Friday night saw the season finales of ABC comedies Last Man Standing (1.6/6) and Malibu Country (1.4/5). Wrapping up its second cycle, the Tim Allen starring Last Man rose 14% from last week’s show. Having moved from its first season Tuesday slot to Fridays for Season 2, the series was up 18% in total viewers from its May 8, 2012 Season 1 finale and dipped just 6% from last year’s closer. Last Man Standing was the number 1 show of the night in both the Adult 18-49 demo and in total viewers (7.85 million). In fact, Last Man matched its November 2, 2012 season opening number among 18-49 for its highest result in the key demographic. Bringing its freshman season to a conclusion, Malibu Country, starring Reba McEntire, saw a sometimes-rocky first run end 27% up from last week’s season low. It was also up 25% in viewers over its March 15 show to 7 million watching. That made Friday’s episode the third most watched Malibu Country since its November 2 premiere and its second week November 9 show. After a Shark Tank (1.4/4) repeat, which rated higher or equal to originals on other networks, ABC closed the night with a new 20/20 which was up 14% from last week. For the second week in a row, ABC won the night in total viewers and among Adults 18-49. So far this season, ABC is the top network among Adults 18-49, gaining 13% year to year with its best delivery on the night since the 2008-2009 season.
The 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (1.0/3) continued Friday on CBS. The primetime games last night saw Iona take on Ohio State and Iowa State versus Notre Dame. Measured in the primetime 8 PM to 11 PM period, the tournament was down from the 2.2 rating of comparable games on March 23, 2012. However, with the nature of live sports, and with the first game starting at 7 PM and the second game running past 11 PM, Friday’s numbers are approximate at best right now. The tournament runs until April 8.
Fox started off Friday with a Kitchen Nightmares (0.9/2) repeat followed by a new Touch (0.7/2). After hitting a series low last week, the Kiefer Sutherland show shot up 17% last night. Now in its third week of its second season, Fashion Star (0.7/2) was even with its March 15 show as was Grimm (1.4/4). While the reality show and the procedural fantasy drama held on to their audiences and even both saw small rises (1% and 5% respectively) in total viewership against strong competition like the college basketball tournament, Rock Center With Brian Williams (0.9/3) went for the big play. The news magazine show lit it up with a 50% rise from last week’s rating. Maybe it was the profile of WME chief Ari Emanuel, his Chicago Mayor brother Rahm and his other brother, doctor Zeke. Maybe it was just the right night, right slot. Either way, something was rockin’ at Rock Center on Friday. The CW had a repeat of The iHeartRadio Album Release Party With Justin Timberlake (0.4/1) and then a new Cult (0.2/1). The freshman series was even with its March 15 show, which was up 50% from its March 8 episode.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.