MyNetwork finds winner with 'Smackdown'

The CW continues to have a difficult time finding an audience on Sunday night, regardless of who’s doing the programming. Meanwhile, MyNetwork has pinned down its largest audience to date with the preem of “Friday Night Smackdown.”

At CW, the net’s lineup of new series — all produced by Media Rights Capital — opened to meager numbers about in line with the weblet’s results on the same night a year ago.

Nielsen prelims show that reality entry “In Harm’s Way” and hourlong dramas “Valentine” and “Easy Money” all settled for a 1 share in both adults 18-49 and 18-34.

“In Harm’s Way” averaged a 0.3 rating in 18-49 and about 700,000 viewers overall. It was followed by similarly soft scores at 8 o’clock for “Valentine” (prelim 0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million) and at 9 for “Easy Money” (0.4/1, 1.1 million), the latter of which drew pretty good reviews.

The Sunday bar was set very low by last year’s weak showing for CW, which included the firstrun drama “Life Is Wild” and duds like “CW Now” and “Online Nation.” But CW had hoped to do better with its initial batch of programming from MRC, the fledgling independent studio that is, in effect, renting Sunday night real estate from the network.

In one positive sign, all three new hourlong shows grew their audience in the second half-hour.

“We are pleased that the shows met our expectations,” MRC Studios co-CEO Modi Wiczyk said in a statement. “We are confident that new viewers will continue to come to the CW and find the shows over the next several weeks.”

Shows are locked in to at least a 13-week run on CW.

Meanwhile, MyNetwork’s premiere of “Friday Night Smackdown” averaged a 1.0/3 in 18-49 and 3.16 million viewers overall — strong numbers by the net’s standards on the night but off more than 25% vs. what the wrestling franchise had delivered the previous week in its final outing on CW.

Aud was the largest to date for a MyNetwork telecast, as well as its strongest in various male demos. It topped its broadcast competish in both men 18-34 and 18-49.

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