The fall season has not quite officially started, but ABC rolled out its Friday lineup in force last night. It was a wild night but let’s start off with the less-than-bad news: Shark Tank (1.7/6) returned for its fifth season and pretty much held its ground. The entrepreneurial reality series saw a 6% dip from its September 14, 2012 Season 4 premiere. It also saw a 5% rise in viewership from last year’s opener to become the show’s most watched season debut yet. Building 42% on its 8:30 PM The Neighbors lead-in, Shark Tank was the highest rated and, with 6.68 million tuning in, most watched show of the night. However, despite significant growth over the past couple of seasons and formidable repeat results, the series’ Season 5 debut was down 11% from the finale of its previous cycle on May 17. It was also down from its Season 4 average of 1.9/6 in adults 18-49. Last night Shark Tank did beat its Season 4 viewership average of 6.54 million watching.
Last Man Standing (1.5/6) was first out of the gate from ABC at 8 PM with its Season 3 debut. Despite an appearance by some of the cast of A&E’s ratings blockbuster Duck Dynasty, the Tim Allen-led comedy fell 25% from its Season 2 debut on November 2, 2012. Compared to its March 22 season finale, which pulled in a 1.6/6 with 7.83 million watching, last night’s Last Man Standing dipped 6% among adults 18-49. Also, while a drop debut-to-debut, last night’s premiere was in line with Last Man’s season average last year. Moving from Tuesdays to Fridays last season, Last Man averaged a 1.5/5 and 6.88 million viewers.
Next up was The Neighbors (1.2/4) and you might want to take some pie over there to welcome them to their new Friday slot because moving in wasn’t easy. In fact it was a series low for the sci-fi sitcom. Moving from Wednesdays to Fridays and taking over the slot of the now-cancelled Malibu Country, Neighbors was down 37% from its Season 1 premiere on September 26, 2012. Harsher still, it cratered 48% from the 2.3 Malibu drew in its Season 1 debut on November 2, 2012. The Dan Fogelman-created show also saw a double-digit drop from the 1.5/5 of its March 27 Season 1 finale, falling 20% in the key demo. Perhaps more troubling for ABC is that while only moderately successful in its first season, Neighbors did average a 1.8/5 rating in its debut cycle. Last night’s number is going to have to make up a lot of ground to close on that. ABC finished the night with a new 20/20 (1.4/5) that was up an impressive 27% from last week.
With a 1.5/5, ABC won the night in adults 18-49 and in viewers with 5.97 million watching.
Otherwise the only original on the Big Four last night was NBC’s Dateline (1.2/4). Running from 9-11 PM, the newsmagazine series was down 21% from last week. The CW’s Perfect Score (0.2/1) was down 33% from last week and America’s Next Top Model (0.4/1) tumbled 20% from its September 13 episode.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.