Monday, February 13, 2017

CBS-TV Finds Success On Friday Nights

If the TV industry gave out an award for the most uncool night of programming, CBS’s Friday lineup would win it hands down, reports the LA Times.

“MacGyver” and “Hawaii Five-0” are reboots of old series, an anathema to TV critics who believe the industry is in a golden age of creativity. They lead into “Blue Bloods,” a combination cop show and family drama, featuring the 72-year-old Tom Selleck, the quintessential 1980s TV star.

None of that bothers CBS Corp. chairman Leslie Moonves, who maintains he will take ratings over Emmy statuettes any day. All three shows rank among the top 20 most-watched broadcast shows in prime time.

CBS, which is the most-watched network overall, is dominant on Friday with 10.4 million viewers, doubling the numbers for its broadcast competitors ABC (5.7 million), NBC (5 million) and Fox (4.83 million). Expensive scripted shows with big ratings usually end up on Sunday through Thursday, when more viewers are at home and available to watch.  Friday night is generally when most networks air low-cost reality TV programs, which are bought from outside producers, or news magazines.

CBS has taken a different tack. The network has instead used Friday to build and sustain scripted programming assets that can become ongoing businesses for the company. CBS has succeeded by scheduling escapist, broad-appeal fare that does not require a weekly commitment to follow the plot.

First year series “MacGyver,” reviving the character that uses his scientific smarts to get out of jams in unconventional ways, has improved its 8 p.m. time period by 29%. The ratings have helped lift the 9 p.m. show “Hawaii Five-0” by 10% to 12.2 million viewers. At 10 p.m., “Blue Bloods” has gained 6%, rising to 13.9 million viewers.

The CBS viewers on Friday have a median age of 63, which is well above the typical range of 54 to 55 for broadcast prime time. But the shows have a large enough audience that they also win their time periods in the 18 to 49 age group that is coveted by most advertisers.

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