Everything has to start somewhere and for the marriage between CBS and the Hollywood Film Awards (0.5/2) it started last night – with the lowest nightly performance by any broadcast network this season. Live from the Hollywood Palladium on Sunset Blvd, the star-studded Queen Latifah hosted love-in handed out honors to Michael Keaton, Kiera Knightley, Shailene Woodley and DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon 2 among others (see the full list here).

Whether or not the first TV broadcast of the 18-year old HFA has any real impact on the Oscar race or if the dick clark productions run event actually becomes a permanent on-air part of awards season is undetermined. What we do know is that, even with 18th Annual Hollywood Film Awards - Backstage And Audienceexpectations low, the 2-hour self-declared “official start of awards season” show certainly had an effect on CBS’ Friday performance – to the tune of a 58% drop among the key demo and viewership.

Last week, the network was tied for second place with a 1.2/4 overall rating among adults 18-49 in fast nationals and a winning total viewership of 8.81 million. Last night, with the HFA dominating their primetime, CBS had a 0.5/2 rating and 3.7 million tuning in. In fact, with ABC winning the night among the demo (1.4/5)  again and with viewers (6.49 million), CBS was tied for fifth place for the night with The CW after NBC, Univision and an all encores Fox.

At least CBS can take heart that a lot of people were out seeing movies last night rather than watching a show about them and the HFA was the top trending topic on Twitter last night – even if a lot of the chatter was because of Johnny Depp’s rambling, to put it nicely, speech. Because even compared to recent revived or new awards shows like NBC’s American Comedy Awards and the 3-hour iHeartRadio Music Awards, which got a 1.0/3 on the Thursday of May 8 and a 1.7/5 on May 1 respectively, the HFA was weak ratingswse and viewershipwise. The ACAs had a total viewership of 3.15 million watching its 9 – 11 PM airing while the iHeartRadio show had 5.45 million. Going a bit more apples to apples, the most recent Friday primetime awards show was the NAACP Image Awards on February 1, 2013. That 8 PM NBC broadcast got a 0.8/3 rating among the demo and had 3.04 million total viewers.

The HFA was followed at 10 PM by The CBS Hollywood After Party (0.4/7) hosted by the CBS This Morning team. Needless to say, watched by 2.7 million, this celeb interview heavy show was no Blue Bloods. Unlike the Tom Selleck-lead cop show’s usual viewership dominance of the slot and Friday’s primetime overall, the efforts of Charlie Rose and the AM crew were not unexpectedly down a crashing 76% in viewers and 71% in the demo.

136967_0950There was another celebration of a sorts happening over on ABC last night with the 100th episode of Shark Tank (1.7/6). The 9 PM show had special look back from the Sharks themselves at some highlights from the entrepreneurial reality series’ 6 seasons so far. Still the series, which does commonly see a rise in final nationals, fell 15% from last week. Head-to-head with the beginning of the HFA, comedies Last Man Standing (1.5/6) and freshman Cristela (1.1/4) started ABC’s Friday night with 15% and 10% rises among the key demo to hit, at least according to preliminary numbers, season highs. A new 20/20 (1.2/4) wrapped up the night for the network. Down 29% from its November 7 show, the news mag tripled the After Party show over on CBS.

Over on NBC, Dateline (1.5/6) bopped up 7% while Grimm (1.2/4) slipped 8% from last week. Hit harder was freshman Constantine (0.8/3). In its fourth week, the struggling demon hunting series from WBTV dived 20%, that comes after a double-digit demo rise last week. Having said that, for the first time this season, Constantine was not last in its time slot –that honor went to the CBS Hollywood After Party. Another bright spot for Constantine and for Grimm too is that both shows had their best viewership results (3.4 million and 5 million) since they debuted on October 24. 

As I said, Fox was all repeats with MasterChef Junior (0.6/2) at 8 PM and Gotham (0.6/2) at 9 PM. On The CW, Whose Line Is It Anyway (0.4/2) tumbled 17% from its last original while America’s Next Top Model (0.4/1) was even with last week.