"We are on next Thursday, April 1 [at 9 p.m. ET]," says Todd Holland, co-creator (with Bryan Fuller) of FOX's dramedy "Wonderfalls," "and now is the time for all good fans to come to the aid of our show. This is the moment of truth. Those ratings numbers will mean everything to us.
"FOX has seen some small portion of the light, and they're airing us as a one-time-only thing, a brand-new episode. They're doing a bit of a night switch without officially moving us, to test the waters."
Caroline Dhavernas stars in the quirky one-hour series as Jaye Tyler, an overeducated, underemployed and disaffected gift-shop clerk in Niagara Falls, N.Y. She is forced to connect with the world and her overachieving family when animal figurines (like the "Pink Flamingos" in the April 1 episode) start giving her cryptic messages. Forced by the insistent figurines to carry out seemingly meaningless instructions, Jaye slowly realizes the interconnectedness of fate and her part in it.
"Wonderfalls" struggled in its premiere slot on Friday, March 12, at 9 p.m. ET, despite an outpouring of positive critical reaction. Holland experienced something very different when his last FOX series, "Malcolm in the Middle," made its debut.
"As much as it was a great pilot, great script and cast," he says, "'Malcolm' was also given the single best time slot FOX had to offer, Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. ET, right after 'The Simpsons,' and was promoted straight out of the Super Bowl.
"You choose to give a show your glory time slot because you believe in it. You choose to give it one of your worst time slots because your belief isn't quite as strong. Clearly it's a message that, despite their love, there is mixed feeling at the network level."
But, Holland says, there was good news to be found in a repeat of the "Wonderfalls" premiere on Thursday, March 18, following the also low-rated sci-fi drama "Tru Calling," which stars Eliza Dushku ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer").
"FOX finds redemption in their teen viewers of 'Tru Calling,'" Holland says. "Teens keep that show afloat. We held our 70-80 percent of our teen audience across the hour between 'Tru' and the 'Wonderfalls' pilot repeat.
"Our feeling is, Thursday night at 9 clearly shows that 'Tru Calling' and 'Wonderfalls' are a great team. One's sort of dark and sweet, and the other one's bright and sour. They're two great tastes that taste great together."