If last night’s numbers are any indication, Fox’s Fringe (1.1/3) looks to be ending its run on a rise, at least for 2012. On its second to last episode of the year and its fifth to last episode ever, the J.J. Abrams-created sci fi series was up 22% from last week. That December 7 broadcast had been flat with the previous original airing two week previous. Airing before Fringe, Kitchen Nightmares (1.1/4) was down 8% from its December 7 show.
The other networks saw their planned Friday schedules altered as news specials on the fatal school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut were added to existing shows or ran solo. Barbara Walters’ scheduled interview with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on ABC’s 20/20 (1.6/5) last night was postponed as the news show covered shooting. With 6.25 million watching, last night’s 20/20 as up 33% over last week. That is 20/20’s largest audience since its March 30th show on the big multi-state lotto. On NBC, 6.76 million watched Dateline (2.0/6) broadcast from Newtown. That was up 18% from last week’s show With the exception of its 10 PM CBS News: Newtown Shooting (1.2/4) special, which 5.68 million tuned in for, CBS was almost all encores on Friday night. The evening started with the second replay of the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer stop motion special of the season plus Yes, Virginia (1.6/5) and The Elf On A Shelf (1.5/5). Earlier on ABC, Last Man Standing (1.5/5) was even with last Friday’s show. The network’s other comedy of the night, Malibu Country (1.5/5) was up 7% from last week. Shark Tank (1.2/4) was a repeat. NBC’s repeat of Michael Buble: Home For The Holidays (0.9/3) was followed by the fifth straight night of Howie Mandel’s Take It All (1.1/3) at 9 PM. The new NBC game show was down 8% on Friday night from Thursday’s broadcast. CBS won the night in terms of overall viewers while the network found itself tied with ABC for the 18-49.