HOLLYWOOD — There appears to be no extinguishing the “Survivor” torch, as the fifth edition of the CBS reality adventure series opened very well on Thursday.
Fox’s new Friday drama “John Doe” is also off to a strong start, while the same net’s “Firefly” posted only so-so numbers in its bow.
According to Nielsen, “Survivor: Thailand” averaged 23.05 million viewers and a 9.6/28 in adults 18-49, a 5% improvement in the demo vs. the “Survivor 4” preem last winter.
Not having to face an original episode of NBC’s “Friends” seemed to help bring even more of the youngest adults to “Survivor,” with its 7.6/20 in adults 18-34 a 22% improvement over “Survivor 4.” “Friends,” which Thursday aired a repeat of its one-hour season finale, launches its ninth season this week.
The big “Survivor” bow helped boost lead-out “Big Brother” to its best ratings of the summer (14.57m, 6.4/17).
Elsewhere on Thursday, ABC’s “Push, Nevada,” in its regular Thursday at 9 slot for the first time, averaged a mere 2.4/6 in adults 18-49 (down from a 4.2/11 for its Tuesday preview), but it did deliver decent male demos. In fact, its 2.6/7 in men 18-49 and 3.5/8 in men 25-54 top every episode of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” to air in the hour last season.
Preem of the WB’s new Paramount series “Do Over” averaged a 1.2/3 in adults 18-49 and a 1.3/4 in adults 18-34 at 8:30, both improvements from its “Family Affair” lead-in. “Family” held up reasonably well in its second outing, tying for fourth in its slot in adults 18-34 (1.1/4) and averaging 3.38 million viewers overall.
Strong ‘Doe’ bow
Fox received good news from the premiere ratings for who-am-I drama “John Doe” on Friday, as the Regency skein defeated its mostly-repeat competish across the board in the 9 o’clock hour and built on the half-hour. In prelim nationals, “Doe” (9.6 million, 4.3/14 in A18-49) won its hour by 6 shares in adults 18-49 and by 9 shares or more in all key male demos.
It’s the strongest bow in adults 18-49 for any Friday series in the two years since “CSI” launched on CBS, and the best in adults 18-34 (prelim 3.9/15) since “Brother’s Keeper” on ABC in 1998.
At 8 p.m., Twentieth Television’s sci-fi Western “Firefly” led its mostly repeat competish in adults 18-49 (3.0/11) and other demos while finishing third in total viewers (6.3 million). It declined on the half-hour by most measures — not an especially encouraging sign since viewers were clearly interested in “John Doe” at 9.
Best Frog Friday
The WB’s Friday lineup, which includes the new “What I Like About You” at 8 and “Greetings From Tucson” at 9:30, averaged a 4.0 rating in metered-market overnights, the best ever for the net on the night. Nationals will be issued today.
On Saturday, the “Miss America” pageant (prelim 11.9 million, 3.7/11 in A18-49) gave ABC an easy victory, drawing its best numbers on the night since January. Show, hosted by Wayne Brady, was about on par with last year but did grab its best men 18-49 rating (prelim 2.8/10) in three years.
And revised nationals for UPN’s Wednesday lineup show that the premiere of New Line series “Twilight Zone” at 9 (4.59m, 2.0/5 in A18-49) did a good job holding onto its “Enterprise” lead-in (4.87m, 2.3/7), retaining nearly 90% in adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.