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Ratings high Five for ‘Joey’

LeBlanc laffer a hit with Brits

LONDON — “Friends” spinoff “Joey” has given U.K. upstart terrestrial web Five one of its highest audiences ever.

There was incredulity when Five paid a reported $820,000 an episode for the Matt LeBlanc sitcom, but judged on its first outing — screened as a double episode Sunday — the investment was sound.

Despite largely negative reviews, “Joey” achieved a 16% share — 4.1 million viewers — making it the most popular program aired on Five since it bowed in 1997, excluding films and soccer matches.

In the key 16-34 demo, “Joey” won a 34% share, beating all other networks in the timeslot and adding to the pain for rival Channel 4, which aired the entire run of “Friends” and is believed to have bid for “Joey.”

The show’s strong perf was enough to boost Five’s overall audience to 8.8%, up from a Sunday average of 6.5%.

Five’s success is based almost entirely on U.S. acquisitions such as the “CSI” franchise and movies.

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