Friday night poses a lot of questions, and that’s not only the network propensity to schedule shows with questions as titles on the night, like Who Do You Think You Are? or What Would You Do?. Questions like: Is the night doomed for regular-budget fare, especially scripted originals? Can anything besides older-skewing shows like Blue Bloods or newsmagazines thrive on Friday? Last night provided some more food for thought.
With a lineup of reality/newsmagaines, ABC tied CBS’ scripted dramas, the second time this season that ABC has done it with CBS’ Friday lineup in originals. Additionally, all younger-skewing shows tied their season/series lows last night: Fox’s Fringe (1.1/3), which was down a tenth from last week; NBC’s Grimm (1.4/4), which tumbled 22% from its last original 2 weeks ago as the show transitions from a Chuck to a Who Do You Think You Are? lead-in; the CW’s Nikita (0.5/2), even with its last new episode 3 weeks ago; and Supernatural (0.7/2), also flat with its season low 2 weeks ago. They were joined by CBS’ freshman A Gifted Man (1.2/4), which matched its series low in its return to originals after 2 weeks off. The network’s other 2 Friday dramas, CSI: NY (1.6/5, 10.2 million) and Blue Bloods (1.7/5, 11.3 million) were both down a tenth in 18-49 from their last originals 2 weeks ago. CBS, the only Big 4 to maintain an all-scripted Friday lineup, is taking a first step toward changing that this midseason, with the introduction of Undercover Boss to the night in 2 weeks.
At 8 PM, the third season premiere of NBC’s docu-reality series Who Do You Think You Are? (1.1/4, 6 million) was down 15% from the show’s second-season premiere the same night last year. Still, given that Who Do You Think You Are? replaced the low-rated Chuck, it posted NBC’s largest audience and tied the second highest 18-49 rating in the hour this season. Fox’s newly renewed Kitchen Nightmares (1.6/5, 3.8 million) was up 14% from last week to take back the demo lead in the hour from ABC’s Shark Tank (1.5/5, 5.2 million) which was flat with last week. Among the newsmagazines, ABC’s Primetime: What Would You Do? (1.4/4) was down 18%, 20/20 (1.7/5) was up 13%. NBC’s Dateline (1.1/3) was down a tenth.