The Overnights: CBS, Fox Command Key Demo

It was a Friday of split leadership. CBS finished first in total viewers (with a very respectable 10.38 million viewers), followed by NBC (5.88), ABC (4.75), Fox (3.88) and The CW (2.36), according to the fast affiliate results from Nielsen Media Research data. CBS and Fox tied for first among adults 18-49, each with a 1.5 rating/5 share among adults 18-49. Next was ABC and NBC (each with a 1.3/4), followed by The CW at a 1.0/3.
At 8 p.m., the Eye net’s relocated The Defenders was not half bad in total viewers, with a dominant 8.72 million. But just a 1.2 rating/4 share among adults 18-49 (tied with NBC’s already renewed Who Do You Think You Are?) could be its kiss of death. Next on CBS was CSI: NY at a first place finish in both total viewers (10.83 million) and adults 18-49 (1.7/5) at 9 p.m., followed by freshman Blue Bloods at a winning 11.58 million viewers and a 1.7/5 in the demo at 10 p.m. While you can’t deny viewers are watching CSI: NY, the fact that it skews older and CBS’ lack of time period opportunities next season means it may not be renewed.
On Fox, Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay at 8 p.m. is by no means a mass hit, with a fourth place finish in total viewers (3.88 million). But it did win the hour in adults 18-49, with a 1.6/5. Relocated Fringe at 9 p.m. remained compatible, with 4.04 million viewers (No. 4) and a 1.5/5 in the demo at 9 p.m. (No. 2). To the fans wondering if Fringe will return next season, there are two things to keep in mind. First, the network could use a fourth season for a longer off-network run, and second, nothing else would do better here. That said, we do think Fringe will be back.
Elsewhere, ABC’s soon-to-conclude Supernanny earned its cancellation stripes with 4.04 million viewers (No. 3) and a fourth place 1.0/3 among adults 18-49 at 8 p.m. The reality series concludes on March 18. Lead-out Primetime: What Would You Do? perked up a bit to 4.67 million viewers (No. 3) and a 1.3/4 in the demo at 9 p.m. (No. 3t), followed by veteran 20/20 at 5.54 million viewers (No. 3) and a 1.5/5 among adults 18-49 (No. 2t) at 10 p.m.
NBC populated the evening with aforementioned Who Do You Think You Are? (viewers: No. 2, 6.15 million; adults 18-49: No. 2t, 1.2/4 at 8 p.m.), which for a low-rated Friday could be worse; and another two-hour edition of Dateline (viewers: 5.74 million; adults 18-49: 1.4/5 from 9-11 p.m.). And The CW aired soon-to-depart Smallville (viewers: No. 5, 2.55 million; adults 18-49: No. 4t, 1.0/3), which bids adieu on May 13; and Supernatural (viewers: No. 5, 2.17 million; adults 18-49: No. 5, 1.0/3). Given the compatibility to Smallville, there is every reason to believe Supernatural will move into the Friday anchor spot next season.