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“Women’s Murder Club” settles in nicely on Friday

Womensmurderweek2“Women’s Murder Club” lured most of its members back in the ABC drama’s second outing Friday, while Fox’s “The Next Great American Band” played to less than a capacity crowd in its two-hour debut.

ABC’s femme gumshoe ensembler (pictured left) averaged 9.7 million viewers and 2.0 rating/6 share in the adults 18-49 demo, per prelim Nielsens. That was down about 1 million viewers and one-half of a demo point from “Murder’s” strong (by Friday night standards) preem last week. Perhaps the most important sign of life for “Murder” was that it once again jumped noticeably from its 8 p.m. “20/20” (6.8 million, 1.7/6) lead-in.

“Murder” tied with CBS’ 10 p.m. anchor “Numbers” (9.7 million, 2.7/9) for bragging rights as the night’s most watched program, though CBS’ egghead hour won by a wide margin in the demo. And CBS’ frosh 9 p.m. drama “Moonlight” (7.8 million, 2.1/7) topped “Murder” by a razor-thin margin in adults 18-49 for the hour.

Fox’s “The Next Great American Band” didn’t throw off too many sparks, finishing out its 8-10 p.m. opener with an average of 3.6 million viewers and 1.5/5 in adults 18-49.

Inexplicably, the single-best drama on TV (IMHO, until “Lost” comes back and then it’s probably a tie), Fnlbadideas2 NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” (5.5 million, 1.9/6), continues to pull only modest numbers. But thankfully, on a night when the ratings bar is set pretty low, show’s demos are respectable enough, and reviews glowing enough, to keep hope alive.

So far this season, Brad Leland (pictured right), who plays “FNL’s” garrulous car dealership owner and self-appointed No. 1 high school football booster Buddy Garrity, is shining particularly bright amid the stellar constellation of thesps on this show as his character is enduring all kinds of emotional torment and mid-life crises. Can’t wait for next week’s installment.

–Cynthia Littleton