The first full Friday of the 2014 fall season saw a slew of staples return and a certain optimistically inclined but struggling newbie actually get a lift. On it’s third Friday broadcast, Fox’s Utopia (0.7/3) saw a new Pioneer join the crew as well as more relationship ups and downs and another attempt at making some money. The network also hoped to galvanize the tepid ratings for the social experiment reality series by allowing viewers to include a third utopian for potential elimination next week.
New elements and all must have helped because Utopia was up 39% among adults 18-49 from its all time low September 19 show on a much more competitive night. Having said that, time slot rivals Shark Tank (1.8/7) and The Amazing Race (1.1/4) both easily trounced the Fox series with their last season debuts. In fact, last night’s 2-hour ABC entrepreneurial reality series was even with its 1-hour 9 PM Season 5 opener on September 20 last year. Interestingly, when you compare the 9 PM to 10 PM hour of last night’s S6 opener with last year’s show, last night was actually up 11% over the 2013 ST debut with a 2.0/7 in the slot.
Now on a Friday nights as opposed to Sundays, the vet CBS series dropped 26% from its 24th season premiere on February 23 this year and feel to Earth a hard 44% from its Season 23 debut last September 29. In hour-to-hour comparisons, Shark Tank had a 1.6/7 in the 8 PM to 9 PM slot – a 128% gain over Utopia. With that, Utopia was tied for third in the time slot among the Big 4 with an encore of the season debut of NBC’s The Mysteries of Laura. The CW’s Masters of Illusion (0.3/1) was down 25% from last week. Still with ABC and CBS now with real skin in the game now, Fox really has to breathing a sigh of relief that while they are still dangerous low Utopia’s numbers have stopped turning into a ratings apocalypse – at least for now.
Overall ABC won the night among the key demo with a 1.7/7 rating while CBS was tops in viewers with an audience of 8.36 million.
Part of CBS’ viewership victory was in no small part due to Mr. Tom Selleck and the rest of the Reagan clan coming back for a fifth season of Blue Bloods (1.2/4) at 10 PM. As has become typical of the NYC-based police procedural in past seasons on past Fridays, BB was the most watched show of the night with10.64million viewers. Strong in viewers, Blue Bloods took a 29% tumble from its September 27, 2013 S4 debut. Lead-in Hawaii Five-O (1.3/4), also back for its fifth season, stumbled 18% from its last season premiere on the same night as BB last September.
The only new show on NBC last night was Deadline (1.4/5) which bopped up 8% from last week. ABC also had its news mag series on with 20/20 (1.6/6) leaping 60% in a now much more crowded 10 PM slot.