Note: All numbers are preliminary adult 18-49 demos, unless otherwise noted.
Friday night saw the return (again) of “TGIF” brand to ABC, the beloved staple from the 1990s with family-friendly comedies and a game show. But the third time apparently isn’t the charm.
Using TGIF for the first time since 2005, ABC scheduled the season premieres of comedies Fresh Off The Boat, Speechless, and game show Child Support as part of the new block and as you can imagine, it did not get off to a good start. Boat and Speechless got off to weak starts, with a 0.6/3 and 0.5/3, respectively, followed by Support’s 0.4, who somehow performed worse than last year’s disastrous Inhumans.
As a reminder, Child Support is a game show, not a daytime court show. Moreover, Support is a variation of Child’s Play, a daytime game show hosted by Bill Cullen airing on CBS during the 1982-83 season.
Once again, Fox stomped the competition with Last Man Standing, who had the highest-rated show of the night (1.3/7), and The Cool Kids (1.1/5).
For the rest of Friday night’s ratings from the broadcast networks, click here. The CW debuts the bulk of their new series and season premieres next week.
Turning to sports, the ALDS opener between hated rivals New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox scored a 4.4 household overnight rating, up 69 percent from the comparable TBS game last year, an NLDS matchup between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals. Yankees-Red Sox also drew 5.6 million viewers, the highest for any opening game in a Division Series in eight years. The game is expected to take the night in the adults 18-49 demo among all networks once finals are released.
Locally, the Jason Van Dyke trial ended unexpectedly early, with a verdict announced Friday afternoon. Around 1 p.m., WBBM-AM and WGN-AM, Chicago’s local TV stations, and CLTV broke into regular programming to cover the conclusion of the one of the city’s biggest trials in decades. A jury found Van Dyke guilty of sixteen counts of murder against LaQuan McDonald, whose videotaped shooting in 2014 – released a year later – turned Chicago upside down.
Several Chicago stations covered the aftermath of the verdict, including several marches downtown. Loop office workers were dismissed early and high school sporting events were either canceled or postponed as a precaution. Protests were peaceful, and there were no reports of any incidents around the city.
Though the city’s five big TV stations pre-empted network and syndicated fare, none of the coverage affected regular network prime-time programming. WTTW’s Chicago Tonight scrapped its usual Week In Review Friday night show for an hour-long live edition, featuring numerous guests discussing the verdict and its aftermath. WFLD also scrapped Flannery Fired up and expanded its Friday night newscast to a full hour, pushing Bears Unleashed into Flannery’s regular 10 p.m. time slot.
In all, Chicago’s news media did a fantastic job covering the Van Dyke/McDonald saga, from the moment the tape was released to Friday’s verdict. This proves how valuable journalism and a free press is to our society.