Ratings: Lights flickers, Mars orbits

NBC's critically acclaimed drama Friday Night Lights premiered to weak ratings last night, scoring 7.2 million total viewers and landing third in its timeslot. CW's Veronica Mars returned for its third season with a new intro, snaring a 1.4 rating in 18 to 49s.

Lights, which received better reviews than any show this season, scored a 2.7 rating in 18 to 49 year olds. The football drama was outdistanced by ABC's Dancing With the Stars and CBS's crime drama NCIS.

Lights didn't even have to go up against Fox's usual timeslot competitor, House, due to the beginning of baseball playoffs. So far, despite the peacock having three of the best-reviewed shows of the season--Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip, Heroes, and Lights--only Heroes has scored ratings in line with its accolades.

CW detective drama Veronica Mars matched its best-ever ratings in the 18 to 49 demographic with its season-three premiere. Aside from the new intro, the show was subtly muted in tone, with a different color palette and low-key acting.

At the TCA in July, show creator Rob Thomas said he wanted the characters to grow up now that they were in college--it remains to be seen if the fans will agree.

At 8 p.m., Dancing with the Stars handily won with a 4.9 rating, with CBS and NCIS arresting a 4.0 (its best numbers this season), and NBC fumbling the ball with Friday Night Lights at a 2.7. Fox's New York Yankees-Detroit Tigers playoff game scored a 2.1/3 and Gilmore Girls earned a 2.0 for The CW.

ABC and the last half-hour of Dancing won at 9 p.m. with a 5.7, NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent with a 4.2, CBS and The Unit at 4.1, Fox and baseball at 2.9, and Mars at 1.4. At 9:30, Help Me Help You helped ABC to a 3.1.

Mars delivered its third highest-rated telecast ever among adults 18-34, its second best telecast ever in adults 18-49, and its fourth most watched episode ever (3.3 million viewers) since its debut in 2004.

At 10 p.m., NBC landed with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit at 5.2, followed by ABC's Boston Legal at 2.9, and CBS's Smith at 2.8.

Overall, ABC led with a 9.5/15, followed by CBS at 7.8/12, NBC at 7.5/12, Fox at 5.1/8, and CW at 2.7/4.

Comments (19)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Friday Night Lights are flickering unfortunately (yet another NBC disappointment). I think if they move it to Fridays, then it might do better. It also goes to show you critics don't always know what they're talking about, I never go by what the critics say cause half the time they don't know what they're talking about. they're so far out of touch from real people it's not funny.
Reply
Flag
If you think Friday Night Lights is "flickering" after one episode, maybe you should recharge your batteries. I think it is the best new program on the air this season. Thanks.
Reply
Flag
An amazing Law & Order CI episode had such a lousy lead in from what was suppose to be this awesome new show Friday Night Lights. Who's bright idea was it to make a TV show about high school football? Sounds like it belongs on a totally different network. Wonder what sort of ratings the L & O shows could get if they had a decent lead in show. Boy Danson's new show must really be a dog to have half the audience turn off after watching the celebrities dance.
Reply
Flag
"CW detective drama Veronica Mars matched its best-ever ratings in the 18 to 49 demographic with its season-three premiere." !!!!!!!!!! yay!
Reply
Flag
So Happy VM did well in the ratings!
Reply
Flag
veronica mars is the best.
Reply
Flag
go NCIS and Veronica Mars!!
Reply
Flag
Go Veronica! Really hope the show gets the audience it deserves.
Reply
Flag
Yay for Veronica Mars! I hope it gets even better from here.
Reply
Flag
I absolutely LOVE Veronica Mars! It is with out a doubt one of the best shows on TV right now. The new season started off great and I can only hope that it continues on the same path and continue to grow. LOVE VM! and I love Veronica and Logan.
Reply
Flag
I Love Veronica Mars! Dancing With the Stars can flush itself down the toilet. Friday Night Lights is aweful. Just watch the movie.... Gilmore Girls is losing it's luster, which pains me. Whenever the two lead romantic characters with all the sexual tension hook up it kills the show (ala Moonlighting with Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis).

I love NCIS but Gibbs needs to lose the moustache. Heroes is great. Studio 60 is excellent. Law and Order I'll wait to see in reruns next summer and during tv's winter hiatus.
Reply
Flag
I LOVE FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS AND VERONICA MARS!
Reply
Flag
hmm, looks to me like mars did a good job of retaining gg lead-in...
Reply
Flag
With the (so far) lack lustre Gilmore Girls season I think people should stick around for Veronica Mars afterwards. It reminds you of the writing GG *used* to be so good at. Quick, witty, funny... All the things missing from GG this year.
Reply
Flag
You know, I like Veronica Mars too, but you may want to mention that A-OK Veronica did a poor job of retaining her Gilmore Girls lead-in.
Reply
Flag
Veronica Mars is going to emerge from the cloud of darkness that was UPN. I highly recommend the show to all who enjoy quality scriptwriting and acting.
Reply
Flag
it would have been nice to see v/m but my cable provider does not yet carry cw programming. i watched fnl and thought it was pretty good. we'll see how it goes from there. i just hope that eureka gets picked up for season 2. i'm still a little pissed about blade getting the axe.
Reply
Flag
Veronica Mars is a great show and really deserves a boost in ratings. It was a good opening considering the pre-premiere showing on msn.
Reply
Flag
I haven't watched FNL yet- it's still sitting on my DVR- but I have good hopes for it. If it can't do well in the ratings though, NBC will probably ax it... Which is sad. I've never watched NCIS, but apparently a lot of people do so I won't bad mouth it, but Dancing With The Stars is just awful. All of these reality shows with washed up "celebrities" (Except The Surreal Life) need to go. I don't want to see a so-called celebrity dance, sing, lose weight, box, bake, etc. etc.



Good news for Veronica Mars though. Hopefully now the rest of the world is getting what I- and others like me- have known for so long now. V-Mars is one of the best- if not the single best- show on television today.
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook