Last November, when ABC beat CBS’ scripted Friday lineup multiple times in adults 18-49 with a mix of reality shows and newsmagazines, I wondered whether the concept of putting scripted series on Friday was doomed. Well, looking at the numbers last night, it certainly seems that way, particularly if you program for the advertiser-friendly adults 18-49 set. Fox’s reality series Kitchen Nightmares (1.6/6 in adults 18-49, 4 million viewers) and ABC’s newsmagazine 20/20 (1.2/4, 4 million) were the only programs on the Big 4 networks last night not to drop from premiere week in adults 18-49, with all scripted shows down. While this may not be particularly disconcerting for CBS — which is putting an older-skewing fare on the night that can pack 10 million viewers despite low 18-49 numbers — it has got to be alarming for NBC, which is about to unspool two younger-skewing shows on the night, Chuck and Grimm.
Following Kitchen Nightmares, Fringe (1.2/4, 3.1 million viewers) was down 20% from its low season premiere last week. Granted the series grows some 50% in DVR viewing, this is still a very low base to start from, making it unlikely that the sci-fi drama can cheat cancellation one more time.
Like Fringe, CBS’ rookie A Gifted Man (1.2/4, 8.1 million) is fading, down 14% from its debut last week and tied with Fringe and 20/20 as the lowest-rated first-run program last night. CSI: NY (1.6/5, 10 million) was down 11% from last week in 18-49, while Blue Bloods (1.8/6, 11.2 million) was down 10% but still ranked as the highest-rated program on Friday in both 18-49 and total viewers. NBC and ABC ran repeats of freshman series for additional sampling, followed by newsmagazines. NBC’s two-hour Dateline (1.6/5, 6.2 million) was down 20% in the demo from last week, 20/20 was up by that much. CBS (1.5/5, 9.8 million) won the night in 18-49 and total viewers, but it will be interesting to see how the network fares against NBC and especially ABC when the networks ditch scripted reruns for Chuck and Grimm (NBC) and reality, coupled with 20/20 (ABC).
The CW can’t re-create the ratings magic Smallville and Supernatural had together last season, drawing tons of young eyeballs to the low-trafficked Friday night. Nikita (0.6/2, 1.8 million) at least held steady from its low start last week in 18-49 and shed 5% in total viewers. Supernatural (0.7/2, 1.8 million) was down a tenth in the demo and 10% in viewers.
UPDATE: Disney Channel’s new comedy series Jessie launched Friday with 4.6 million viewers, 2.3 million/9.2 rating in Kids 6-11 and 1.8 million/7.6 rating in Tweens 9-14. That was Disney Channel’s best Friday series launch in 3 years, since The Suite Life on Deck in September 2008. Overall, it was the best since the debut of Shake It Up last November. In adults 18-49, Jessie delivered a solid 887,000 viewers.
In Tweens 9-14, Jessie boosted lead-out Phineas and Ferb to its No. 1 telecast of all time (1.6 million/6.6 rating), while Fish Hooks netted its No. 3 telecast ever (1.3 million/5.3 rating) in the target demo.
TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.