe you'll just keep on going forward until you find another show to love.

February 26 2009 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"It was appointment television for both my wife and I..."

should be "...and me..."


February 26 2009 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What's with the assumption that everyone watches TV during the week but not on the weekends? I've got a busy work week and I don't have much time for TV until the weekends. And if there's a Bones episode sitting out there on the DVR, that's the one I watch first. The show that's piling up on my DVR right now is Heroes, and it has nothing to do with what night it airs.

February 26 2009 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree 100% with everything you said. I've had to stop watching Life on Mars because it conflicts, and had to stop watching another to watch Bones - can't ditch that one! It's really annoying that they do this.

February 26 2009 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In general, Bones has been doing very well in the ratings this season and last week (the first night it was up against new episodes of Survivor, Ugly Betty, etc) it definitely held its own - which means that it is keeping its audience and that's what the networks really care about. The fan base is loyal and has been following the show, from night to night, for years.

While the move to Thursdays may be inconvenient for you, the networks are trying to build a strong line up that will win each nights time slots and demos. Right now, House, American Idol and Bones are their breadwinners. I was actually thrilled when I heard that FOX was moving Bones to Thursday, considering that they've been threatening, for years now, to move it to Fridays. The Thursday move shows that FOX has faith in Bones to put it up against such strong competition.

If you really love Bones, as much as you claim you do, you'd find time somewhere in your schedule to watch it. Instead of watching those other "Must See" shows first, why not just watch Bones first then watch them later in the week - or even later in the night? By watching it on DVR you save about 20 minutes in commercials, so I'm sure you could squeeze in an addition 40 minutes into your evening.

Regarding the 22 episode season, Bones is actually going to have a 26 episodes season this year. It returns with new episodes on March 12 and every week thereafter will be new episodes through May 21. (11 new episodes in a row! :))

February 26 2009 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"By the time the next new episode of Bones airs my wife and I haven't even watched the previous week's episode."

Well, Fox tries to help with this by prempting Bones every other week or so for Idol.....

February 26 2009 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lady Olivier

I don't like Bones on thursday night only because they don't show it consistently! They show it like twice a month or something. I don't want to watch American idol and I don't want to watch Hell's kitchen! I want to watch Bones. When it was on Wednesday night I loved it more because I hate CBS comedies on Wednesday, and Criminal Minds has gotten boring. But Bones always surprises me and the chemistry of the actors works. I miss House on Tuesday nights too, I watch CBS on Monday and Tuesday and pretty much neglect Fox until Sunday night and when Bones is on.
I guess I wouldn't care what night they put it on as long as they showed it regularly.

February 26 2009 at 8:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How can you not keep up with it? It's hardly on!!! I mean, weeks go by before a new episode starts. Damn Fox. They know how to piss their viewers off - one of the best shows on TV and they move it around for new episodes of ick, American Idol and Hell's Kitchen.

February 26 2009 at 8:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Lawler

I gotta disagree, and with the way the schedules been lately, it hasn't been on in consecutive weeks so there's plllllenty of time to catch up. I agree with the other person who wanted it back on Mondays with House, that's what got me started watching it.

February 26 2009 at 7:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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