British chef's 'Food Revolution' earns good ratings Friday

It’s big news these days when any network can make some noise on Friday, but ABC was really cooking last week.

Friday’s premiere of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” produced what’s believed to be the top demo rating for any entertainment series on Friday this season, logging the net’s best score in the time period in more than three years.

In recent months, as CBS’ still-winning drama lineup has cooled some, both Fox (“Kitchen Nightmares”) and NBC (“Who Do You Think You Are?”) have had some decent success with unscripted skeins. But ABC’s own unscripted newcomer has easily topped both of them.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” averaged a 2.6 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 7.5 million viewers overall, placing a strong second to college basketball on CBS. It beat Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares” (prelim 1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.3 million) by 53% in 18-49 and doubled up NBC’s “Dateline” (prelim 1.3/4 in 18-49, 6.5 million).

ABC hasn’t done this well with a regular series in Friday’s 9 o’clock hour since at least the fall of 2006.

Leading into “Food Revolution” at 9 was a special repeat of the preview seg that had aired following “Desperate Housewives” the preceding week. It scored a 1.6/6 in 18-49 and 5.5 million viewers overall, in line with NBC’s new genealogical series “Who Do You Think You Are?” (1.5/5, 6.2 million), which was a bit below its recent averages.

“Food Revolution,” in which British celebrity chef and author Oliver brings his eat-right cooking initiative to the U.S., comes from producer Ryan Seacrest and Oliver’s own Fresh One Prods. The first six episodes of the series focus on Huntington, W. Va., which has statistically been labeled the unhealthiest city in the country.

Beginning this week, “Wife Swap” returns to the ABC Friday sked and kicks off the night, giving the Alphabet a good chance to regularly compete for the Friday lead for the first time this season.

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