‘Dateline’ Has Big Friday; May Be Part of New 10pm Lineup

By kevin 

A two-hour “Dateline NBC” centered on David and Sean Goldman‘s return to the United States was one of the most watched broadcast programs on Friday night, according to overnight ratings.

From 8-9pm, “Dateline” drew 7.55 million viewers, placing second for the hour. At 9pm, “Dateline” was number one and drew 10.35 million viewers, the largest audience of any show that night.

For the season, it was the show’s second highest 18-49 and total-viewer result and the network’s highest numbers for any NBC program in the Friday 9-10pm hour.

The program was composed of exclusive interviews and footage from Goldman’s trip to Brazil to regain custody of his 9-year-old son and the pair’s travel back to the US. NBC News paid for the private jet they flew back on.

Strong ratings like these are likely part of the reason “Dateline” has been mentioned as a temporary fill-in for NBC’s 10pm time-slot once Jay Leno‘s program moves out. “There will probably be two scripted hours, another reality show, ‘Dateline’ or some re-runs,” NBC Universal TV Entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin has said of the slot. “I’ve been thinking about that as long as I’ve been thinking I may have to make a change at 10 p.m.”