It was mostly carnage on the first Friday of the season, with NBC’s freshman Outlaw barely surviving the transition to Fridays and CBS’ veteran CSI: NY and Fox’s summer entry The Good Guys also hard-hit in their move to TV’s equivalent of a grave yard. But if there is one man impervious to time slots, it’s Tom Selleck as loyalists tuned in for the premiere of his new CBS cop drama Blue Bloods, the highest-rated program on TV last night with an audience number rarely seen on Friday night: 13 million. Also logging a strong debut was the reunited CW duo of Smallville and Supernatural. Here is a quick network-by-network round-up:
Where is Ghost Whisperer when you need it? The cancelled drama starring Jennifer Love Hewitt was one of very few series that could open Friday night with a decent number. Still, CBS showed some nice rating build-up hour-to-hour and easily won the night in 18-49 and total viewers. It was successful in bringing in the (mostly older) available audience on Friday night, with two series crossing the 10 million viewer mark, CSI: NY and Blue Bloods. New 8 PM anchor Medium (1.4/5, 6.1 million) was the night’s weakest link, down 39% from the season premiere of Ghost Whisperer last fall and down 33% from its own season premiere in the 9 PM last year. (Even at those mediocre rating levels, the show is bound to make money for CBS via its lucrative off-network deal at Lifetime.) At 9 PM, CSI: NY (2.0/7, 10.3 million) was down 5% from what Medium did in its premiere with a stronger lead-in last year and down 51% from its Wednesday season debut last fall. At 10 PM, Blue Bloods topped the night with a 2.2/7 and 12.8 million viewers, up 22% from the season premiere of Numbers in the time slot last year. In the demo, it matched the rating for Ghost Whisperer‘s season premiere last fall at 8 PM but its audience was 50% larger.
The two-hour season premiere of newsmagazine Dateline (1.6/6, 7.2 million) was up by a .1 in the demo from last year’s debut at 9 PM with a 15-week high. But at 10 PM, the second original episode of legal drama Outlaw only managed a 1.1/4 and 5 million viewers, down 52% in the demo from its preview behind America’s Got Talent on Wednesday last week. It finished last in the hour behind Blue Bloods and 20/20.
Following a Human Target repeat (0.6/2. 3.1 million), the in-season premiere of The Good Guys (0.9/3, 2.9 million) was down 36% in 18-49 from its summer debut with an original lead-in but built onto the Human Target demo number.
As it does every fall, ABC aired various repeats of new series from 8-10 PM for extra sampling. A Modern Family rerun (1.2/5, 4.2 million) opened for rookie Better With You (0.9/3, 3.1 million) and new legal drama The Whole Truth (0.7/2, 2.9 million), which badly needs a boost in Week 2 after a horrible opening this week. At 10 PM, 20/20 (1.5/5, 5.4 million) was down 21% in the demo from last season’s premiere, which had two-times bigger lead-in, reruns of then-freshmen Modern Family and Cougar Town.
Together at last. The debuts of former Thursday night-mates Smallville and Supernatural delivered CW’s best numbers on Friday in 2 years. The premiere of Smallville‘s final season (1.3/5 in 18-49, 2.9 million) finished 3rd in the hour in 18-49, beating ABC and Fox, while winning outright in adults 18-34. Supernatural (1.2/4, 2.8 million) also was No.3 at 9 PM among adults 18-49, leading to the net’s third-place finish for the night in the demo.