'Friday Night Lights' Kicks Off

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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"'Friday Night Lights'-finally on Fridays!" goes NBC's on-air promo for the return of the critically acclaimed series, as if viewers have been clamoring for the schedule change.

Judging from the premiere's ratings, the show's fans from last season had no trouble finding "Lights" in its new slot, but only a few new viewers came to watch the game.

"Lights" opened to a 2.2 rating among adults 18 to 49 in the preliminary Nielsens, tying the second week of CBS's "Moonlight" for the 9 p.m. time period. That's down 19 percent from "Lights" October debut on Tuesdays at 8 p.m., but up a tick from last April's Wednesday night debut.

Given that the ratings bar is set lower for Fridays, gaining versus the show's mid-week time period is a good sign. NBC is calling the ratings "a very promising start," but they also don't leave much room for the usual ratings settling in a second and third week. With critics warning that an attention-getting over-the-top plot twist in Friday's premiere might turn off viewers, should be interesting to see how "Lights" plays out.

Overall, NBC came in second place for the night to CBS's "Ghost Whisperer" (steady with 2.4), "Moonlight" (in its second, week down a fairly standard 12 percent to a 2.2) and "Numbers" (up a notch to a 2.7).

NBC was second with "Deal" (2.0), "Lights" (2.2) and "Las Vegas" (a series-low 2.1). ABC repeated "Pushing Daisies" (1.4) and "Private Practice" (1.6) and aired "20/20" (2.4). Fox had "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" (1.5) and a "K-Ville" repeat (1.2). The CW had "Friday Night Smackdown" (1.4).
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