Since it debuted on Netflix last month, Making A Murderer has become a cultural talking point about the criminal justice system and specifically about the guilt or innocence of Steven Avery. Last night, Dateline (1.4/5) took on the issue in “The State of Wisconsin vs. Steven A. Avery,” and whatever you may think really happened in the case, the ratings jury came back with a strong verdict for the news magazine show.
Easily beating its 10 PM time slot rivals 20/20 (1.0/4) and a Blue Bloods (1.0/4) encore, Dateline rose 8% among adults 18-49 to hit a season high. In fact, Friday’s show was the best Dateline has done among the 18-49s on a Friday since November 21, 2014 and matches its best in the 25-54 news demo (1.8) since March 6 last year. Also, if recent weeks are any indication, Dateline could see a possible adjustment in final numbers.
As Dateline hit a high, Fox’s MasterChef Junior (1.3/4) declared a pint-sized winner in its Season 4 finale but took a loss in the demo. Compared to its season high storm-fueled January 22 show, the Gordon Ramsay led cooking competition series was down 13%. Finale-to-finale, MC Junior took a 19% tumble from its Season 3 ender of February 24 last year, a very competitive Tuesday. The rest of Fox’s night saw the Friday debut of newbie Second Chance (0.7/3) as it shuffled over from its original Wednesday spot. The drama was unsurprisingly down, in this case 30% from its last Wednesday airing of January 20. Compared to the Hell’s Kitchen that played at 9 PM last Friday, Second Chance took a 46% dive in the demo – and Yes, I will avoid the obviously wordplay on its title.
Overall ABC won the night among adults 18-49 with a 1.3/5 rating while CBS, as usual, was tops in viewers. Bringing in 7.19 million last night with a Hawaii Five-O (1.0/4) and Blue Bloods repeats, the net’s only original of the night was Undercover Boss (1.3/5), which declined 13% from its East Coast winter snow storm enhanced ratings of last week.
ABC’s win partially came out of Shark Tank (1.7/6) rising 21% from its last original of two weeks ago and hitting a season high as well as being the highest rated show of the night. At 10 PM, 20/20 had a good night with a 25% demo rise of its January 22 show. Mixed messages for comedies Last Man Standing (1.2/5) and Dr. Ken (1.1/4), which dipped 8% and went up 10% from their last originals of two weeks ago, respectively.
The CW saw the Friday winter return debuts of The Vampire Diaries (0.5/2) and The Originals (0.4/1). Both shows were even in the demo from their last originals of late last year on a Thursday, as was the CW (0.4/2) with last week overall.
Dateline may have delivered nicely for NBC but the 1-hour season finale of Undateable (0.8/3) and Grimm (0.8/3) certainly stumbled. Back for the second part of its fifth season, the latter was down 11% from its last show of December 11 to match a series low. The supernatural drama also fell 33% from its Season 4 winter return of January 16, 2015. As for Undateable, the Season 3 ender of the comedy was even with its last original of January 15 but down 38% from its 1-hour Season 2 finale of May 12, 2015, a Tuesday.