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FOX's struggling 'Forever Eden' continues its scheduling death march... to Fridays at 9PM


By Reality TV World staff, 03/30/2004 

FOX has announced that as part of the demolition of its highly promoted "New FOX Friday" after only three weeks, its Forever Eden "reality soap" series has been "permanently" moved to the network's Friday 9 PM ET/PT time period.

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The latest in a dizzying array of scheduling moves for the struggling series, the change, which takes effect immediately, means that this Friday's broadcast of Forever Eden's sixth episode will mark the fourth different weeknight on which the program has aired.

Originally scheduled to premiere on Monday, March 1 and Tuesday, March 2 at 9PM ET/PT and air again on Monday, March 8 before moving to its regular Thursday at 9 PM ET/PT time period on March 18, Eden failed to take advantage of the American Idol lead-ins that its two premiere week episodes had and lost even more viewers when its third episode aired on Monday, March 8 without the benefit of an Idol lead-in.

Hoping to give the program a little longer the capture the audience of My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, the network's just-concluded hit series that had aired in the same time period, FOX originally opted to delay the program's departure to the scheduling Death Valley known as Thursdays at 9 PM ET/PT for another two weeks (and in the process, delayed the originally scheduled Monday, March 29 at 9PM ET/PT premiere of new time period occupant The Swan for a couple of weeks), only to suddenly cancel Eden's move delay once the program's fourth episode ratings continued to show a hemorrhaging of viewers.

Airing last week on Thursday, March 25 at 9PM ET/PT for the first time in its new "permanent" time period the program still performed poorly, setting another record series low with only 3.8 million overall viewers, however the performance was deemed more acceptable given the 9PM time period's presence of ratings giants CSI and The Apprentice.

However after just one week in its new time period FOX has decided to shunt the show off to Friday evenings, where the network's new highly-promoted "New FOX Friday" lineup of Playing It Straight at 8 PM ET/PT and Wonderfalls at 9 PM ET/PT is being torn apart after three weeks of disappointing ratings. In announcing the demolition of its new "FOX Fridays" lineup, the network announced it will be swapping Wonderfalls and Forever Eden, with the critically-praised but low rated Wonderfalls moving to Eden's previous Thursday dead zone time period while Eden will be getting Wonderfalls' "better" Fridays at 9 PM ET/PT time period.

Whether FOX programmers actually anticipate that Eden will perform better in the Friday evening timeslot in which the networks typically struggle to attract the younger viewers toward which Eden is marketed or are simply looking to find a spot to park the program while it waits for its original twenty-five episode commitment to the series to burn off remains to be seen. Given that as part of its schedule shakeup the similar-skewing Playing It Straight has been pulled off the airwaves entirely, its difficult to envision Eden succeeding in the similar 9 PM hour.

Whatever the case, clearly the comments of FOX's head of alternative programming Mike Darnell, in which in announcing the program he stated that Eden would air "in a (timeslot) where the network can be very, very patient" no longer apply. Except perhaps in Hollywood, where after all, three timeslots in three weeks apparently means the definition of "patience." As does pulling a six-episode reality series (Straight) off the air with only three episodes left for broadcast.

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