The fifth season debut of Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush was Friday night’s most watched cable program, clocking nearly 3.6 million viewers — a nice jump compared to last season’s opening 2.9 million. Fueling the ratings spike for the two-hour kickoff: guys. The Gold Rush kickoff was the night’s second highest rated program on all of TV Friday night — getting edged out only by ABC’s Shark Tank. Shark Tank, for instance, logged 1.27 million guys 25-54, to Gold Rush’s 1.20 million. But, because Gold Rush was a two-hour debut, and Shark Tank only aired for one hour, Discovery finished the primetime night in first place among guys 25-54 — and guys 18-49, and 18-34.
Gold Rush’s opener also topped cable for the night in adults 18-49 — with 1.5 million strong. The network’s No. 1-rated series, about gold mining in the Yukon Territory, trounced cable runner-up WWE Smackdown on Syfy, which logged just under 2.7 million viewers and 892,000 demo viewers.