March 29th, 2010
11:26 AM ET

Friday night TV: Signs of a revival?

A few months back, I wrote about how the major television networks appeared to be giving up on Friday nights.  Fridays were becoming the night where networks would send long-running series to die, or premiere new shows with no chance of success.

At the end of the piece, I asked if Friday night network TV could be saved.  Over the last few weeks, we have seen signs that a revival could happen - provided the networks show commitment to the night.

Leading the revival is "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" on ABC.  The show debuted in its Friday night time slot with a 2.6 rating among adults aged 18 to 49 - the audience that advertisers crave.  According to ABC, "Revolution" produced the network's highest 18-49 number for that Friday night slot since December 2006.

In addition, the show saw sizable increases in both total audience and demo from its "sneak preview" episode that aired last Sunday.  That's almost unheard of nowadays.

And "Revolution" isn't alone in showing signs of life on Friday night.  NBC's genealogy show "Who Do You Think You Are?" has been creeping up on the elusive 2.0 demo target, and its total audience has been at or above the numbers for the highly-promoted "Parenthood" and "The Marriage Ref."  Over on Fox, "Kitchen Nightmares" has been renewed after showing similar jumps in the demo.

CBS, the one network still committed to first-run scripted fare on Friday nights, is also taking a stab at improving its performance that night, premiering the drama "Miami Medical" this coming Friday.   The show has Jerry Bruckheimer as one of its executive producers, and Bruckheimer fare tends to do well on the network.

Do you think the early success of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" could lead to a revival of Friday night network TV?


soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. richard

    I don't think it will last because some little jerk tv executive, so desperate to keep his job that he has to look like he's doing something, will make the decision to pull it just as people are starting to like it. Friday nights were great nights when I was a kid, but the networks screwed that up too.

    March 30, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. texaslady2

    I like Ghost Whisperer and Medium on Friday nights; I liked Numb3rs too, but now it is gone. Friday nights are pretty much abandoned by the networks because their choice demographic is out partying, not watching TV. Why don't they just accept that fact and aim the programs at those of us (the majority, BTW) who are stay-at-homes? I wouldn't watch any "reality" show if they paid me to, and as for "Miami Medical", it will probably have the same flaw that CSI: Miami has: too much jiggle, too many "babes" in scanty bikinis, etc. I love CSI and CSI:NY, but anything set in Miami seems to be heading for the beach all the time. Boring. But what do I know? I'm too old for their choice demographic anyway.

    March 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alexandra

    It'd be great! I remember growing up, we had TGIF on ABC, and the lineup was always great, and I always looked forward to it! After that era ended, I've never seen Friday nights really live up to being a good night of television. I believe the channels just don't want to risk it. But they should! Let's bring Friday night tv back !!!!

    March 30, 2010 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jennifer

    I agree this will not work. CBS dropped its 10 pm show NUMB3RS for Miami Mdical not interested in it. another medical series come one move on with it now. I am so sick of reality tv its not funny. i just want to turn on my tv to some good tv. Not people making money on the stupidest things I have ever seen.

    March 29, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jay

    SyFy has always been good for Fridays– Stargate-BSG-etc.....

    March 29, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Terry

    Since I work the mid shift on weekends, I record a lot of shows. LOVED both Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and Who do You Think You Are. Doubt they will be on for long though, good programs just don't last. For decades (what's the definition of insanity?) the networks have desired a demographic that's usually out partying and destressing after a long week of work. So many good shows have been kicked to the curb because a bean counter couldn't come up with a number that was expected. As long as the commercials continue to scream at me, I'll fast forward through them and enjoy the programs for the duration. Networks will do what they want to do, so don't get attached...just enjoy the ride!

    March 29, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Taylor Fan

    I read through all these comments and some good Friday shows were named. Smallville is an excellent show and the move to Friday seemed to be the kiss of death when the season started but this season has been one of its best which is why it was renewed for a 10th season. Spartacus is a great show also. The one show that no one mentioned (which I'm surprised since the word Friday is in the name of the show) is Friday Night Lights. The show's 4th season comes back to NBC in late April but this show is EASILY one of the best 5 shows on tv. It's sooo good. I've already seen season 4 on direct tv so if you're a fan and you haven't watched season 4, you're going to like the whole new dynamic of the show.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. freddy

    we need a big music entertainment show back on "Friday" nights. something the whole family can enjoy! music/comedy/ fun. lets bring that back to television. altho jamies show is excellent! we need something that we can get away from everyday "Reality" and take us somewhere else for an hour or so.

    March 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kaci

    I love Smallville on Friday Nights. It was renewed for it's 10th year! Excellent show. Also, I watch Ghost Whisperer and Medium on Friday nights.

    March 29, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mick Fridley

    I loved Food Revolution and anything Jamie Oliver does – can't wait to see Miami Medical and would love to see Friday night resurrected – but Bubba is right about the cascading commercials, you can't a full 10 minutes of content.

    March 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SmokeNmirror

    Just another "Flash in the Pan"

    March 29, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. P-Dub

    Can't wait to see Miami Medical...maybe they'll have Las Vegas Medical and NY Medical in the coming years! Go CSI!

    March 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Amanda

    let's not forget Spartacus

    March 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bubba

    I just leave the mute on. The commercials have made it almost impossible to watch tv any more. The networks will die now.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jennifer

    My theory on the the resurrection of Friday night programming: DVRs.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  16. MartyinLA

    We LOVED Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Its fun and educational at the same time. Our country NEEDS THIS SHOW! Glad the networks are coming back with creative shows.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Rowan

    This is why it will never work: "...provided the networks show commitment to the night." I can't recall a commitment made by a network in the past decade to a program of any value. They want quick solutions, quick numbers, and quicker profits.

    March 29, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |

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