Friday Ratings: Nobody Gets Out of Here Alive

Networks continue to struggle on the night. CBS scores weak win, ABC does well with repeats and Jay hits new low.

Last Updated: September 26, 2009 @ 10:22 AM

Friday night continues to be something of a dead zone for broadcast networks, with CBS finishing first despite a ho-hum premiere for NBC import "Medium."

Elsewhere on the night, Fox will once again hope for the best from DVR data as "Dollhouse" (and new comedy "Brothers") barely registered with live viewers. And NBC saw a weak premiere for the 20th season of "Law & Order" and series low numbers for "The Jay Leno Show."

Let’s get this (Nielsen fast national) party started:

–CBS’s new dream team of "Ghost Whisperer" (2.2/8 in adults 18-49, 8.58 million) and "Medium" (2.0/7, 8.77 million) won their respective 8 and 9 p.m. slots by all measures. But both shows don’t have as many psychic friends as they once did: "GW" is showing its age, down 12 percent from last fall, while "Medium" saw 33 percent of its demo audience disappear vs. its Feb. 2 premiere earlier this year on NBC.

On the plus side, "Medium" brought in 29 percent more viewers than last year’s short-lived "The Ex-List." But the NBC refugee clearly is skewing old: It was flat in adults 18-49 vs. "Ex" (but up 12 percent in 25-54s).

At 10 p.m., "Numbers" (1.7/6, 7.87 million) lost 3 percent of its viewer tally from last season (nice!) but tumbled 19 percent in adults 18-49 (yikes!). CBS’s drama development team may be eyeing this timeslot lustily this weekend as the potential home for a new show next fall.

–ABC ran mostly repeats Friday– and still ended up in second place in adults 18-49! And had its best Friday numbers in six months!

At 8 p.m., an encore of "Flash Forward" (1.4/5, 4.54 million) generated strong extra sampling for ABC, as did repeats of "Modern Family" (1.5/5, 4.3 million) and "Cougar Town" (1.5/5, 4.17).

ABC scored at 10 p.m. with "20/20" (2.3/7, 7.1 million), which easily won its time slot and was the top show of the night in the demo.

–Fox remains out of the game on Fridays. An hour of new comedy "Brothers" (1.0/4, 2.81 million) did no business, with the comedy dipping slightly at the half-hour. And at 9, "Dollhouse" (1.0/3, 2.56) also tanked, losing viewers at the half-hour.

The Joss Whedon drama was down 50 percent from its series premiere last season.

–NBC didn’t do much better than Fox. At 8, "Law & Order" (1.3/5, 6.28 million) started its 20th season with a whimper, finishing third for the hour. "Dateline" (1.5/5, 5.82 million) didn’t do much business at 9.

The Jay Leno/Future of Television Watch (TM) Sponsored by Flomax: 1.5/5, 5.68 million. Third place in viewers and the demo. Worst showing yet.