Friday night light in audiences

Americans appear to be using Friday as DVR playback night, as season premieres on the broadcast nets posted tiny numbers.

CBS’ “Ghost Whisperer” was the exception, dominating the night’s opening hour and holding all of its aud from its year-ago preem. The Eye won the night, but with less than scintillating results from 9 o’clock newbie “The Ex List” and 10 o’clock vet “Numbers.”

After a presidential debate the previous Friday scuttled net plans to roll out their lineups, the five top English-language broadcast networks combined for a meager 7.2 rating/22 share among adults 18-49 — down sharply from the 8.7/30 they posted during the opening Friday of last season.

The meager overall broadcast numbers came despite the fact that Nielsen said TV usage was up slightly vs. the same week a year ago.

“Ghost Whisperer” (prelim 2.4 rating/9 share in adults 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) was easily the night’s top show, winning its hour by 4 shares.

New romantic drama “The Ex List” followed for CBS with winning but unspectacular scores (prelim 2.0/6, 6.9 million), as did “Numbers” (prelim 2.1/7, 8.1 million). “Ex List” was down about 20% from “Moonlight’s” premiere in the hour a year ago.

Second-place ABC did very little with its transplanted Wednesday nonscripted combo of “Wife Swap” (prelim 1.3/5 in 18-49, 3.8 million) and “Supernanny” (prelim 1.5/5, 4.2 million), getting its best numbers on the night from “20/20″ at 10 (prelim 1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.8 million).

NBC, whose new Friday drama “Crusoe” kicks off Oct. 17, struggled at 8 o’clock with “America’s Toughest Jobs” (prelim 1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.4 million) before becoming a bit more competitive from 9 to 11 with “Deal or No Deal” (prelim 1.5/5 in 18-49, 5.4 million) and soph drama “Life” (prelim 1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.4 million).

“Life,” one of the freshmen dramas from last year that was kept off the sked following the writers strike, finished third in its timeslot but at least built in some categories on its lead-in.

Fox was sluggish as well with “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” (prelim 1.3/5 in 18-49, 5.8 million) and “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” (prelim 1.4/4, 4.4 million), but was the lone net to best its opening Friday of last season.

And CW drew small numbers for the preem of laffers “Everybody Hates Chris” (prelim 0.8/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million) and “The Game” (prelim 0.8/3 in 18-49, 1.9 million), as former staple “Friday Night Smackdown” has moved to MyNetwork.

It could be that auds need time to find some of these vet shows on Friday, but it’s also likely that the options aren’t as good as the midweek shows filling up on their DVRs.

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