Modest start for ‘Friday’

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

NBC’s critically cheered high school football drama “Friday Night Light” opened to nothing-special ratings Tuesday, ranking third in the night’s opening hour, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

From 8 to 9, “Friday Night Lights” (2.7 rating/8 share in adults 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall) trailed both ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and CBS’ “NCIS” in key broad measures while topping its hour among men 18-34. Peacock rallied to nearly steal the night from ABC, though, thanks to solid showings by “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (4.2/11 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall) and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (5.2/14 in 18-49, 14.2 million viewers overall).

The Alphabet was again strong from 8 to 9:30 with “Dancing With the Stars” (5.1/14 in 18-49, 18.3 million viewers overall) before falling off at 9:30 with comedy “Help Me Help You” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall), which was down slightly from its preem. “Boston Legal” closed out the night with a second-place finish (2.9/8 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall).

At CBS, the absence of Fox’s “House” seemed to affect “NCIS” (4.0/11 in 18-49, 15.5 million viewers overall), which hit season highs along with lead-out “The Unit” (4.1/11 in 18-49, 13.2 million viewers overall). Despite these gains, rookie drama “Smith” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall) declined in its third try.

Reliable prelims weren’t available for the live postseason baseball game on Fox between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees, but it did a 6.7 rating/11 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnights — down from a 7.4/11 for last year’s comparable game between the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels.

The CW’s “Gilmore Girls” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) was basically flat compared to its premiere of last week, leading into the season opener of “Veronica Mars” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall). “Veronica” was flat in 18-49 and down a tick in 18-34 vs. its year-ago preem on UPN, but retained a bit more of its lead-in from “Gilmore” than it did last year’s “America’s Next Top Model.”

ADULTS 18-49

1. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 9.5/23
2. Desperate Housewives (ABC) 8.6/20
3. CSI (CBS) 8.0/19
4. Sunday Night Football (NBC) 6.7/17
5. ER (NBC) 6.1/17
5. House (Fox) 6.1/17
7. Monday Night Football (ESPN) 6.0/17
8. Survivor (CBS) 5.9/16
8. Heroes (NBC) 5.9/14
10. CSI: Miami (CBS) 5.8/15
11. Extreme… Home Edition (ABC) 5.7/14
12. Brothers & Sisters (ABC) 5.3/13
13. Dancing With the Stars (ABC) 5.2/14
13. CSI: NY (CBS) 5.2/14
14. 20/20 special-Wed. (ABC) 5.2/14
15. Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 5.0/14
16. Ugly Betty (ABC) 5.0/14
18. Criminal Minds (CBS) 4.9/13
19. Two and a Half Men (CBS 4.8/12
20. Without a Trace (CBS) 4.4/12
21. Studio 60 (NBC) 4.2/11
21. Shark (CBS) 4.2/11
23. Dancing With the Stars results (ABC) 4.1/12
23. Six Degrees (ABC) 4.1/11
25. Amazing Race (CBS) 4.0/09

PERSONS 12-34

1. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 7.7/22
2. Desperate Housewives (ABC) 6.7/18
3. House (Fox) 5.2/17
3. CSI (CBS) 5.2/15
5. Sunday Night Football (NBC) 5.1/15
TOP CABLE NETS :

18-49 Total viewers (rank)
1. ESPN 1.38 3.54 million (1)
2. USA 0.80 2.47 million (2)
3. TNT 0.59 1.81 million (3)
3. FX 0.59 1.31 million (6)
5. TBS 0.50 1.17 million (9)
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