Ratings: Friday Fail for Leno and a Scary Start for ‘Betty’

With baseball dominating, the news is bad for networks not named CBS or Fox.

Last Updated: October 18, 2009 @ 5:53 PM

Jay Leno had his worst primetime performance yet Friday, while ABC’s "Ugly Betty" wasn’t looking all that pretty on its new night.

Leno averaged a 1.2 rating/4 share in adults 18-49 Friday, according to preliminary fast national data from Nielsen. That’s his lowest score in the demo yet.

Not helping Leno’s case was a weak lead-in from a Dan Brown-themed special, "Secrets of the Lost Symbol" (1.3/4). Leno’s numbers could also be impacted by baseball playoff coverage on Fox, which appeals to the older, white men who are a big part of his audience.

(Of course, "Law & Order" managed to tick up a tad at 8 p.m., and a lot of older gentlemen like that show, too. Nielsen logic!)

As for "Betty," the show’s two-hour premiere on its new night settled for a 1.4/5. That’s less than half the young adult audience the series attracted with it 2008 season premiere, which aired on a Thursday and earned a 3.3/9.

On the plus side, sort of, "Betty" averaged the same demo tune in as last year’s premiere of ABC reality combo "Wife Swap" and "Supernanny". (Those shows, of course, cost about half as much to produce).

ABC also noted that "Betty" finished second in women 18-49, behind CBS’s slot-dominant "Ghost Whisperer"/"Medium" combo. The Eye network, by the way, handily won the night among networks not carrying baseball coverage.