CBS’s Friday night ratings have fallen and they can’t get up.  Though CBS won the night with total viewers, ABC with its all unscripted lineup won with adults 18-49.

Ghost Whisperer won the 8pm hour, with a mere 1.5 adults 18-49 rating (6.4 million viewers).   At 9pm, ABC’s What Would You Do? bested Medium with adults 18-49 (1.8 vs. 1.5) though Medium led with viewers (6.2m vs. 6m).

ABC’s 20/20 took the honors at 10pm with both adults 18-49 and total viewers.

The season finale of Smallville finished up versus the last couple of weeks with a 1.0 rating with adults 18-49 and 2.45 million viewers.

Here are the press notes on the night from ABC (data table is below the press notes, scroll down):

Friday Night (8-11pm)

For the 2nd week in a row, ABC ranked #1 on Friday against its network rivals among Adults 18-49, beating CBS by 21%, NBC by 31% and Fox by 42%.   ABC’s Primetime: What Would You Do? and 20/20 tied as the tied as Friday’s top-rated programs in the key young adult sales demo across the major nets.  The two ABC shows also tied as the #1 TV shows of the night with Adults 25-54.  And at 10pm, 20/20 stood as Friday’s most-watched TV show overall in Total Viewers.

  • Growing its numbers on the night for the 2nd week in a row, ABC generated its best Friday in 7 weeks among Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 – since 3/26/10.

Wife Swap (8-9pm):

Wife Swap earned second place in the 8 o’clock hour among Total Viewers and across all key Women (W18-34/W18-49/W25-54), while standing as the #1 broadcast in the time slot with Teens 12-17.

Primetime: What Would You Do? (9-10pm):

Surging from its lead-in (+1.7 mil/+38% in AD18-49), ABC News’ Primetime: What Would You Do? beat out its network rivals in the 9 o’clock hour for the 2nd week in a row with Adults 18-49. From 9-10pm, What Would You Do? dominated established all-original time-period competition, including CBS’ Medium (+20%), NBC News’ Dateline (+50%) and Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares (+20%).  Primetime also delivered the #1 position in the hour in the key Adult 25-54 news demo. Using hidden cameras, What Would You Do? sets up everyday scenarios and then captures people’s reactions.

  • Primetime: What Would You Do? retained 100% of its overall week-earlier season premiere audience.

20/20 (10-11pm):

Topping its time slot as Friday’s most-watched TV program overall, ABC News’ 20/20 also won the 10 o’clock hour in Adults 18-49 for the 2nd week in a row, beating out the second half of NBC’s 2-hour Dateline by 20% and CBS’ Miami Medical by 50%. In addition, the ABC newsmagazine earned first place in the time slot for the 2nd week running in Adults 25-54. 20/20 featured the story of Rebecca Babcock, who always knew she was adopted, but at 16 she was shocked by the discovery that her birth mother, Diane Downs, was a murderer, convicted of shooting her own children. 

Nielsen overnight ratings for Friday, May 14, 2010:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating Viewers (Millions)
8:00 CBS Ghost Whisperer 1.5/6 6.43
ABC Wife Swap 1.3/5 4.32
NBC Friday Night Lights 1.3/5 3.97
FOX House (R) 1.0/4 3.06
CW Smallville (Season Finale) 1.0/4 2.45
9:00 ABC What Would You Do? 1.8/6 6.03
CBS Medium 1.5/5 6.22
FOX Kitchen Nightmares 1.5/4 3.61
NBC Dateline 1.3/5 5.23
CW America’s Next Top Model (R)
10:00 ABC 20/20 1.8/6 6.64
NBC Dateline 1.5/5 6.07
CBS Miami Medical 1.2/4 5.93

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.

  • Up for the 2nd straight week, 20/20 drew its biggest audience in 10 weeks and highest Adult 18-49 number in 7 weeks – since 3/5 and 3/26/10, respectively.  The ABC newsmagazine equaled its strongest Adult 25-54 number in over 3 months – since 2/5/10.
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