There wasn’t a Friday miracle last night with the premiere of NBC‘s pilot/special Mockingbird Lane, but it didn’t tank either. The hourlong program drew a 1.5/5 in adults 18-49 and 5.4 million viewers at 8 PM. In 18-49, that was only marginally better than the last scripted series premiere in the slot, the now-defunct CBS drama A Gifted Man (1.4 last fall). Mockingbird Lane did manage to finish No.3 for the night in the demo behind NBC’s Grimm and ABC’s Shark Tank, posting NBC’s best 18-49 rating in the hour with non-sports programming in two years. But probably its biggest accomplishment was the boost it gave Grimm (1.9/6), which shot up 27% from last week when it followed a Grimm rerun to log its second highest Friday result ever, only behind its series premiere last fall, to rank as the top program of the night in the demo. It shows that with a suitable lead-in that is not a hodge-podge of repeats, Grimm could be a pretty formidable player on Friday.
As for Mockingbird Lane, there are some extra scripts written, so there conceivably could be more episodes, which would amortize the big price tag on the pilot, said to be approaching $10 million. The ratings performance for the pilot does not automatically warrant that, and NBC brass are said to be lukewarm at best on the show’s creative direction, but the special did not crash and burn, and a big DVR boost could help its chances. With NBC’s ratings gains extending to 10 PM where Dateline (1.5/5) was up 15% from last week to top the hour, the network won the night in 18-49, its first outright demo win on Friday with non-sports programming since Dec. 16 last year.
NBC (1.6/5) edged the dominant Friday demo player this fall, ABC (1.5/5), which was once again paced by Shark Tank (1.8/6). With more original competition in the 8 PM hour from Mockingbird Lane and Fox’s Kitchen Nightmare, Shark Tank was down 10% from last week’s series highs but still won its time slot. ABC’s demo average also was dinged by Katie Couric’s All Access: Nashville special (1.4/4) at 9 PM, which was down 13% from the fast national of What Would You Do? last week. 20/20 (1.4/4) was flat.
On Fox, the season premiere of Kitchen Nightmares (0.9/3) was down sharply, by 44%, from the show’s opener last September when it didn’t face Shark Tank. Fringe (0.9/3) was down a tenth from its last original two weeks ago.
Note to CBS schedulers: NCIS rerun as Friday 8 PM anchor good, Hawaii Five-0 rerun bad. With an NCIS encore (1.0/3) leading off CBS’ lineup last night, CSI: NY (1.4/4, up 17%) and Blue Bloods (1.4/5, up 8%) both rebounded from last week, when they followed a Hawaii repeat, to the levels from two weeks ago when they again followed an NCIS rerun after the cancellation of Made In Jersey.
The CW’s Nikita (0.2/1, 793,000 viewers) was dangerously low even for CW standards, down a tenth from its very soft season premiere last week. Its lead-in, America’s Next Top Model (0.4/1, 1.1 million) was down two tenths.