WWE SmackDown (1.4 adults 18-49 Live+Same Day rating, 3.9 million viewers from 8-10 PM) made its debut on Fox last night, kicking off a five-year, $1 billion the network made for the wrestling program. The Fox premiere, a SmackDown 20th anniversary celebration featuring some of WWE’s biggest past and present stars, led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (watch a video below), won the night for the network in 18-49 and finished second in total viewers.
SmackDown‘s Fox debut was up from the show’s 2019 to-date average on USA (2.1 million viewers) though a Big 4 broadcast network represents a significantly larger platform. (For instance, the flagship WWE franchise, WWE Raw, drew 2.6 million viewers on USA earlier this week.) This was the most watched WWE telecast since January 2018, Raw 25. Across Fox, Fox Deportes and streaming platforms, last night’s WWE SmackDown accumulated 4 million viewers.
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Fox was up a tick in the demo and down in total viewers from its fall 2019 Friday rollout (1.3 in 18-49, 5.3 million) which the network also finished No.1 in the demo and No.2 in total viewers on the strength of the Fox premiere of another relocated series, comedy Last Man Standing.
NBC improved a bit its performance in the Friday 8 PM hour with the relocation of The Blacklist. The drama’s Season 7 debut (0.5 rating in 18-49, 4.0 million) was even in 18-49 and up by a million viewers from the season opener of Blindspot in the time slot last fall. Vs. its Friday opener in the 9 PM time period last fall, The Blacklist was on par in viewers and down a tenth in the demo.
CBS’ Friday dramas, which share target audience with SmackDown, held up well against the new competition, holding steady in the demo from their season openers and losing some eyeballs — Hawaii Five-0 (0.7, 6.4 million), Magnum PI (0.6, 6.0 million) and Blue Bloods (0.6, 7.4 million). CBS was No.1 for the night in total viewers paced by Blue Bloods, the most watched program on Friday.
The effect was the opposite on ABC’s comedies, which held steady in viewers from Premiere Friday while slipping in the demo. American Housewife (0.5, 3.3 million) was down two tenths in 18-49, Fresh Off the Boat (0.4, 2.4 million) was off by one tenth.
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