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What Does LUCIFER’s Move Mean For the Series?

By on June 9, 2017

Tom Ellis as Lucifer. Co. CR: Michael Courtney/FOX

It may be summer but that hasn’t put FOX off advertising the return of Lucifer.

The supernatural comedy will return this fall in a new time slot of 8 pm, paired with a new show, The Gifted.

Good omen? Bad omen? Let’s discuss.

Until now, Lucifer has comfortably filled a Monday night spot at 9 pm, following Gotham. Both comic book shows seemed a natural fit, both for the slot, and each other, providing genre fans with a solid programming block to rival temptation from Freeform’s Shadowhunters and the CW’s Supergirl.

With both shows working so well together in the past, why bring the split now? The chief reason behind the break-up is that this fall, FOX will debut new genre show, The Gifted, a promising X-Men-esque affair that has already created some buzz online, and as we’ve all seen in the past, it’s now pretty much standard procedure among the Broadcast networks to debut new shows against a lead-in that worked well the previous season.

But the real question here is this: Is FOX so confident in Lucifer’s ratings that it’s willing to bank on the show being the best possible lead-in for The Gifted? Or is pairing it with a buzz-worthy new show more of an attempt to shore up viewers for season 3? Lucifer saw its final 4 episodes of season 2 cut from the schedule and shunted to season 3’s programming block, and with ratings slipping significantly in the weeks prior to the season 2 finale, this seems the more likely of the two scenarios.

But it’s not necessarily all doom and gloom for Lucifer specifically as regards ratings. The show is generally holding its own against a greater malaise gnawing away at prime-time for some years now: no one in the demo is watching live prime-time drama. 2017 marks the 5th straight year in a row the ‘Big 4’ Networks (ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS) have failed to average a 3.0 or more in the A18-49 demo. Not only that, but most finished with less than a 2.0, meaning 98% of people aged 18-49 were doing something else with their time.

Ratings aside, what is perhaps more worrying is not Lucifer’s new Monday night partner, but its new Monday night time slot of 8 pm, a pre-watershed slot that traditionally leans towards tamer fare. A key ingredient to Lucifer’s charm is its sense of cheeky, and more often than not, sexual banter. Will an 8 pm Lucifer sound significantly different? And crucially, will Lucifer without the naughty bits cause even more viewers to drift away next season?

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