NBC’s Outlaw is a show in a desperate fight for its life, with its production put on a two-week hiatus that will become permanent unless its ratings improve. They didn’t last night as the legal drama starring Jimmy Smits matched its underwhelming 1.0 rating in adults 18-49 from last week and drew 4.2 million viewers, down 11% from last week. What’s worse, they didn’t despite Outlaw‘s lead-in, a two-hour Dateline (1.6/6) spiking 23% from last week and its drama competition in the 10 PM hour, CBS’ Blue Bloods (1.8/6) weakening by 10% in the demo. Hope is fading fast for Outlaw, which could’ve fared differently on another night as its preview behind America’s Got Talent indicated, but appears to have no future Fridays at 10 PM.
And while Outlaw‘s lack of improvement wasn’t all that surprising, there was something else last night that was: the resurgence of newsmagazines. Neither Dateline or ABC’s 20/20 featured any big celebrity interviews (20/20 was dedicated to the movie Catfish). Still, Dateline was up 23% in the demo from last week, and 20/20 (1.8/6) surged 63% from last week, tying Blue Bloods as the No.1 program in 18-49 at 10 PM. And both did it with virtually no lead-in: Dateline was a self-starter at 8 PM while 20/20 followed a No Ordinary Family repeat (0.9/3) as ABC continues to rerun freshman series from 8-10 PM on Fridays for additional sampling.
CBS’ Medium (1.2/5, 6.1 million viewers overall) seems to have leveled off, matching its demo performance from last week and finishing second at 8 PM in both 18-49 and total viewers behind Dateline, which drew 6.5 million viewers in its first hour. Nice bump for CBS’ relocated veteran drama CSI:NY (1.9/6, 9.9 million), which was up 12% from last week in 18-49 and for the first time ranked as the top-rated program on Fridays in the demo. The show that held that title for the first 2 weeks of the season, the Tom Selleck starrer Blue Bloods (1.8/6, 11.1 million viewers), was down 10% in 18-49 but continued to attract massive audiences for a Friday series, ranking easily as the most watched program of the night. CBS won the night in total viewers (9 million) and 18-49 (1.6/6) for a third straight week. Fox’s House repeat (0.9/4) and new Good Guys (0.8/3) were each up .1 from last week. Both of CW’s sci-fi dramas, Smallville and Supernatural, were up in the network’s target 18-34 demo. Smallville (1.1/5) was up 10%, Supernatural (1.2/5) was up 20%.