Friday Ratings: WWE Tops NBA In The Evening’s Demo Wars, Tying ‘Dateline’ For The Win


TV fans preferred whooping to hooping early on Friday night. But that old crime story standby, the “Damsel in Distress,” also brought in the eyeballs later in the evening.

Fox’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown topped the NBA Playoffs in the demo wars, coming in with an 0.4 to edge out  basketball’s 0.3 for ABC.

The wrestling win was surprising, in that the 2022 NBA playoff viewership continues to run well ahead of the past three years.

Coverage of the NBA Playoffs on ESPN, ABC and TNT through Thursday is up 23% from last year and up 29% from 2019, the previous postseason to begin in the month of April (2.80M). Viewership is also up 102% from the months-delayed postseason two years ago.

CBS saw the premiere of reality show Come Dance With Me, which teams young dancers with less athletic family members, score an 0.3 to kick off its night. The show is hosted by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Philip Lawrence. A rerun of Blue Bloods capped the Eye Network night.

The Blacklist continued chugging along on NBC, bringing in an 0.3, a gain on its previous airing. Raymond Reddington, aka James Spader, continued his search for clues to his beloved Elizabeth’s death. The show provided a strong lead-in for newsmag Dateline, which tied for the night’s demo honors with an 0.4.

Dateline covered the Sherry Papini false kidnapping hoax in Northern California, the attractive blonde mother of two concocting a story about being taken and held captive by two women. It eventually came out that she was hanging out with an old boyfriend as the authorities and the media covered the blow-by-blow of where she could be.

The CW offered a special, 2040, a documentary that explores a positive vision of the future, including climate change being solved. Director Damon Garneau’s series drew an 0.0, which perhaps doesn’t auger well for the coming decades.

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