The fall season has not quite officially started, but ABC rolled out its Friday lineup in force last night. It was a wild night but let’s start off with the less-than-bad news: Shark Tank (1.7/6) returned for its fifth season and pretty much held its ground. The entrepreneurial reality series saw a 6% dip from its September 14, 2012 Season 4 premiere. It also saw a 5% rise in viewership from last year’s opener to become the show’s most watched season debut yet. Building 42% on its 8:30 PM The Neighbors lead-in, Shark Tank was the highest rated and, with 6.68 million tuning in, most watched show of the night. However, despite significant growth over the past couple of seasons and formidable repeat results, the series’ Season 5 debut was down 11% from the finale of its previous cycle on May 17. It was also down from its Season 4 average of 1.9/6 in adults 18-49. Last night Shark Tank did beat its Season 4 viewership average of 6.54 million watching.
Last Man Standing (1.5/6) was first out of the gate from ABC at 8 PM with its Season 3 debut. Despite an appearance by some of the cast of A&E’s ratings blockbuster Duck Dynasty, the Tim Allen-led comedy fell 25% from its Season 2 debut on November 2, 2012. Compared to its March 22 season finale, which pulled in a 1.6/6 with 7.83 million watching, last night’s Last Man Standing dipped 6% among adults 18-49. Also, while a drop debut-to-debut, last night’s premiere was in line with Last Man’s season average last year. Moving from Tuesdays to Fridays last season, Last Man averaged a 1.5/5 and 6.88 million viewers.