In a battle of scripted versus unscripted, ABC and CBS tied with adults 18-49 on Friday.  Friday Night Lights returned to NBC to begin airing a fourth-season that has now already aired on DirecTV and scored a preliminary 1.2 rating with adults 18-49 and 3.9 million viewers.

The night’s top show with adults 18-49?  The premiere of Primetime: What Would You Do? with a 1.9 rating with adults 18-49 and 6 million viewers.  It beat out Medium, CBS’s top show with adults 18-49 (1.8 rating), the first hour of Dateline and Kitchen Nightmares (1.4).

Wife Swap saw season highs with a 1.4 rating and 4.6 million viewers.  At 10pm 20/20 scored a 1.6 with adults 18-49, topping  Dateline’s second hour (1.5) and Miami Medical on CBS (1.4), though Medical did creep up a tenth from last week even though it had fewer overall viewers.

Smallville averaged a 0.8 with adults 18-49 and 1.9 million viewers.

Nielsen overnight ratings for Friday, May 7, 2010:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating Viewers (Millions)
8:00 CBS Ghost Whisperer 1.6/6 6.51
ABC Wife Swap 1.4/5 4.50
NBC Friday Night Lights (Premeire) 1.2/5 3.90
FOX House (R) 1.1/4 3.10
CW Smallville 0.8/3 1.92
9:00 ABC What Would You Do? 1.9/6 5.98
CBS Medium 1.8/6 7.14
FOX Kitchen Nightmares 1.4/5 3.47
NBC Dateline 1.0/4 4.58
CW America’s Next Top Model (R) 0.4/1 0.99
10:00 ABC 20/20 1.6/5 5.49
NBC Dateline 1.5/5 6.02
CBS Miami Medical 1.4/4 6.27

You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2010 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. Source: Marc Berman/Mediaweek.

Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live football game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101 and Numbers 102.

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