A correction was made to this article at 3:54 p.m.
CBS vet “CSI” remains Thursday’s heavyweight champ, but ABC and NBC had reasons to be pleased with the premieres of their shows on the night.
With every net wanting a piece of the Thursday advertising pie, ABC planted the second season of its unscripted hit “Dancing With the Stars,” which opened with good results. And NBC, starting the year with a four-comedy block now that it has the goods with rookie hit “My Name Is Earl,” more than held its own.
Both nets have to temper their optimism, though, as shows such as “Survivor,” “Smallville,” “The OC” and “That ’70s Show” will have a say in the night’s race in the weeks ahead.
Still, it was a great start for the second edition of “Dancing With the Stars,” which follows the winning ratings pattern of CBS’ “Survivor” and Fox’s “American Idol”: strong summer premiere, a huge finale and then a big second-season preem in January.
Although “Dancing’s” two-hour numbers don’t compare with those of the other reality giants, its 4.8 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 (and 17.46 million viewers overall) repped a significant 118% gain from what the net has averaged from 8 to 10 this season (2.2/6 in 18-49) — and up 9% from its series preem.
“Dancing” beat a repeat of “CSI” to win from 8 to 9 and was in a virtual tie with NBC’s comedies for second in 18-49 at 9. Its aud, as expected, was nearly 70% female, as the show posted an 18 share in women 25-54.
Show will air 90-minute episodes beginning this week, followed at 9:30 by new comedy “Crumbs.”
At NBC, “My Name Is Earl” moved to its new night with a second-place 18-49 finish (5.2/13, 11.19 million viewers overall), not too far off its Tuesday average. “Earl” numbers marked the net’s best showing in the time period this season.
Perhaps more important was the perf at 9:30 by “The Office” (4.5/11 in 18-49, 8.73m), which like “Earl” moved over from Tuesday. Soph workplace laffer delivered its best-ever regular-slot scores, retaining a good 87% of its 18-49 “Earl” lead-in.
Opening hour also saw a nice start for NBC’s “Four Kings” at 8:30 (4.2/11 in18-49, 8.86m), which built on its lead-in from “Will & Grace” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 7.95m in its new slot). Show was already being called a “new hit” in Peacock promos on Friday night.
NBC also has to be pleased that “Kings” brought some young men to the night, serving as a good bridge between the femme-skewing “Will & Grace” and the ideally balanced “Earl.”
CBS still ruled the 9 o’clock hour with an original episode of “CSI” (9.2/22 in 18-49, 27.23m), although with its lowest score for a firstrun regular seg this season. Eye won the night easily in key demos.
As they did on Thursday, both ABC and NBC improved their Friday fortunes as well with revamped skeds.
The “Dancing With the Stars” results show (prelim 3.0/9 in 18-49, 12.9 million) started Friday off well for ABC, drawing the net’s best non-sports result at 8 since November 2003. “Dancing” tied with CBS drama “Ghost Whisperer” for the 18-49 lead in the half-hour, although “Ghost” won out for the hour in most key categories (prelim 3.2/10 in 18-49, 11.4 million).
Following a boosted “Hope & Faith” in its new 8:30 slot (prelim 2.5/7 in 18-49, 8.3 million), drama “In Justice” looked pretty good in its preem (prelim 2.8/8 in 18-49, 9.2 million). Show, which had a sneak preview last Sunday, finished a tick behind 18-49 leader “Close to Home” on CBS (prelim 2.9/8, 11.5 million), with the Eye skein opening up some distance in 25-54.
“Justice” gave ABC its best regular-program 18-49 score in the 9 o’clock hour since last February.
NBC’s “Most Outrageous Moments,” now a series after performing well as specs, was solid from 8 to 9 (prelim 2.7/8 in 18-49, 7.7 million), garnering the net’s best regular-slot scores there since early last year.
And the net did OK with the two-hour premiere of controversial drama “The Book of Daniel” (prelim 2.7/8 in 18-49, 9 million), a show that some NBC affils opted not to air. “Daniel” gave NBC its best perf with series programming in the slot since May, though it placed third; skein airs in its regular 10 o’clock slot beginning this week.
ABC’s “20/20” (prelim 3.0/9 in 18-49, 9.2 million), like “Primetime” the night before (2.9/7, 8.64m), took advantage of a stronger lead-in to hit season highs in the 10 o’clock hour.
CBS remained in control of the night, winning all three hours in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers. At 10, “Numbers” was the night’s top show (prelim 3.6/10 in 18-49, 13.6 million).