Just like it happened the same time last year, once ABC dropped repeats on Friday to go for a lineup of reality series and newsmagzines, it became an instant formidable rival to CBS for the top spot on the night among adults 18-49. Last year, it started with a tie before ABC posted a couple of outright victories in the demo. And last night, in its first outing with an all-original Friday lineup, ABC (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million) tied CBS in 18-49. ABC also boasted the highest-rated program of the night among adults 18-49: newsmagazine 20/20 (2.1/6, 7.6 million total viewers), which was up a whopping 75% in the demo from last week with headline-grabbing interviews featuring the daughter-in-law of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff and Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey and their twins. 20/20 also was helped by a stronger lead-in from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The veteran reality series started its Friday debut slow, posting a 1.1/4 in 18-49 at 8 PM. But its second episode at 9 PM (1.7/5) picked up significantly, off only by two tenths from the series’ most recent airing on Sunday last week.
CBS’ dramas were mostly status quo. Rookie A Gifted Man (1.2/5, 8.6 million) was down a tenth from its fast national last week, flat with the final. CSI: NY (1.8/6, 10.7 million) was up a tenth, while Blue Bloods (1.7/5, 10.9 million) was even with its fast national, down a tenth from the final. CBS (1.6/5, 10.04 million) once again attracted massive crowds on Friday, drawing almost as many eyeballs as its Big 4 competitors combined. Fox and NBC featured a mix of reruns and originals. Of the two first-run programs, Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares (1.4/5) was even with last week, while NBC’s Dateline (1.0/3) was down 33%. On the CW, Nikita and Supernatural matched their fast national ratings from last week.