When Joss Whedon's new project Dollhouse debuts on 9:00 pm Friday the 13th of next February, it will have the support of some big hitters, namely Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which will be moving permanently to the 8:00 pm slot. However, the other one is not even on the network. (Wha?)
While Whedon will undoubtedly have bad memories of the very Friday night time slot which ended up burying his pet project (and cult favorite) Firefly, this may be a legitimate effort to build a strong Friday night "destination TV" concept that has some staying power. This is further helped by the fact that on Friday nights, starting January 16, Sci-Fi Channel will show the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica at 10:00 pm, which creates a three-hour block of "nerd pron."
The concept, in TV insider jargon, is known as tent-polling. You start out the evening by taking one successful show, then ending the evening with another successful one, thereby supporting the (usually new) show in the middle as the poles of a tent. (ABC made an art form of this in the 80's and 90's with the TGIF block.) In this case, while one of the "poles" is on another network, Fox will utilize its (Galactica's) presence nonetheless to cap off their night.
And what a perfect night to have it. Where else would us nerds be on Friday night? (Well, GOW2 just came out, so...)